How to Make Jewelweed Salve

Quitch jewelweed salve
Our Quitch jewelweed salve includes jewelweed and plantain herbs for quick, natural itch relief.

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is an herb native to North America that has been used for many, many years as a natural remedy for poison ivy and poison oak.

We include jewelweed and plantain in our Quitch itch relief salve and it is one of the best natural treatments we’ve found.

It can be very effective for poison ivy and also helps with mosquito bites, chigger bites, and other insect bites and skin irritation.

Jewelweed and other impatiens have high levels of certain naphthoquinones that can be effective anti-inflammatories and in treating contact dermatitis.

How to Make Jewelweed Salve

Impatiens capensis - jewelweed
Jewelweed’s orange flowers are very distinctive when it blooms in summer or fall.

Learning how to make jewelweed salve is easy and the hardest part is often finding fresh jewelweed.

Jewelweed likes wet, moist soil conditions and can often be found growing on the banks of creeks or streams.

You might know jewelweed by the name “Touch-me-nots”. It develops a pod with projectile seeds that shoot out and explode when touched or brushed against.

Jewelweed plants can grow up to five feet tall and they tend to grow in clumps.

Their distinctive three-lobed orange flowers emerge in summer or fall and make spotting jewelweed much easier.

You’ll need to find fresh plants for your jewelweed salve as the natural oils in the leaves and stems are what you’re after.

Jewelweed has very shallow roots and can easily be uprooted and collected with just a gentle tug.

You’ll also need the most common type of jewelweed — Impatiens capensis — with its distinctive orange flowers and not yellow jewelweed, as orange jewelweed is more effective in treating poison ivy and other skin irritations.

A little jewelweed salve goes a long way, so you’ll only need to gather up a few plants — enough to leave you with a cup or two of jewelweed plant after you later rough chop the stems and leaves.

What You’ll Need to Make Jewelweed Salve

Once you have your jewelweed, you’ll need the following items to make jewelweed salve:

  • Fresh, chopped jewelweed (we use stems, leaves, and flowers when it is flowering)
  • 3.5 oz. of olive oil (you can also use other common carrier oils such as rice bran oil, almond oil, etc.)
  • 2.6 oz. of coconut oil
  • 2.6 oz. of shea butter
  • 0.8 oz. of cocoa butter
  • 1.0 oz. of beeswax
  • 0.4 oz. of essential oils or fragrance oils
  • Small pot
  • Metal can or large Mason jar (this will get waxy so don’t use anything you’re attached to)
  • Strainer and cheesecloth
  • Containers to put your finished salve in

Making Jewelweed Salve

The first step is to extract the oil from the jewelweed, which we’ll do by steeping it on low heat in your can/jar along with the olive oil or carrier oil. You can also solar infuse your jewelweed or any other herbs that you’d like to include in a salve.

Including plant material directly into a salve isn’t a good idea, as it can create mold and cause your salve to go rancid so you’ll always want to infuse it first.

When infusing with fresh herbs, it’s recommended to fill your jar about half full with fresh herb then cover with your carrier oil, which for this recipe is olive oil. We recommend using at least 5-6 oz. of olive oil when infusing; you’ll only use 3.5 oz. for this recipe but having extra on hand is nice and you lose a little oil later when straining off the jewelweed plant material.

Add a few inches of water to your pot and put it over very low heat on your stove. Put your can/jar with jewelweed and olive oil in the pot.

Let that steep for at least a few hours on very low heat, adding a little more water when necessary. Don’t boil the water, as you want just enough heat so that the can or jar is very warm to the touch. Several hours of steeping should be sufficient but some people steep for 24 hours.

When infusing fresh herbs, you want to strain off the plant material within 24 hours, as the residual water and other material can cause your infused oil to go rancid or mold.

Once it has steeped, strain off all the plant material with a strainer and cheesecloth and discard the plant material so that you’re left with just the infused olive oil. It should be a dark green to orangeish color after absorbing the jewelweed oil. Set aside the infused oil.

Wipe out your can or jar and place it back in your pot, making sure it once again has a few inches of water in the bottom.

Add your coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, and beeswax to your can or jar and heat on low heat until both are completely melted and liquid. The beeswax has the highest melting point at around 170F and will be the last ingredient to melt; turn up your heat slightly if necessary to melt the beeswax.

Poison ivy cream
We hand whip every batch of Quitch before packaging it to give it a light, creamy texture that’s easy to apply and absorbs quickly.

Once those ingredients are liquid, remove from heat and let it cool for a bit. Add your infused olive oil and and stir. You can then add essential oils if you’d like, with lavender oil, peppermint oil, and rosemary oil popular options.

Once your mixture is completely melted, liquid, and well-stirred, it’s time to pour into your containers and call it a day. Any tin or jar will work for keeping your salve in

Congratulations, you just made jewelweed salve!

You can easily scale this recipe up or down to make more or less salve. This basic recipe will make fill 2-3 small jars of salve, depending on the size of container that you’re using.

If this sounds like far too much work or you can’t find fresh jewelweed, we’d love to sell you a jar of our Quitch jewelweed salve!

34 thoughts on “How to Make Jewelweed Salve

  1. Samona says:

    Do you have to wait until Jewelweed blooms to harvest it for this salve? Then do you add the flowers when infusing?

    • Jenna Hartman says:

      Yes, harvest when in bloom because it’s most potent. Yes, use whole plant. You can cut them and leave roots for next year and avoid the yellow Jewelweed because it has little or no potency. You should only harvest orange Jewelweed.

        • Seth says:

          I’ve always heard that they are similar as far as herbal properties but the orange jewelweed is more common and has been used more often medicinally over the years, so it’s generally recommended to use orange jewelweed in salves, etc.

