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Creating healing herbal salves is a satisfying pastime, and a magnificent way to alleviate dry skin and allow the herbs' healing benefits to enter your body's largest organ - your skin.

Calendula is probably the best and easiest herb to start with in salve-making. It’s easily grown and is noted for its skin-healing magic - use it on rashes, burns, and wounds; it’s also the perfect choice for a salve as the winter months approach, bringing with ithem skin dryness and irritation from icy temperatures and indoor heating.

Healing salves are easy to make, and I recommend researching the actions and energetics of herbs so you can choose the most appropriate herbs. For example, meadowsweet has anti-inflammatory properties and combines well with calendula for sore hands and feet, and will alleviate cracked or rough heels and elbows. For dry skin, a calendula base is best. The addition of lavender, either as an infused oil or essential oil, will provide further anti-inflammatory properties. Coconut oil is very moisturising and complements the fragrance of lavender well.

Aches and pains salve

125ml calendula-infused oil
125ml meadowsweet-infused oil
30g beeswax
20 drops wintergreen essential oil

Skin nourishing winter salve

100ml calendula-infused oil
100ml lavender-infused oil
50ml coconut oil
30g beeswax
20 drops rose essential oil

Making the salve
Place the grated beeswax in a pan over low heat, pour the infused oils and coconut oil over the top, and melt gently together. Once the beeswax and oils have combined, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add essential oils and pour mixture into jars. The salve needs to be completely cooled before capping, to prevent moisture build-up in the jar.

Using more or less beeswax will alter the consistency of the salve. All is not lost if the consistency is not what you’d hoped for: if the salve is too hard in the jar, scoop it out and place back in pan over low heat, gently melt and add a little more infused oil (or olive oil). Repeat the cooling process and pour back into jars. If the salve is too runny, again scoop it out and place back in pan over low heat, this time adding a little more grated beeswax till combined. Again, repeat the cooling process and pour back into jar.

Toni Green is a Launceston-based naturopath, herbalist and health writer. It is her passion to pass on this knowledge of natural therapies to others so that they might live a stress-free life with health and vitality.

Toni can be contacted at www.naturalhealthsolutions.net.au; toni.green57@iinet.net.au; or on 0431 716 601.