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How to Make Dandelion Salve to Soothe Sore Muscles and Joints


How to make dandelion salve

I remember my dad on his hands and knees in the front yard, digging up dandelions by the roots.

And I remember watching the "gypsies" when we lived in Greece, foraging for dandelions in early spring, the first wild greens of the year.

Of the two, I have always been more like the gypsies. Although I didn't eat the greens, the cheerful yellow flowers have always made me smile. From grubby toddler hands offering me a yellow bouquet to the white "blow flowers" that my children loved, dandelions have given me some sweet memories.

How to make dandelion salve

When our middle daughter complained about all the dandelions she was dealing with this spring, I said "eat 'em!" She didn't go for that, but when I suggested making dandelion salve she was hooked.

How to make dandelion ointment

Dandelion-infused oil can be used as a pain-relieving massage oil or made into salve, soothing such conditions as stiff necks, sinus headaches, sore back muscles and arthritic joints. It also helps to heal sores and conditions rough, dry skin.

My hands are so dry from gardening and working outside, and I really wanted to try this natural remedy.

Dandelion salve

So I made her a deal: if she picked the flowers, I'd tell her how to infuse them in oil and when I visited later in the year, we'd make the salve together.

So she sent Granddaughter out to pick all the yellow blooms that afternoon and again the next morning. They removed the green part of the flowers, put the yellow petals in a dry jar and poured enough olive oil in a jar to cover the flowers. Then she put the jar on the kitchen counter and let it infuse until I visited them this summer, shaking it once in a while when she remembered.

Herbalists recommend letting plant material dry out before infusing in oils, so let your dandelion flowers rest on a towel for several hours or overnight until they are pretty well dry. You could also put them in your dehydrator for several hours. Moisture can cause your infused oils to mold or go rancid, so using a dry jar and dried-out plants is the way to go.

Of course, you'll want to use dandelion flowers that haven't been sprayed or treated with chemicals. (And, um, I don't use dandelion flowers from my own front yard because my dogs roam that area. You know what I mean, right?)

I've written in more detail about infusing herbs in oil here. Even though I made those particular oils to use in soapmaking, the infusing process is the same - so hop over and read that post if you need directions on how to infuse oils.

Dandelion blooms infusing in a jar of olive oil

Here is how we made our salve. For step-by-step directions, scroll down to the bottom of the post.

By the time I visited, the oil had been infusing for six weeks, a perfect amount of time. Our next step was to strain the petals from the oil.

I prefer to use muslin to strain infused oil, so that I can squeeze the last drop of the oil from the plant material, but I hadn't thought to bring some. I tried paper towels but they tore too easily, so I finally used a wire strainer.

A jar of dandelion-infused oil.

Our strained oil was such a pretty yellow color after infusing for more than six weeks.

Beeswax

I measured out the beeswax that I'd brought with me, using 1/4 cup of beeswax and just under two cups of oil. I added a 1/4 cup of coconut oil too, to make the salve softer and less waxy. I guess it's more the consistency of ointment, actually.

Putting the beeswax in a glass measuring cup, we melted it by setting the measuring cup in a saucepan of simmering water on the stove like a double boiler. Next we added the coconut oil and let it liquify.

I added the infused olive oil to the beeswax slowly, stirring after each addition because the room-temperature infused oil cooled the beeswax a bit.

Pouring dandelion salve into jars

Then we poured it into six 4-ounce canning jars. The last jar wasn't quite full, so it was the jar we used first.

Dandelion salve cooling in jars

Once it cooled and thickened, my daughter applied some to her sunburned shoulders and I rubbed it into my hands. It was so luxurious and soothing. It's a bit oily when first applied, but it soaks in after several minutes. I brought two-and-a-half jars home with me and she kept three for herself.

Homemade dandelion salve


Here is the step-by-step version:


  1. Pick dandelion flowers and remove the green part. Let the flowers rest until they are dry before continuing on to the next step, or put them in your dehydrator on a low temperature for a few hours.
  2. Put the yellow flowers in a dry jar and cover with olive oil so that the flowers are completely submerged.
  3. Let your oil and dandelion flowers infuse for several weeks - at least four weeks is a good length of time. Gently shake or swirl the jar once in awhile. 
  4. Strain the oil through a cloth; muslin works well. Squeeze out every last drop of oil. Discard the spent flowers.
  5. Melt beeswax in a double boiler. Add coconut oil if desired (you can use beeswax only if you wish, it will have a stiffer consistency but will still have all those great soothing qualities).
  6. Once melted, remove the beeswax from the stove and slowly add the infused dandelion oil, stirring as you go so it's well-distributed before it cools.
  7. Pour into containers such as 4-ounce canning jars. Let cool, and add the lids.

A step-by-step guide to make soothing dandelion salve.


Massage salve into skin when needed. Dandelion salve soothes achy, tired muscles, chapped skin, and has anti-inflammatory properties that will help ease the pain of sore joints and arthritis.

If it isn't dandelion season but you still need a hand salve, try this salve made with essential oils instead.

How do you feel about dandelions? Do you love 'em or hate 'em? Make this salve and share it with your friends! They'll thank you for it, and they might even share the dandelions in their yards with you too.



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A step-by-step guide to make dandelion salve.

36 comments

  1. I just strained my dandelions a couple of days ago, to make salve!
    Dandelions are my favorite flowers! A beautiful gift from God!
    Blessings!

