Natural DIY: Customizable Healing Salves


It is such a bizarre coincidence that on the day I published my post on the natural mini-first aid kit, Zander came down with a cold, and I started fighting one off. It has also been a great opportunity to put our essential oils to the test. I am thrilled to report that we have experienced tremendous success with our natural remedies!

For the past two days/nights, I have been running a dōTERRA protective blend called On Guard through diffusers in Zander’s bedroom and our living room. The blend contains Wild Orange, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary oils, a combination which is purported to be good for killing harmful bacteria, mold, and viruses. In addition, I have been adding a few drops of Lemon and Thyme oils to the diffuser, because those are supposed to be helpful for children with colds. I’ve also added a few drops of the On Guard and Lemon oils to Zander’s bath each night, shifted the diffuser into the bathroom, and closed the door to trap the moist air in the room and maximize inhalation of the therapeutic vapors. And, of course, we’ve been loading up on lots of fresh-squeeze citrus juices and other good sources of vitamin C.

But back to the topic of this post. As soon as I realized we were starting to feel under the weather, I decided to create a few healing salves (recipe below). I had been wanting to do this anyway, so it was perfect timing to try them out. The salves were very easy to make.

Since then, I have been applying my Respiratory Salve (see below) each night before bed to help Zander fall asleep. I massage it onto his chest, beck, and the soles of his feet, and it not only feels good and nurturing to him, but the added Eucalyptus Oil smells really lovely. For the last two nights, Zander has awoken in the middle of the night (around 3:00 or 4:00 am) with congestion, coughing, and a mild fever, and both times I have simply reapplied the Respiratory Salve, along with some Peppermint Oil to reduce his fever. It’s true that I could simply apply these oils directly to Zander (along with a carrier oil to dilute them), but it’s so much more convenient to have them pre-blended and ready to safely apply, especially for those 3:00 am applications where my brain isn’t fully functioning.

I can’t believe how effective these remedies have been–it’s truly astonishing. Both times, after applying the oils, I have snuggled in beside Zander and listened as his airways opened up, his cough quieted, and he drifted back into a peaceful sleep that has lasted for the rest of the night–all within 20-30 minutes of applying the oils. This morning, he slept until 9:00 am–a much-needed rest for both of us!

Below is how I made my salves. They are a little bit softer than I expected–not quite runny, but definitely not as thick as I thought they would be. If you would prefer a thicker salve, you might consider adding a tiny bit more wax to your recipe. It works beautifully; it’s just a little bit messy. I adapted mine from this recipe on the dōTERRA blog, using carnauba wax instead of beeswax to make it vegan, and substituting coconut oil for grapeseed oil, simply because that’s what I had on hand.


1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1/2 cup organic sweet almond oil
2 Tbsp organic carnauba wax
1/2 Tbsp vitamin E oil
approx. 25-40 drops of essential oil per salve (use more or less, if desired)

The recipe made enough salve to fill four (4 oz) metal tins. I love that my metal tins are not only fully recyclable, but were made from recycled materials!


I started by melting the carnauba wax in a makeshift double boiler (see photo at bottom). For some reason, when I added the room-temperature coconut, sweet almond, and vitamin E oils, the melted wax immediately hardened into tiny little clumps, and I had to re-melt the whole thing all over again. Next time, I will combine all of these ingredients before I even start melting, as it took forever to melt the wax the first time, and to melt it all over again was just plain irritating.

Once everything had re-melted, I poured my salve base into the metal tins and added the essential oils individually to each tin, stirring with a wooden chopstick (I used a clean chopstick for each salve). I used the following essential oils–I love how fully customizable this process is and that you could make your own salve for just about any ailment:

1. Respiratory Salve (for coughs, sniffles, congestion, etc.): 25 drops of dōTERRA Breathe blend (Peppermint, Laurel (Bay) Leaf, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca (Tea Tree), Lemon, and Ravensara oils) plus another 15 drops of organic Eucalyptus oil

2. Digestive Salve (for tummy aches, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, etc.): 40 drops of dōTERRA DigestZen blend (Ginger, Peppermint, Tarragon, Fennel, Caraway, Coriander, and Anise oils)

3. Cold/Flu Salve (for cold/flu symptoms): 40 drops of dōTERRA On Guard blend (Wild Orange, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary oils)

4. Skin Soothing Salve (for rashes, cuts, scrapes, burns, etc.): 20 drops of organic Lavender Oil plus 20 drops of organic Frankincense Oil



About Kim McCoy

Kim McCoy is a passionate animal and environmental advocate with a B.S. in Business Administration from UT Knoxville and a J.D. specializing in Animal and Environmental Law. She graduated with honors from Lewis & Clark Law School, where she served as Editor in Chief of the internationally acclaimed Animal Law Review and interned with the National Center for Animal Law and the International Environmental Law Project. Kim is a member of MENSA (the “high IQ society”) and previously worked for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in a variety of roles, including Executive Director, Director of Campaigns, and Director of Legal Affairs. Kim is also the former Executive Director of the One World One Ocean Foundation and the proud mother of a healthy, thriving son who has been vegan since conception. Currently serving as Executive Director of Big Life Foundation, which protects wildlife and wild lands in Eastern Africa, Kim remains deeply committed to the defense of animals worldwide.
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2 Responses to Natural DIY: Customizable Healing Salves

  1. Mike & Gloria McCoy says:

    More amazing remedies!

    Sent from Mike & Gloria’s iPad.

  2. Pingback: Blog Love: Mama By Fire, Vegan Mama, and Three Boys And A Mom - This Is Mommyhood

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