DIY Herbal Salve

If you can make pancakes, you can make an herbal salve. (If you can’t make pancakes, you probably still can.)

Not only is it easy, making an herbal salve is fun and useful. In the one week since making my first antibacterial green salve, we’ve used it on a mild diaper rash, a not-at-all-mild forehead bump, and a badly skinned knee. Each time I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how soothing the salve seemed to be and how quickly the owie started to heal.

Once you have selected your herbs and infused your herbal oil, it’s time to make a salve.

Make your own herbal salve easily and frugally!

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

Antibacterial green salve with yarrowlavendercalendula, plantain, clover, and rosemary (Here are some other great herbal choices!) 

DIY Herbal Salve

Ingredients & supplies: 

  • Herbal oil
  • Beeswax (approximately 1/4 cup beeswax per 1 cup herbal oil)
  • Cheese cloth OR old, clean tea towel
  • Double broiler or two pots
  • Tins OR glass jars

Instructions: 

  1. Strain the herbal oil through a cheese cloth or tea towel (that you don’t mind getting stained) and measure.
  2. Pour into a double broiler OR a small pot that fits into a slightly larger one. Pour water into the bottom pot and heat over very low heat. You don’t want to burn the oil.
  3. Add beeswax, stirring occasionally until the beeswax is melted.
  4. Test your salve’s consistency by placing a teaspoon of it on a plate in the freezer. After a couple minutes, check to see if it’s your desired thickness. If it’s too thin, add more beeswax. If it’s too thick, add a little olive oil.
  5. Once the salve is the right consistency, pour it into tins or glass jars.
  6. Mark the jars with the contents and date (because, unless your memory is WAY better than mine, you will forget!) and enjoy!

Stored in a cool, dry place the salve lasts a long time. Once it starts to lose it’s color or smell off, discard.

Tip: Want to make an extra potent salve? Once you’ve strained the herbal oil, add fresh dried herbs and pour the strained oil over them. Store in a sunny spot for another two weeks. If condensation forms, wipe dry. Then, strain again and make your extra awesome salve!

Want to make your own herbal salve? Good news! It is easy and fun. Just follow these simple steps.

Make Your Own Herbal Salve

Not only is making your own herbal salve easy, it’s a frugal way to care for your family naturally. We’ve used our anti-bacterial green salve to help all sorts of minor bumps, cuts, and bruises.

So gather your supplies and start making your own salve!

Keep Weevils at Bay (or Why I Put Dirt in My Cupboard)

It was a beautiful morning. I was crossing things off the to-do list with delightful speed. I pulled out the bucket of oatmeal to whip up a huge batch of homemade granola. As I set the lid down, I noticed a bug.

It must have been sitting right on the rim of the bucket, I thought.

I looked in the bucket again. There was another bug. Hmmm, that’s odd, I thought. It must have slid inside when I opened it. 

And then the awful truth, which I was trying desperately to avoid, sank in. The bugs weren’t from the outside of the bucket. They were crawling out of it. And it wasn’t just one or two.

As I learned to my dismay, weevils can make their way into your cupboard from a bag of flour! Major yuck! Be proactive and protect your food with diatomaceous earth.

 Thank goodness this was not my pantry. It was disgusting, but nowhere near this bad. (photo credit)

Tiny black bugs infested the bucket of oatmeal. In dismay, I turned to the internet to try to figure out what the disgusting little critters were… and how to get rid of them.

The identification was easy: weevils. Getting rid of them was a much more difficult task.

Opinions on the gravity of the situation varied from “OH MY GOODNESS! I saw a weevil in my crackers and threw EVERYTHING in the pantry in the dumpster, bleached all surfaces in the kitchen and have an exterminator on the way,” to “No big deal! It’s just a bit of protein. Besides, you’ve almost certainly eaten some without knowing it.”

The first position seemed rather extreme, but (as all guests we’ve hosted recently will be relieved to know) I’d much prefer serving my family other sources of protein.

So, what to do if you find a weevil in your oatmeal?

Natural Kitchen Pest Control

First, don’t panic.

As disgusting as it sounds, you’ve probably eaten a fair number of weevils without knowing it and survived. Grain weevils lay their eggs in, you guessed it, grain. Given the right conditions, the eggs hatch and the weevils multiply. Chances are, the weevil larva entered your home in food you bought.

Second, survey the damage.

As I feared, it wasn’t just the oatmeal that was infested. I completely cleared out the pantry and found weevils in flour, shelled nuts, chips, crackers and more. Thankfully, I’d already started storing many things in mason jars with lids tightly shut. These little stinkers can chew through cardboard and plastic, but not glass.

Properly dispose of infested food

(unless you hold to the “it’s just protein” camp): I gave bulk grains to a friend with chickens and carefully disposed of other infested food in the dumpster (putting it in the garbage can in the kitchen would just spread the problem!) Anything suspicious got tossed or frozen.

Clean thoroughly

Add tea tree essential oil to dish soap for additional cleaning power. If you need to vacuum out crevices, make sure you throw the vacuum bag in the dumpster.

Store food carefully

I love having a well-stocked pantry, but sure don’t want a repeat of that disaster! Rice and other grains go straight to the freezer for a week to kill any larva that might have been present in the store. Things like Saltine crackers that we don’t eat often but keep on hand in case we get sick either get stored in mason jars or in the freezer.

After tossing about $150 worth of food and cleaning like crazy, I thought the pantry was weevil-free. Guess what I found a few days later crawling in the pantry? Yep! Another weevil.

Did you know that you can carry weevils home in a bag of flour or box of cereal? Keep your cupboards safe from infestation with diatomaceous earth!

Food-grade diatomaceous Earth from the Bulk Herb Store 

Spread diatomaceous earth in the crevices

Clearly we needed something to kill off the rest of the weevils, but I didn’t want to use anything toxic in the pantry. Diatomaceous earth to the rescue! (Thanks Mom!) Diatomaceous earth, or fossil shell flour, comes from hard-shelled algae. Although it’s safe for mammals and earthworms to take internally, when weevils or other insect pests crawl through it, it dries out their exoskeletons and kills them. (Make sure to use the food-grade kind!)

I sprinkled it generously around the edges of each shelf, under any bags of chips that didn’t fit in the freezer, and inside the buckets of un-infested grains. “Dirt” pretty much covered all the crevices of my freshly-cleaned pantry. Then I sprinkled diatomaceous earth in all the cupboards that weren’t affected, just in case.

As added precaution, I taped bay leaves to bucket lids and put them on each shelf because they are traditionally reputed to discourage weevils.

It’s been about three months. I’ve seen a few dead weevils (who appeared to have trekked through the “dirt”) but NO MORE LIVING WEEVILS. Hurray!

Be proactive. Prevent a disgusting weevil infestation with diatomaceous earth... because weevils could be lurking in the bag of flour or box of cereal you just brought home!

Keep your cupboards weevil free

Even if you’ve never seen a weevil in your pantry, I highly recommended sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the edges of your pantry, just in case. Believe me, dealing with an infestation is not fun.

Anyone else had a pantry infestation? What did you do?

 [Full disclosure: links to some products in this post are my referral links.]