What is Salve & How Can it Help My Skin

Applying Salve

Have you ever had a skin irritation that needed a little protective barrier to allow it to heal? Has your child ever scraped a knee and found it hurt for several days? Sometimes, those minor injuries hurt the worst. And that first aid spray from the drug store stings!

There must be a better option.

What are Salves?

The words salve, ointment, and balm are often used interchangeably. There are some differences, but the basics are much the same. A salve is a type of topical ointment used for medicinal or therapeutic purposes. Often, an herb is infused into an oil like coconut oil, almond oil, extra virgin olive oil, or even calendula oil. Afterward, the oil is gently heated to melt beeswax into the infused oil.

Some of the base oils used in our natural salves have health benefits of their own, and essential oils may be infused too. The natural ingredients are nourishing to the skin, and are used to soothe and treat irritated skin or even wounds. The beeswax is added to make the salve "set" so it can be stored more easily than the oil. The hardness of the finished product depends upon the amount of wax added.

Brett applying salve to Landon's knee
"My family strongly believes in Comfrey and Arnica Salves. We've used Comfrey for scrapes and bites, Arnica for bruises and sore muscles. They both work superbly." - Ann S.

What is Salve Used For?

A herbal salve can protect and help nourish the skin while it repairs itself. Salves can also moderate the pain of healing. After cleaning the wound with a gentle soap like Goat Milk Stuff's Castile or Purity soap, applying a salve or ointment is the most basic first aid care for minor cuts, scrapes, and scratches. It can keep the skin comfortable and soothed while it helps promote healing.

The oily nature of a salve keeps the skin’s surface moist while it heals. This can be especially nice for that scraped knee. Scabs are dry and pull on the skin, so the moisturizing attributes of a salve can feel really good. Your child will appreciate the difference that a natural salve makes, and you will feel better about using natural products, too.

Salves are also great for soothing chapped lips or windburned skin. New mothers like to keep a balm on hand to protect tiny babies from diaper rash. Every grandma seemed to have a little tin of salve in the cabinet over the bathroom sink.

Salves may seem old-fashioned, but there are reasons that they maintain their popularity. The fact that they are natural products is a big plus because adding chemicals to our first-aid products is a concern. We always want to avoid putting harsh chemicals on our skins - and on our kids.

Hewitt using salve
"(Jewelweed Salve)really did relieve the itch in a nasty case of poison ivy!" - Marjorie O.

Differences Between Salves vs Balms

Salves are generally solid but melt with body heat as they are applied. Balms contain more beeswax and can be poured into application containers, such as lip balm tubes or stick tubes like deodorant. Balms offer more protection for the skin because they form a bit of a waxy barrier on top of the skin.

Salves can be absorbed into skin cells more easily. Balms are a more solid product that remains on the skin rather than being absorbed. Each has a place, but salves are easier to apply to rashes and small injuries.

Indigo and Jade using salve
"I have very dry, cracked fingers in the winter, and I am in water (in the kitchen) a lot. When I faithfully use it (Comfrey Salve) three times a day, it heals and takes the pain away! I love it!" - Victoria P.

Some salves are multi-purpose and useful for a wide array of issues. Others are infused with specific herbs and/or oils to be used for special circumstances. While no medical claims are made, three salves are especially handy in a home first aid kit. These are Arnica, Jewelweed, and Comfrey.

Goat Milk Salves And Their Uses

Here at Goat Milk Stuff, we believe in using natural, healthy ingredients that benefit your skin. Our skin care range has been carefully handcrafted for a range of skin types, so that it can help anyone and everyone. Here are our salves and their specific benefits:

Arnica Salve

Arnica Salve is a natural remedy believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce pain and swelling. It also helps bring blood circulation to the area where it is applied, which may improve the body's ability to heal tissues. These three arnica properties are used in the following ways:

  1. Arnica can relieve muscle pain: When overused muscles are painful, Arnica Salve may help reduce pain by increasing the blood flow and "warming up" the muscles. It can help relax and speed up the repair of inflamed tissues. Exercise is more fun when your muscles don't hurt, so applying a little Arnica Salve after a workout can help you return to your routine quicker!
  2. Arnica is used to treat arthritis: Rubbing some easily absorbed Arnica Salve into painful joints may give more relief than just taking pain pills. As an addition to the medication, arnica could help you be more comfortable.
  3. Arnica may help bruises and sprains heal faster. Wound healing is where Arnica Salve might stand out. By helping to reduce swelling, sprains can begin to heal faster. The increased blood flow to an injured joint or a bruise makes it easier for your body to heal.
Arnica Salve
"Just tried the Arnica Salve for neck and back pain, and was greatly impressed on how quickly this worked! It has a pleasant smell, and the salve is easy to apply in muscle area." - Maureen R.

