looking for salve recipe

annbeck62 Posts: 994 ✭✭✭✭

I was looking at a pine resin online and one of the reviews said they used it in what they call Pioneer Salve. Native Americans gave the recipe to a relative over 100 years ago and it's been in their family ever since. There is not a way to contact the reviewer so I did some research to see if I could come up with a recipe/list of ingredients but found nothing. All I know is it contains pine resin and it is only one of other healing ingredients. I was wondering if anyone has any ideas what might be in this salve. Long shot I know, but thought I'd ask :)


  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,500 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here's a simple pine resin salve recipe. I imagine they used tallow instead of olive oil, and probably didn't use any other herbs in it.

    How To Make Pine Resin Salve – Herbal Academy (theherbalacademy.com)

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin
    edited June 28

    There is this salve that sounds very much like what pioneers would have used. It calls for rosin which is sometimes used as another word for pine pitch, although rosin is actually a by-product of making turpentine. The correct word would be resin. I doubt this recipe comes from Native American uses, though, as it also calls for camphor which wouldn't have been available to indigenous North Americans.

    I found this one on Etsy but again, it contains ingredients (Frankincense) that may have been available to pioneers but not natives.

    It would really depend on which nation the recipe had originally come from as to what else they might have put in a combination. What would have been used by one nation may not have been readily available to another. From my experience (through speaking with elders and ethnobotanists), there would likely be very few other ingredients added. Maybe one or two additional ingredients, depending on the final use.

    Beeswax may not have been as readily available to some nations. A solid fat like lard was most likely the "oil" used.

    I think I found the site that you were looking at. Diamond brand pine rosin. Because of the confusion between pine rosin and pine resin, I wouldn't buy this product. It doesn't look like the natural pine resin that I harvest; it looks like it has been somewhat purified. This is what I harvested recently. Yes, it has bits of bark and needles (and maybe bugs) but all that filters out when you process and strain the oil.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 994 ✭✭✭✭

    @Torey thanks for all the tips and the picture so I know what to look for.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,019 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Love the recipes, and your picture @Torey. I have some spruce resin which looks very similar to yours. Just have to decide how I want to use it.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @vickeym Spruce is the most "anti" of all the pitch resins. Antibacterial against many types of bacteria (including MRSA). Anti-fungal against most species of human fungal infections. Antiviral.

    I've always made a salve with pitch but this year I am going to try to tincture some of it. I think the drippier stuff that hasn't dried and hardened as much would be better for this purpose.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    Beverly Gray, author of "The Boreal Herbal", has a good post on tree medicine. It includes a recipe for "Winter Salve" using any variety of pitch you have available. I strain mine instead of "picking out the black globs" but other than that it is pretty much the same as what I do. I've never added usnea before. Its something to try.

    She's included another recipe using rubbing alcohol to tincture both needles and pitch to make a liniment. That will definitely be on my list of things to try. I might make it with pine pitch, though, just because of the good results we've had with pine bark extract for pain relief.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,019 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 9

    @ToreyI have the book the Boreal Herbal. Very interesting book. Guess I need to go look at it again.

    I looked up the book they mentioned on the site for the "Mac's 100% Natural "OLD 180" Salve"

    It is a very interesting book. Covers so many topics and some stuff could still be useful. Though some ingredients might be harder to source now days.

    The book is called

    Dr. Chase's recipes, or, Information for everybody

    and there is a link to it here:


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    Just realized that I didn't leave a link to Beverly's article on trees along with the recipes.

    Thanks @vickeym for posting the link for Dr. Chase's Recipes. Some of the salve and liniment recipes are reminiscent of a wound oil that was used by an old vet I knew many years ago (he was old when I was a teenager). I never got his recipe but I know it contained turpentine. I might try to make something similar with turpentine to see if I can replicate what my mind can remember of the smell and consistency.

    I'm sure @judsoncarroll4 would be very interested in some of the recipes and techniques in this volume.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,837 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Mountain Rose Herb has a lot of recipes and some are different salves.