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  2. This is very interesting Kathi.
    Pinning for later :)

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    1. Thank you for pinning the post, Sandra.

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  3. I too enjoy grubby toddler hands bringing me dandelion flowers. I do eat the leaves in the spring (you get used to the bitter), and I dig the roots in the fall to make a tincture. A dropperful several times a day is a great way to relieve constipation! But I had never thought of making a dandelion flower salve. I love, love the color - so bright and cheery. What a great thing to use during the gray days of winter! We can moisturize and dream of spring. I'll be sharing this on social media - everyone needs to love their weeds!

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    1. It really is so cheerful-looking, Michelle, and very luscious-feeling. Thank you for the suggestions of using leaves and roots, and for sharing the post!

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    2. Michelle would you please share your recipe for the tincture. My daughter in law suffers from severe constipation most of the time and I would love to make this for her. :)

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    3. Erin, you'll find some easy directions for making dandelion tincture here, or you can buy it already prepared (which might be a good idea since it takes 2-3 months to make) here on Amazon.

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  4. Love the post, I really wanted to do this this year, but wouldn't you know! We didn't have enough dandelions!
    Great post, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Jamie, how many people are like us and say "Rats, I don't have very many dandelions this year!" ?

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  5. What a great use of a sometimes pesky plant. The color is gorgeous!

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    1. The color of both the oil and the finished salve are so sunshiny bright and pretty, Daisy.

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  6. I have mixed feelings about dandelions too, Kathi. They do have a lot of great memories attached to them. I've heard of eating dandelion greens, but like your daughter I'm not too keen! I did try a dandelion and burdock drink once but I can't say I loved it. I would much rather use dandelions for this salve. It looks like a wonderful natural remedy. Thank you for sharing the tutorial for how to make it with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop.

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    Replies
    1. I agree, April, I think this is the best way to use dandelions. :-)

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  7. Thanks for sharing another beautiful procedure, pinning and tweeting.

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  8. This is such a neat idea! I really want to try making things with dandelions. Maybe next year. We don't have many right now. Thanks for linking up at #SustainableSundays!

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    1. I've read of people who make dandelion wine and even dandelion jelly. Spring isn't far away, Danielle...

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  9. Now that you've had time to evaluate, did it help with pain?

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    1. It definitely helped with my daughter's painful sunburn. It also softened and hydrated my dry hands and feet. I like it!

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  10. That sounds easy enough. I need to try making it sometime. It would make a unique gift!

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    1. That's what my daughter did with some of her jars, Michelle. She gave dandelion salve to some friends and rose petal jelly to others. :-)

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  11. I am adding this to my list of things to try! We have tons of dandelions so far this year. I made dandelion jelly this weekend and it is delicious! This will definitely be a nice addition to the medicine cabinet

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    1. It really is, Amy. I haven't tried dandelion jelly yet - maybe this year. I'm glad to hear you like it.

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  12. Anonymous12:21 AM

    My husband's hands have always had problems since he was bitten by red ants when he was a child. His hand become red and inflamed with bumps, cracked around the knuckles. Dr's have prescribed several different types of medicated lotions and steroid creams none of them ever worked at clearing up his hands. I made this for him last spring early summer and it has cleared up his hands completely. He swears by it. I'm so happy I found this recipe it's one I will be making from now on. Thank you so much

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad it helped your husband so much! Thank you for writing to let us know!

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  13. I love dandelions too! My hubby hates them, but I think that's because his dad used to make HIM go out and dig the roots out. LOL But anyway, this is a great idea! I've never heard of dandelion salve before. I will have to try it! Thank you!

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    1. I can see why that would make someone hate dandelions, Shannon.

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  14. I never knew it could be made that quickly. Sounds amazing.

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    1. Salve is very simple to make, Christine, and if you use the slow cooker method of infusing the oil, it doesn't take very long.

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  15. That is beautiful, Kathi! I need to try this salve when the dandelions are blooming again!

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  16. Now I am going to make this when our dandelions start blooming. Found you on Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

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  17. Your dandelion salve looks amazing, Kathi!

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  18. I've always been curious about dandelion salve, but have never found a recipe. Thank you! 'Definitely trying this one. I'd like to feature your post this week for Tuesdays with a Twist. I hope you have time to join us again! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

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  19. The benefits of dandelion salve for both my arthritis and psoriasis, as well as bad skin from ulcerative veinous stasis on my foot has been outstanding--I wouldn't believe it had it not been my body. I started making dandelion salve and giving it to my friends. It helps my friend with Lupus pain, my other friend with nerve pain and yet another who needs knee replacement. I do something different, I pick my dandelion flowers and put them in the food dehydrator for 4 to 6 hours. When most of the moisture is gone, I use my seal a meal to pack them for the freezer or make my salve. I love this with shea butter, vitamin e oil, apricot oil, and sweet almond oil. Sweet orange and spearmint or grapefruit essential oils add the perfect, cheery scent to the salve.

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    1. Lynda Jo, I love hearing that it has been so beneficial - I know it's good stuff! I also love the essential oils you've mixed with yours, the fragrance must be lovely.

      Yes, you're right that nowadays herbalists are recommending that plant material be dried before infusing in oils. Moisture is what can cause your final product to go rancid or to mold, so dehydrating or just letting the flowers dry out is excellent.

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