The 18 BEST Herbs to Use in Your Homemade Body Products (Infused Oils, Soaps, Salves, Butters, and Balms)
One of the first herbal preparations I ever tried to make was a salve. At first, I was a bit intimidated, but then I realized it’s really quite simple. In fact, it’s kind of hard to mess it up. But what REALLY intimidated me most was choosing which herbs to infuse in the oils I used to create the salve. I knew about Lavender, but what about ALL the other herbs out there?
So I decided, after many years of creating salves, butters, and balms with herbal infused oils, experimenting and making some mistakes and having lots of successes….that I would share my favorite herbs to use in infused oils.
**If you are new to using herbs, you should take a look at How to Make Herb Infused Oils, as this is a necessary prerequisite for making infused salves, balms, and butters. You’ll want to decide on the infused oils you want to keep on hand so you can whip up an herbal salve or other topical preparation in no time!
You may also enjoy this article: The Best Oils & Butters to Use for Your Homemade Soaps & Salves.
Why Use Herbs in Your Homemade Body Products?
You can certainly make simple salves and butters without using any herbs at all. These will be similar to petroleum jelly (without the toxins, of course). This means they won’t include the medicinal properties of the plants, and therefore won’t be nearly as powerful for certain things, like healing a wound or burn, soothing a headache, or providing some relief from pains.
Using herbs (and essential oils) in your body care preparations not only provides medicinal qualities to your creations, but also adds some color and scent (in the case of essential oils). These added factors play an important role in increasing the medicinal, aesthetic, and aromatherapy power of your product.
Herbs that can be safely used to enhance the benefits of your salves, oils, butters, and body balms grow all around us! You might have some growing in your own garden right now, or perhaps they grow in nearby areas.
There are so many plants that can be used to create useful medicinal or beauty products. In fact, if you can eat a plant, it is probable that it can be used in your herbal body care creations.
I am always amazed at how my herbal salves out-perform the common store-bought ones, too.
Following is a list of some my favorite plants you can use to infuse in your oils when you make your own herbal salves, butters, and balms.
**If you would like a list of essential oils that are wonderful to use in body products here’s a list of articles to visit and enjoy:
FTC Disclosure: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article. If you click through and make any kind of purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
What are the BEST Herbs to Use in Your DIY Salves, Oils, Butters, Creams, Lotions, and Balms?
This certainly isn’t a complete list, as there are SO many useful herbs out there that are wonderful for skincare and medicinal purposes as well. But these are the herbs I use most often and are common additions to salves and other homemade skincare items.
Are you wondering where to buy herbs? Well, my main supplier for herbs I don’t grow or forage myself is Starwest Botanicals. They also have culinary herbs in bulk that are high quality and will save you money!
The links within the article are for Amazon, for your convenience.
One of my favorite flowers to use in making all kinds of herbal products, Calendula is incredibly soothing and healing to the skin because it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It may help certain skin conditions such as eczema.
Calendula is thought to help skin regenerate more quickly after injury because it helps promote the repairing of skin cells. It’s safe for using on babies and is a common ingredient in healing salves, including diaper rash ointments.
You can see my Citrus Dream Soap Recipe that is colored yellow from the Calendula.
Ouch! You might be thinking! That’s a hot herb! And yes, it is. But cayenne contains capsaicin, which is excellent for soothing joints and sore muscles. It also has analgesic properties. You can find out more about Cayenne’s healing properties in How to Make Your Own Natural Quikclot and How to Make a Pain Relieving Salve.
This sweet-smelling plant has small white flowers which are used along with the leaves to make teas, tinctures, and topical preparations such as salves. There is some evidence that chamomile may have effects similar to cortisone.
Like Calendula, Chamomile also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Used internally, it is soothing to the nervous system and is a relaxing herb commonly used in teas. The essential oil can be used as well as the herb. Here is my recipe for Relaxation Tea, which uses Chamomile herb.
Here is my homemade soap recipe: Chamomile Infused Hot Process Soap, if you’d like to check this skin soothing bar out!
I grew up with this desert plant growing in my backyard. With its ability to survive the harshest conditions in the Mojave Desert, it has become a plant well-known to be helpful in a variety of ways.
A tea made with chaparral is wonderful for skin irritations and sunburn. It has antibacterial properties, as well. Used in a salve or liniment, it helps with wound healing, soothing itchy rashes, and infections.
You can see my directions for How to Make Chaparral Salve here.
This tiny star-shaped flower is a common weed that grows in some very inhospitable places. It’s great for topical preparations because it has wonderful demulcent and emollient properties, making it excellent for skincare. It’s perfect for using to soothe itchy skin, rashes, and eczema. It makes a great addition to diaper rash salves. If you have dry skin, chickweed is your friend!
Comfrey is high in a substance called allantoin, which boosts cell renewal. It’s also known as knit-bone, which tells you right there that it has some pretty amazing healing powers. If you are making a healing salve, you’ll probably want to include comfrey in your recipe! You can find out how I use it in this Black Drawing Salve.
