Recipe for Homemade Drawing Salve
If you’d like to try your hand at making your own drawing salve, the basic ingredients and recipe are below. This simple recipe uses plantain, an herb found throughout the United States. Please consult a qualified herbalist, your local Cooperative Extension office, or an expert horticulturist to identify plantain, the main ingredient in the following recipe.
Please use care and caution when making your own salves, and consult a physician for any serious stings, bites, rashes or injuries. Always consult a qualified herbalist before dosing yourself with herbal treatments and do a small patch test to ensure you are not allergic to any ingredients.
To make this salve you’ll need:
Vegetable oil or olive oil
Lavender or other herb with sweet scent (optional, although the lavender makes a good antiseptic)
Glass bottle or jar
Container for the salve
Label and marker
Take the leaf of the plantain weed and clean it under running water. Pat dry, and place in glass bottle or jar filled with vegetable or olive oil. Use several leaves for stronger potency. Store for one month with leaves immersed in oil. Strain the mixture, discard leaves, and retain the oil. In a double boiler, slowly and carefully heat the beeswax. Add as much oil as needed, then cool to room temperature. Pour or scoop salve into final container, label with remedy name and date, and use quickly. Apply to the affected area, cover with a clean bandage, and the salve should quickly draw forth the foreign object. If you'd like a sweet-smelling salve, add herbal extracts such as lavender to the final mixture before it cools and mix together thoroughly.
The medicinal use of plantain traces back to the Middle Ages. Once thought of as a cure all herb, herbalists often include it in skin treatments for rashes, splinters and minor irritations. German salve recipes frequently include plantain. If you are in a hurry, some herbalists recommend simply crushing several plantain leaves and applying as a poultice to the skin. Hold the poultice in place for about an hour, then remove. You should be able to grasp the splinter or sting with tweezers and remove.
You can add many ingredients to the basic recipe. Herbs such as lavender provide fragrance and antiseptic properties. Other herbs such as Echinacea, goldenseal, and others also provide antiseptic properties.
Pros of Making Your Own Salve
Given that drawing salves are easily obtained at many stores, what are the pros of making your own homemade salve?
While most companies list all ingredients on the tube or container, when making your own drawing salve you can be certain that all of the ingredients in the salve are natural, organic, and pure. You can also control the texture and fragrance to suit your own tastes.
The plantain-based recipe combines herbs with common kitchen ingredients to make salve. It's fairly easy to make, inexpensive, and if you have the time, a useful additional to your herbal medicine chest.
Cons of Homemade Salve
While once it may have been necessary to make your own drawing salve, in today’s world the cons outweigh the pros of making your own mixture. Although you can certainly pluck plantain weeds, purchase beeswax and cook your own salve up in the kitchen, it’s messy and time consuming. Anyone with a painful splinter wants it out now, not a month from now when the homemade salve is ready to use. A quick trip to the pharmacy, a squirt of any of the excellent prepared salves, and the splinter is out in a day or two. Many fine organic products exist within every budget, and are rapidly becoming popular again thanks to interest in herbal and alternative remedies. While making a plantain poultice is something anyone with access to the plant can make quickly, making a full container of salve is probably best left to the experts, especially when it’s easily obtained commercially.