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Gardener’s Hand Salve

hands pruning

Making a Gardener’s Hand Salve

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DIY Hand Salve

I finally made a gardener’s hand salve! It was easy – you can do it too!


I used up the last of a fantastic, store-bought, all-natural comfrey hand salve that worked super well for after gardening – you know, when your hands are withered and chapped from digging in the clay mud. And I couldn’t find the brand anymore.

But I’ve been growing comfrey for a while now. There’s plenty of it. And I have made a lip balm with essential oils, so it can’t be that much different, right?

But I kept putting it off. My hands were not happy.

Note on Handicraft

Here’s the other part of the “why?”: I’m always looking for ways to learn new things by doing. Using Charlotte Mason methods while homeschooling showed me that being able to create useful, beautiful things by hand helps a child (or anyone, for that matter!) develop confidence and self-reliance — a valuable part of self-education.

Making useful, beautiful things by hand is called handicraft.


My inspiration for hand salve came while I was watching Season 3 of #LifeSkillsNow Summer Camp put on by my friend Katie at Kids Cook Real Food, and there was a workshop on “How to Create Your Own Healing Salve Recipe” by Kate Tietje at Modern Alternative Mama.

She had a 6-minute video that was a perfect inspiration for me.

The idea at this summer camp was to watch tiny video lessons on hundreds of different life skills and then the kids go off and DO some mission. The “Hand Salve mission” was to make a hand salve.

Kate used a quick infusion method to get it done sooner than waiting weeks for the herbs to infuse into the oil.

pale green jar of hand salve
My final product. The fresh garden herbs were all green, giving it a pale green tint. It smells wonderful from the mints and the lavender.

General method

Basically, you can infuse herbs (relatively quickly) into oil on slow heat (barely a simmer). Then you strain the herbs and use the oil. You melt beeswax into the oil and pour it into a tin or container to set.

Viola! You’re done.

If she showed it in 6 minutes, surely I could do it in a day, right?

And I could and did!

Method vs. Recipe

I liked that Kate showed a flexible method where you could select the herbs. She also provided a recipe which I modified because I only wanted a half cup.

Gardener’s Salve Recipe


  • ½ c Herbs: Comfrey, Dandelion, Chocolate Mint, Mentos Mint, Lemon Balm, Ginger & Cayenne. (I had these growing on hand plus the ginger & cayenne in the kitchen. The only reason I didn’t use Calendula is that my flowers were not blooming yet!)
  • ½ c Coconut oil (I used coconut instead of olive oil because I wanted a softer end result)
  • 4 t Beeswax
  1. Smush the herbs into a glass jar and cover with oil.
  2. Gently simmer in a double boiler for ½ hour or so.
  3. Strain.
  4. Add beeswax and return to heat.
  5. Stir until melted.
  6. Pour into container.


Kate’s recipe is more specific. I’m just giving you an idea of how I FINALLY made a salve. It’s been on my TO-DO list for a very long time.

If you are going to make a hand salve, I want you to know that it is easier than you think if you’ve been postponing it.

Get a good book at the library on how to do this if you are unfamiliar with the technique. Kate has a number of books, but I haven’t any read them yet so I don’t know what is covered in each one.

And none of this is medical advice in any way – I’m just letting you know what I did to smooth some skin on my hands!

PS about the #LifeSkillsNow Camp

Katie (not Kate) runs her summer camp at the end of June. You can get back episodes if you are interested.

hands pruning bush
hands planting small shrub
hand holding jar of salve
gardener transplanting lettuce

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