Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How to Make Dandelion Salve

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We’re only about a month into our gardening season here in Montana and already my hands are dry and chapped. I’ve been using a variety of lotions and skin creams to replenish the moisture in the rough skin on my hands but have had little success in finding a lasting solution. I decided to create my own skin nourishing dandelion salve. This stuff is simply amazing! It is easy to make, low cost and leaves my hands feeling soft and nourished for hours. I’ve also used dandelion salve and infused oil on my achy lower back after a long day of gardening and it helps soothe my sore muscles. The best part? I was able to use a little beeswax from our new honey bees!

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How to make homemade dandelion salve
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I’ve read quite a few articles this spring about foraging and eating dandelions. One article I read listed the health benefits from the various parts of a dandelion plant. I was intrigued that the flowers have pain relieving properties and can also be used as a massage oil. I started making infused oils a few years ago but had never tried dandelion infused oil. We have plenty of dandelions around our property so foraging would be easy.
There are a lot of recipes floating around the internet for homemade balms, salves and lotions. My frustration with a lot of them is that they include a lot of ingredients I don’t have on hand. I’ve almost invested in some of these products but couldn’t ever bite the bullet and do it. Often these products can be expensive and not something I’ll use often enough to make the investment. What I love about this recipe I created is that it includes some pretty simple ingredients that most people already have at home or can purchase for a low cost. Making and using all natural skin care products doesn’t have to be expensive!

Making Dandelion Infused Oil

Making infused oils is fairly simple. To make dandelion infused oil, you need to harvest a bunch of dandelion flower heads. I cut them off the stem as high as I could to minimize the amount of green foliage being harvested. I wasn’t quite sure how many to harvest, so I filled a large bowl. This ended up being about four cups of fresh dandelion heads.
I read several different articles about making dandelion infused oil and one thing everyone mentioned was being mindful of the high water content in dandelion flowers. To minimize getting a bunch of icky sludge in your infused oil, dry the flower heads out for a day or two. I spread them out on a cloth inside a cardboard box lid and sat them on top of our chest freezer for two days.

drying dandelions for infused massage oil and homemade salve

Once the dandelion flowers have dried a bit, pack them into a glass jar. I used a pint size canning jar and had just enough space for all the flowers. Next pour olive oil into the jar. Make sure the dandelion flowers are all completely covered with oil. Place a lid on the jar.

There are two ways to infuse oil. The way I first learned several years ago was the slow infusion method that I learned from this amazing book.  This method requires sitting the jar of oil out of direct sunlight for four to six weeks. If you want a speedier process, you can heat the oil in a jar on the stove. I opted for this method since I was anxious to make some salve and heal my dried out skin. 
I put a small pot on the stove with a few inches of water in the bottom. Then I sat the glass jar of oil and flower heads in the pan and turned it on medium. Once the water heated up but not boiling, I turned it off and let the jar sit in the pan of water until it all cooled off. Then I put the jar in the cupboard to continue infusing.
My jar infused for well over a week. This was mainly because I was so busy working in the garden I didn’t have time to make the salve!  The infused oil could actually be used after two or three days. After it is done infusing, strain the flowers from the oil. I use a small fine mesh sieve and press the flowers down into the sieve to press out as much oil as I can. Compost your flowers and the infused oil is now ready to use!

Making Dandelion Salve

Making salve is an easy project if you have the supplies handy. I have a lot of the supplies on hand since I’ve been making homemade lip balm and selling it in our Etsy shop for the last couple years. This recipe will make a large batch (a little less than 1.5 cups). If you want a smaller batch, reduce the quantities but keep the proportions the same.
This salve can feel a bit greasy when you first put it on. I’ve found that after 15-20 minutes the greasiness goes away and my hands just feel so soft. I put a generous scoop of dandelion salve on my hands before I go to bed and just love how soft my skin feels when I wake up!


-16 oz of infused dandelion oil
-2 oz coconut oil (this is the kind we use)
-2 oz of beeswax (I bought these since they were lower cost and easy to shred, but now we render our own beeswax to use)
-OPTIONAL: 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil (or whatever scent you prefer!)

Step 1: 

Place the beeswax and coconut oil in a glass jar or measuring cup. Sit a pan on the stove with several inches of water in it. Sit the glass jar down in the pan and heat on low/medium.

easy DIY dandelion salve

Step 2: 

Once the beeswax and coconut oil are melted, carefully stir in the infused dandelion oil. Our house was cool when I made this, so when I poured the dandelion oil in some of the wax started hardening up. If this happens for you, keep heating the mixture until it is all melted again.

Step 3: 

Add in essential oil if you prefer and stir well.  The dandelion oil does have a dandelion scent but I I love the scent of lavender so chose to use this essential oil as an added scent.

Step 4: 

Carefully remove the glass jar from the pan. I wanted one big jar of dandelion salve so the jar I mixed it in was the jar I let it cool off in. If you want smaller containers of salve, pour the mixture into smaller containers. Allow the salve to cool.
This dandelion salve has a firm consistency. Since there is coconut oil in it, as soon as you scoop some into your hands it softens and melts. This creates an easy to spread salve. I started out using this just on my hands but then started using it for rough, cracked skin on my feet. I also use it to nourish dry skin on my arms and legs.
After making a big batch of dandelion salve, I had some dandelion infused oil left over. Since the infused oil is  to help with pain relief, I filled an empty amber glass bottle to use for massage oil. When we have aches and pains in our back or feet, I can use this massage oil to naturally help with pain relief.
After spending the whole day transplanting seedlings into the garden on Saturday, my lower back was so achy I could hardly walk. I rubbed dandelion infused oil on my lower back and felt some relief. It didn’t make all the aches and pains go away, but it did lessen the pain. Whoever said dandelions are weeds and should be destroyed must never have tried a dandelion salve or massage oil. This stuff is amazing!


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