    • Seth says:

      Infusing the jewelweed in oil for a relatively short time should keep any water in the plant out of your final product. Water is what might turn it rancid and/or create mold, so if you avoid incorporating any water the salve should last for at least a year — basically the shelf life of other ingredients used such as olive oil, coconut oil, etc.

    • Jenna Hartman says:

      You’ll know when it smells bad and changes in color and/or consistency. It can go bad easily unless you make salve or soap but eventually it does go bad as all things do. About a year is what you have even if it doesn’t spoil because it will lose potency. Use harvest time and your senses to judge.

    • Seth says:

      We don’t do anything special to store ours and leave at room temperature. If the jewelweed is infused correctly and no water creeps into the recipe, it should last for at least a year — likely longer.

  2. Suzi says:

    How many drops total of essential oils do you add? I plan on adding Lavender and Melrose (a blend of Rosemary, Melaleuca Alternifolia, Clove and Niaouli – good for broken skin, cuts, scrapes, burns, rashes, or infection.) and was wondering how many drops of each I needed to add. Thanks!

    • Seth says:

      It’s good to keep your essentials oils at about 2% to 5% of the total weight of whatever you’re making, as they are concentrated and people react differently to different oils, etc.

      That’d be the weight of all the essential oils you use added together, not each individual oil used at 2% to 5%.

      It’s hard with small batches to weigh out essential oils, as it may be very small amounts. For many of our hand creams and salves that we use essential oils in, we add about 0.1 ounces of each oil — which works out to about 80 drops — to a 30 ounce batch.

      So that’d be about 10 drops of each oil for a smaller 3-4 ounce batch. It does take a little experimenting, though, as each oil is different and some can be overpowering as far as scent so it takes a little fiddling sometimes to find what you like.

  3. Katie G says:

    If I wanted to add plantain to this recipe would I do one cup of jewelweed and one of plantain? Or would that decrease its effectiveness? Thanks.

  4. Sandii says:

    We’ve used fresh plantain mashed up to relieve bug bites & bee stings – works way better than Benadryl cream or spray! Only this weekend did I stumble across jewelweed article, then dear hubby tells me it’s great stuff (why didn’t he tell me this years ago?!) Found your wonderful recipe and made my first batch with both jewelweed & plantain this weekend. Can’t wait to try it out! Thank you!

    • Laura says:

      I know it’s been a while since your comment, but how do you add the plantain? Do you infuse it along with the jewelweed?

      • Seth says:

        The plantain can be infused along with the jewelweed. Typically we do ours separately, as we make other salves that call for just infused plantain oil but it’s fine to infuse herbs together as the basic process is the same.

  5. Melody says:

    Why is my jewel weed oil separating from the coconut oil and beeswax after pouring? And can I fix this problem

    • Seth says:

      We’ve never had any of the ingredients in this salve separate so I’m not sure what to suggest. I’d recommend giving it another whirl, checking all ingredients carefully and making sure that nothing is left out.

  6. Dayna Lovell says:

    So thankful for this information and how-to. I’m up to my ears in jewelweed. It used to grow only along a swampy area on the edge of our property. It;s been a wet year, so we have it everywhere! Sorry I didn’t do my research earlier as I have pulled, bagged, and tossed a lot of it. There is still so much. I will be making salve. Thanks, everyone.

  7. Sherry says:

    Someone told me about Jewelweed and Chamomile. Would that be a good combination for poison ivy and/or bug bites & bee stings?

    • Seth says:

      I haven’t heard of chamomile being used for bites and stings but it is a good anti-inflammatory and would likely be a good choice. A lot of the fun in making your own salves is experimenting and seeing if you like the results so I’d say go for it.

  8. Sherry says:

    P.S. and would you do one cup of each, or would that reduce the effectiveness of the Jewelweed on poison ivy?

  9. Rita McCartt-Kordon says:

    Came upon your site & your great recipe just today! (August 7, 2017! I’m excited to try this recipe with the plantain added. I was trying to find out which parts of the Jewelweed to use. Could you extract the oils by heating the carrier oil, pouring over the plant materials and letting this sit for several days to a week or so? Just wondered.

    • Seth says:

      We’ve got details in the recipe about our recommended way of infusing the jewelweed, which is the method that’s worked best for us.

    • Seth says:

      Natural preservatives such as vitamin E oil and some essential oils can definitely help extend shelf life but they’re not true preservatives. For this recipe, the biggest issue with rancidity and mold is working with the fresh jewelweed, which can be tricky to infuse and strain off quickly.

  10. Kristy says:

    How much does this recipe make? Also, if you use fractions coconut oil instead of regular, I assume consistency will be dramatically different?

    • Seth says:

      We’ve just updated this recipe and this one makes 2-3 small jars of salve depending on the size of container used. Using fractionated coconut oil would give you a very different consistency, yes.

  11. Corrine says:

    How long would you do a solar infusion instead of stovetop method? Would you recommend drying a bit to remove some moisture or should covering completely with carrier oil and infusing for 30 days then straining be okay? Thank you, I’ve always been hesitant to use jewelweed in salves because it seems (to me) delicate and like it wants to be used fresh.

    • Seth says:

      Jewelweed is different than most herbs as its oily nature makes drying and using it later very difficult. We always use fresh jewelweed and I wouldn’t solar infuse for more than 24 hours, as infusing for longer than that with fresh, oily herbs can lead to mold and rancidity.

      Dried herbs such as dried plantain or calendula are totally different, as we’ve infused them for months with no issues as far as mold or rancidity. We’ve tried drying jewelweed first in a dehydrator but never had much success so we go with a very short infusion time for it and only use fresh jewelweed.

    • Seth says:

      We’ve just updated this guide with a slightly modified recipe that now lists all ingredients by ounces, so hopefully that’l help.

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