• How to Make a Pain Relieving Salve

    by  • June 10, 2013 • DIY, Herbal Remedies, Herbs, How To, Recipes, salves • 30 Comments

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    Pain Relieving Salve


    If you’ve ever been in pain you know that it affects every part of your life. It is difficult to function if you are constantly stopping to rub a sore shoulder or knee. It can be quite tempting to reach for pain medications to get instant relief. 

    If you are like me, you’ll want to look for natural alternatives for pain relief. There are many! Look into acupuncture, homeopathy, and herbal remedies including essential oils. 

    Today I am sharing how to make an herbal pain relieving salve. Making salves is one of my most favorite things to do! It’s so rewarding to toss some herbs into oil, add beeswax and end up with a wonderful, medicinal salve that seems almost magical!

    There are many herbs that will help relieve pain. I chose a few of my favorites for the salve. (I get my herbs here. Click on each herb for other purchasing options.)

    Comfrey, also known as knitbone (for good reason) is wonderful for broken bones, sore joints and pulled muscles. 

    Solomon’s Seal can be used for arthritis and any other type of pain. It helps repair connective tissue to bones, cartilage and joints. 

    Arnica is renowned as a pain reliever. Often used as a homeopathic remedy, the herb itself can be infused in oils or to make salves. It helps reduce bruising and swelling like magic!

    St. John’s Wort is a superb anti-inflammatory herb when used topically. It relieves pain and calms the affected area.

    Sometimes I add cayenne to my pain relief salves (about 1 & 1/2 TBS per cup of oil). It adds heat and powerful pain relieving properties. Just don’t use it near the eyes!


    The essential oils I chose for this salve are also known for reducing pain and inflammation. There are many more oils that could be used in place of or in addition to these. This blend brings both warm and cool elements to the injury for an icy-hot effect. (I get my essential oils here.)

    Basil warms the skin and acts as a muscle relaxant. 

    Peppermint cools the skin and acts as a catalyst to other herbs. 

    Wintergreen warms the skin and has a cortisone-effect on muscle and joint inflammation. 

    Marjoram is anti-inflammatory and a natural muscle relaxer. 

    Rosemary helps with circulation and relaxes muscles. 

    Vetiver has antispasmodic properties and warms the skin. 

    Lemongrass is wonderful for ligaments and tendons and can repair connective tissue. 

    Eucalyptus is anti-inflammatory and can help relieve soreness.


    I use organic olive oil for my salves but for an even more penetrating salve, organic castor oil can be used. 

    Vitamin E is added to lengthen shelf life as it has antioxidant properties.

    Beeswax is also essential for salve-making. I prefer yellow over white as it is less refined. 



    Here is how to make a pain relieving salve.

    Pain Relieving Salve


    • 1 cup organic olive or castor oil
    • 1 oz of desired dried herb blend
    • 1/2 oz beeswax
    • 1/4 tsp vitamin E
    • 1/4-1/2 tsp of desired essential oil blend
    • Salve tins or jars


      Heat-Infused Method
    1. To make your salve you will need a large glass measuring bowl and a pot (or use a double boiler).
    2. Fill pot halfway with water and place glass measuring bowl inside the pot.
    3. Turn heat on medium low.
    4. Add oil and dry herbs to glass bowl and simmer gently for 3 hours.
    5. Strain oil through a cheesecloth into a clean bowl and return to pot.
    6. Add the beeswax and let melt.
    7. To test for the right consistency, place a pea-sized amount on wax paper and place in freezer or refrigerator for a few minutes. Add more beeswax if not firm enough or add more oil if too firm.
    8. Remove from heat and add vitamin E and essential oils.
    9. Mix well (I use a bamboo skewer).
    10. Pour into tins or jars.
    11. Let cool and lid.
    12. To use: Rub a small amount into affected area as needed for pain.
    13. Alternative Method:
    14. Make an infused oil by placing the herbs and oil in a jar and let it sit for 4-6 weeks. Strain and make salve per above instructions.
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     Don’t want to make it yourself? Buy Pain-Be-Gone Salve from my 90210 Organics Shop.

    What are your favorite herbs and essential oils for salves? 


    This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on these links doesn’t cost anything. Purchases made through these links provides me with a small commission which helps me out a lot! Thank you for your support. I appreciate it very much!


    Shared at the Holistic Home Link Party.

