Dandelion salve is an easy homemade herbal remedy to make with just a few simple ingredients plentiful in the early spring.
The great thing about this dandelion salve recipe is that you can make it once a year and have enough to take advantage of its health benefits for 12 full months.
It’s a quick project with less than 20 minutes of hands-on time, meaning you can get back to enjoying the spring season instead of working in the kitchen.
The Whole Flower Head
Use the entire dandelion flower head for this recipe. Simply cut the flower head right where the stem ends and use it for the oil infusion.
There’s no reason to snip just the petals off to make salve.
Do give the fresh dandelion flowers a quick rinse or spray to remove any dirt residue and/or bugs. Spin the dandelion blossoms through a salad spinner to remove excess water. Then spread the flowers out in a single layer and let air dry for a bit.
Remember oil and water don’t mix so let the flowers get good and dry before adding them to the oil.
Only harvest enough flowers to make enough infused oil and salve to last you one year. There’s no reason to take more than that or to make gallons at a time because the oil would likely go bad long before you could use it all.
Do gather dandelions, and all medicinal plants for that matter, from unsprayed areas away from roads. This is the best way to avoid unwanted chemicals, oil, gas, etc.
Harvest the blossoms when they are fully opened in the morning sun after the dew has
Start with Infused Oil
Dandelion salve starts with infused dandelion oil. For this recipe, I’ve included a quick infusion method of heating oil and dandelion flowers together. This is a great way to use the fresh flowers quickly without worrying about removing excess moisture.
However, you can also make this salve with dandelion infused oil that has been made with solar method. This slow infusion method takes longer but also means you make the salve later in the year if you have the infused oil on hand.
To be honest, just the dandelion infusion makes for a wonderful massage oil if you don’t want or need a more solid salve.
If starting with infused oil, simply proceed with the recipe at the stage where you melt the oil and beeswax together. If you’re going to go with the slower method – let the flowers wilt overnight so that there is not much moisture at all in the plants before infusing.
You’ll need a double boiler to infuse the oil and to melt the beeswax. You have a couple of options for this.
Obviously, if you have a standard double boiler use that. If you don’t, though, simply place a small bowl over a small saucepan and go that route. Alternatively, place a glass canning jar on top of a canning ring inside a saucepan of water – the ring keeps the glass from touching the bottom of the pot and bursting.
It’s super helpful to have a double boiler set-up that you only use for making homemade salves. Beeswax is a bugger to remove completely so a dedicated bowl and saucepan that won’t also be used for food is quite nice for making your own salves and it doesn’t have to be fancy by any means, hit the thrift store.
You can truly use whatever you want to store the finished herbal salve. Old, clean candy tins, like the ones Altoids come in work great. Small, wide mouth canning jars work wonderfully and are so easy.
One can buy metal or glass containers in a variety of sizes. It is nice to have a big tin for at home and maybe a small lip balm sized container to keep in travel bags, etc.
I find it easiest to lay the tins out on a cookie sheet lined with a rag. This way any spills are easily captured and it saves a ton on clean-up time.
Essential Oils are Optional
I don’t tend to add essential oils to my homemade dandelion salve but you could if you wanted too.
Consider adding a few drops just for scent if desired. Things like menthol could be used to up the pain relieving properties of the salve.
Want to learn more about using common herbs for remedies in your home? The Year of Seasonal Herbs E-Course is here to help you gain confidence in using herbs in harmony with the seasons.
How to Use Dandelion Healing Salve
Dandelions have a number of medicinal uses. Most notably the flowers are used to soothe and loosen up stiff joints and muscles. We definitely take advantage of the anti-inflammatory properties in our home.
Rub the salve into arthritic joints or sore muscles after a weekend of gardening.
The salve can also be used to rub into dry or chapped skin to soften and soothe.
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil (or other oil of choice)
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Dandelion Heads
- 1 Tablespoon Beeswax Pastilles
- In the bottom of a double boiler, place an inch of water and bring to a boil. Keep the water simmering.
- In the top of the double boiler, combine the dandelion flower heads and oil.
- Let the oil and dandelions sit and stay warm (but not frying) on top of the boiling water for 30 minutes.
- Strain the flowers from the oil into a clean bowl.
- Wipe out the top of the double boiler to remove any flower petals.
- Add more water to the bottom of the double boiler if necessary and keep simmering.
- Pour the strained oil back onto the top of the double boiler and add beeswax.
- Heat until the beeswax melts.
- Pour the salve into tins and let harden and cool about 1 hour before placing lids on securely.
Add more beeswax for a harder salve, less for a looser consistency.
Shelf life of the oil will vary but remember all oils can go rancid. I suggest using it up within 1 year.