The bright, happy dandelion—-yes, this common weed—-is wonderful for using in your body care and medicinal products. The entire plant has some pretty incredible medicinal uses for supporting the liver and kidneys. The flowers contain a rather high amount of lecithin, and this helps soothe painful, dry or chapped skin when used in making preparations for the body.
Ginger is warming and soothing. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, and I like to use it in medicinal preparations here and there. It also smells great! Ginger is also a stimulating herb, which means it enhances the actions of the properties of the other herbs you use. You can use the essential oil as well as the actual herb.
This effective herb is so valuable it has become endangered in its natural habitat. However, it is now being grown in other areas. If you purchase Goldenseal, be sure you buy organic (not wildcrafted) because this helps ensure it’s not further endangering a goldenseal habitat.
Medicinally, Goldenseal has some very powerful antibacterial properties, and is a tincture I always have available in our home. For topical preparations, it’s been used to help with skin infections, wounds, abscesses, eczema, and psoriasis.
Juniper has some pretty fantastic detoxifying properties for skincare. It helps keep pores clear and balances skin that is oily. Because of this, take care when using on drier skin. I love Juniper—-the scent, the way it works, and it is also great for using sparingly in cooking red meat!
You might like to take a look at this Juniper Body Scrub.
Just about everyone loves lavender! And even if you’re not a fan of it’s pungent floral scent, you can’t deny its healing properties. Lavender is used to calm and support the nervous system and is emotionally uplifting. Lavender also has excellent antibacterial and anti- fungal properties. It’s useful for soothing headaches caused by stress and helping the body relax for sleep. You can find out how to make a terrific Lavender Salve if you like.
Lemon Balm has strong anti-viral properties because of its high level of polyphenols. This helps make it effective for using against viral conditions like herpes and shingles. Using it in salves is wonderful for both its ability to soothe and heal.
My Cold Sore Salve with Lemon Balm & L-Lysine is great to get started making now before cold and flu season strike!
Both peppermint and spearmint are wonderful for using in salves. The plant can be infused in oil, and the essential oil is useful for cooling and refreshing the mind as well as helping relieve common headache.
This is another common weed found just about everywhere. There are several varieties, and they are all wonderful. Plantain helps draw toxins from the body and is supportive of the liver. It’s helpful for insect bites, painful boils and acne cysts, and infection. It is cooling, soothing, and helps keep the skin moist. Keep in mind, this is not the banana looking fruit in markets—this is the green leafy weed found in the fields.
Another so-called weed, red clover is exceptionally helpful for soothing skin conditions. It’s also great for menopausal women, because it helps balance female hormones due to the phytoestrogens contained in the leaves. Red clover is a wonderful tea, tincture, or vinegar, as well as being useful in salves and body care preparations.
Roses are not just lovely and sweet smelling. They also help with inflammation, and they make the heart happy. I’d love to try using rose essential oil in skincare products, however, it is extremely expensive. Therefore, I have to stay happy simply infusing the petals in oils I can use to create salves. If you want an essential oil that smells similar, try Rose Geranium or Palmarosa in small amounts.
You might enjoy making Rose Salve!
Rosemary can be infused in oil and helps support circulation. It’s perfect for massage oils as well as making salves. Because rosemary is a powerhouse when it comes to enhancing circulation, you’ll find it in many cellulite products on the market. The essential oil can be used too. You can see how to make a Cellulite Oil or a handmade Cellulite Scrubbing Soap using Rosemary.
ST. JOHN’S WORT:
I love using St. John’s Wort as a seasonal aid against the winter blues, but it also has some exceptional antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
I love to use it for neuralgia in topical preparations, and it is useful for herpes and shingles. It is an excellent remedy for helping the skin heal from traumas such as bruises, sprains, and burns. You can find out how to make a great healing salve using St. John’s Wort.
NOTE: St. John’s Wort may cause photosensitivity in some people.
You can create an herbal tea for helping with the Winter Blues, if you want to learn more about St. John’s Wort.
Final Thoughts on the 18 Best Herbs to Use in Your Homemade Soaps & Salves
There are SO many other herbs to use in your body care products in addition to these favorites of mine. I hope you’ll consider making some of your own body care and skin soothing salves, oils, butters, and balms for yourself, friends, and family. You might enjoy the article: 50+ Things to Stop Buying and Start Making, too!
Experimenting with different herbs and herbal combinations will help you develop an intuitive sense for the power of herbs. Start off easy with a lavender product, then branch out from there!
Here is an eBook that will help you get started creating your own herbal body care salves, butters, and balms. There are recipes and lots of information about everything you need to know to get started making your own products! The information is all in one place, so it’s easy to print it all or just what you need.
So get out there and start making herbal salves and body products! It’s fun and easy. And when you infuse herbs and use essential oils, you really come out with a high end homemade product of your own!
Hugs, Health, and Self-Reliance,
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