    SarahThis content will be shown after all post


    Sarah is a crunchy, Eco-chic wife, homeschooling mama to four lively children, and real food blogger at Real Food Outlaws. She is also an herbalist and owns 90210 Organics, an Eco-boutique and Apothecary. She's a Certified Health Coach, Natural Living Consultant and Essential Oil Connoisseur. You can often find her barefoot in the garden (or kitchen), or rummaging through a refrigerator (not necessarily her own).


    30 Responses to How to Make a Pain Relieving Salve

    1. Dana Adams
      June 10, 2013 at 10:10 pm

      We add lemon balm to our homemade comfrey ointment. We also buy arnica gel for pain. It’s amazing on bumps n bruises!

      • June 10, 2013 at 11:25 pm

        Ooh, lemon balm! Such an amazing and versatile herb! Arnica saved my daughter from a concussion two weeks ago when an eagle statue fell off a bureau and on to her head. Awesome stuff!!

        • Dana Adams
          June 10, 2013 at 11:34 pm

          Yes Arnica is amazing! When a child gets a bump or bruise and we put it on immediately they heal right up! Wonderful!

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    3. Heather
      September 11, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      Can I use coconut oil in place of olive?

      • September 11, 2013 at 9:07 pm

        Hi Heather, Yes you can. You may have to play with the amount a bit based on time of year because of how temp affects coconut oil.

    4. October 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      I have arthritis in my knee and elbow and I use an all natural pain relief ointment called Nature’s Gold. When I applied this to my knee one evening the pain was gone away by morning and that was 6 months ago. I still apply the cream to my knee but not as much as I use to. This pain reliefs main ingredient comes from a herb called comfrey which has been used by the Indians for over 2000 years and is still used today.
      Check it out at: http://howtogetridofpain.com

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    6. Sil Johnson
      November 7, 2013 at 10:43 am

      About how many pots of salve does this recipe make? Also, do other hot peppers have the same properties as cayenne? I believe its the capsaicin in them that gives the “heat”. I grow some hot peppers (Hot Portugals) that have a REAL kick and wonder if they could be processed and used in place of cayenne? Thank you!

      • November 7, 2013 at 10:56 am

        Hi Sil, This recipe makes about 12 oz of salve so how many pots would depend on how many ounces each one is. I usually do two 4oz tins and two 2oz tins. It is the capsaicin that makes it work and it’s present in other hot peppers. I would assume they could be used but don’t have any other references back that up for you.

    7. Samantha
      November 20, 2013 at 10:15 pm

      Hello, your salve recipe sounds great and I’d love to try it. In your article you stated that the Vitamin E is lengthen shelf life but you never mentioned how long it lasts. How long does the salve last before expiring??? Thanks in advance for your answer.

      • November 21, 2013 at 9:10 am

        Hi Samantha, salves can last for years. As long as the oil used to make it doesn’t go rancid (which you would know by the smell) it’s still good.

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    12. Sacred Soils
      December 20, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Can you substitute almond oil for the olive oil?

    13. Melanie
      January 17, 2014 at 1:41 am

      Would it help fibromyalgia pain?

      • January 17, 2014 at 12:03 pm

        Hi Melanie, While I don’t have an experiential information that it would definitely help fibromyalgia pain, I do have testimonials from clients with arthritis that it helps the deep-rooted pain they feel. I would deduce that it would help with fibromyalgia pain as well.

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    15. Mary
      April 22, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      I was reviewing your recipe, which looks great. I am curious about adding menthol crystals to this recipe? What do you think, Sarah?

    16. Michelle
      July 28, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      So do you add alittle of all the essnetial oils into the recipe or just certain ones? Thanks

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    18. Hope
      August 11, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Hello Sara, I am new to making blends and salves. I really love this pain reliever one that you have so kindly shared. Since I am new , I don’t know how much of each to put. When you said 1 oz of desired herb, did you mean equal parts of all the herbs to equal 1 oz and the same with the oils? Thank you for sharing.

      • August 11, 2014 at 9:27 pm

        Hi Hope, It’s 1 oz total of whatever herbs you choose to the amount of oil in the recipe (1 cup).

    19. haber twitter
      August 20, 2014 at 1:20 am

      Hi Hope, It's 1 oz total of whatever herbs you choose to the amount of oil in the recipe (1 cup)..

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