Arnica has a long history of use in herbal medicine. It's a plant in the Asteraceae family, meaning that it is related to ragweed, daisies, and sunflowers. If you are allergic to members of this flower family, you should avoid using arnica. Additionally, arnica should never be taken internally or used on broken skin.

A tin of Arnica Salve has many uses and is a valuable addition to your first aid kit and may help your injuries heal faster and with less pain. It doesn't hurt to add arnica salve to your other pain-relieving strategies, but mention it if you are under the care of a professional.

Comfrey Salve

Comfrey is another plant that has a long history of use as natural medicine. It's another herb that should not be taken internally, but all its skin-repairing attributes are present in a salve.

Comfrey is a very nourishing plant. It's said to make skin softer and smoother, making it ideal for dry skin or sensitive skin. There are even reports that it can help prevent the signs of aging skin! Comfrey Salve is also commonly used for diaper rash, windburn, and sunburn and may reduce inflammation and redness.

Indigo applying salve
"I had a recurring skin issue around my ankles. I’ve been to three doctors with it. Each had a different theory about it- and a different treatment. I finally ordered the Comfrey Salve. With the first application, the rash was gone in 24 hours." - Jackie M.

The herbal properties of comfrey help cells grow and repair themselves. Historically, it's been used on wounds and works so well that it should not be used on deep or puncture wounds because it is said to heal the outer skin too quickly! This allows infections to grow deep in the wound, which needs to heal from the inside to the surface.

Comfrey Salve excels at keeping a cut or scrape protected while it heals and may also help relieve the pain of the injury. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it may help reduce swelling.

Jewelweed Salve

Jewelweed is a lovely little tube-shaped yellow or orange flower with red spots that often grows near poison ivy. Interestingly, the sap of the plant is said to calm the itch of poison ivy. Jewelweed Salve offers relief to those affected by poison ivy and oak and may help with insect bites, fungal infections and other itchy skin irritations.

Try it on any kind of rash and other plant-related skin issues. Stinging nettle can leave a painful irritation, and jewelweed is said to be beneficial for those encounters, too.

There are not a lot of poison ivy remedies out there, and Jewelweed Salve is an all-natural product that has no added harmful chemicals. It's a good choice to keep around for summer outings.

Jewelweed Salve
"Jewelweed was great salve for insect bites and poison ivy!" - Joyce T.

Salve Use Information

They are generally safe for everyone with a few precautions. Ask your healthcare provider before using any herbal preparation if you are, or might be, pregnant or nursing.

Don't use them in or near your eyes or ingest them. And do rub a little onto your inner elbow and wait a while to see if you react to the ingredients before applying a larger amount. Even natural products can be an allergen for some people. If you know you are prone to allergies, it's best to check first. As a reminder, arnica is in the same family as ragweed, mums, daisies, and sunflowers.

Applying salve
"Arnica Salve is magic. My daughter uses it on her shoulder. Works better than taping. I use it for trigger finger. Works better than wearing a hand brace. Beyond pleased." - Velma F.

Don't apply them more than two or three times a day, and stop using any product that you have a reaction to. Wash your hands before tending to your own or someone else's injury or rash. Wear gloves if appropriate. And wash your hands again afterward.

Store salves in a cool, dry place. Salves melt in hot weather and can make a real mess if left in a hot car. They last a long time when stored properly. The melted product will harden again after it cools down.

Ready to Use a Salve?

Having a variety of salves on hand is a great idea if you have an active lifestyle. You never know when you will need them, so stock them in your first aid supplies.

Keeping a well-stocked first-aid kit gives you the confidence you need to handle the little things at home. Children often get minor injuries that don't require a visit to the doctor if you are prepared. Having the right salve readily available might be the thing that saves a summer vacation. Used as directed, there's little reason to avoid these old-fashioned but oh-so-useful salves.

Comfrey Salve
"Your Comfrey Salve is by far, one of the most impressive products I have found, aside from your lotion which I never allow myself to run out of. And your soap. Your formula is spectacular. We have used your salve on cuts, burns and just about anything we can think of. I have rounds of psoriasis and sometimes it will crack and bleed. A little comfrey on a bandaid and overnight, the crack is closed over." - Katrina M.

Stock up on gentle goat milk soap to clean those rashes and little wounds, and grab some of these healing salves before you need them. Remember, it's Arnica for joints and muscles, Comfrey for cuts and scrapes, and Jewelweed for poison ivy and mosquito bites!

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