Now that autumn is here again, the stove is warming our evenings and occasionally our days, and I'm enjoying making salves. I'm not at all sure what is the difference between a "balm" and a "salve", if there is a difference at all, but I generally call any sort of oil and beeswax body balm a "salve". This past week I made one of olive oil steeped in calendula, rose-hips, lavender, St. John's wort, and green-tea. The herbs sit in the oil for a few days (5 in this case), allowing their healing properties to infuse before they are strained out and the oil is heated slowly, which is why I like using the wood-stove, and beeswax shavings are added. Everything melts together and then cools to make a soft, soothing salve to rub on tired, dry skin. Done right, it isn't too oily or too waxy and hard to spread, and if it does come out wrong, remelting with a bit more wax, or a drop more oil, will generally fix the problem.
Luba loves salves, she trys to lick them off as quickly we put them on. Yarrow loves her baby-bottom balm, which is just calendula, olive oil, and beeswax, and which we use as an all in one bottom-soother, a body lotion, and as a baby massage oil. My husband needs them in winter to combat the drying, cracking cold of working in the ice and wind, and I love using them after throwing, or to encourage my belly back to pre-baby proportions. Hopefull they'll make fantastic Christmas gifts as well!