How To Make An Effective Herbal Anti-Itch Salve

How To Make An Effective Herbal Anti-Itch Salve | Growing Up Herbal | Preventing bug bites is key, but what do you do to stop the itch if you or your kid does end up with them? Try this effective herbal anti-itch salve next time and see what you think!

What happens when you forget your essential oil bug repellant and you find yourself smacking, swatting, and scratching at the bugs around you? What do you do when your kid comes to you with red, painful and itchy spots that are making them whiny?

You run for your herbal first aid kit and grab your tin of herbal anti-itch salve, that’s what!

What? What was that you said? You don’t have an herbal anti-itch salve in your first aid kit?!

Mama! We must correct this oversight!

Today, I’m sharing my herbal anti-itch salve recipe with you (as well as the story of how it came to be) so that the next time you find yourself swarmed with bugs and end up with red, itchy spots all over, you will have a little bit of nature’s goodness to bring soothing relief to your hot, swollen skin.

That Time You Realize There’s Another Herbal Remedy You’ve Yet To Make… And Desperately Need At The Moment

I found myself in another state, on vacation, without an herbal first aid kit. And I call myself an herbalist! (Note to self: Travel first aid kit… ASAP!)

We were vacationing with friends. Dusk was coming upon us. The men were preparing the campfire. The kids were chasing the chickens and playing on the rope swing. The women were preparing the food. The bugs… they were watching… slowly creeping in… planning their attack.

At first I didn’t really notice them. I felt a flutter so I swatted it away. Then I felt an itch so I scratched it. After a while I realized that I was swatting, itching, and scratching more than I realized.

You see, bugs don’t normally bother me. I’m not sure if it’s me (maybe I taste bad) or if it’s Tennessee (maybe Tennessee bugs don’t bite Tennesseans). No matter, I still take precautions if I’m going to be outside in the evening by having some sort of homemade bug spray with me. I usually only use a small amount on myself and more on the kids (because for some reason kids can’t deal with itching… it makes them even more whiney than they normally are). But this time it was different. Perhaps it was because I was an outsider invading these Pennsylvania bug’s territory. Maybe they don’t like southerners. Maybe I taste better to them. Who knows! All I know is that I, and the kids, were fair game that night. My husband, not so much. He must taste bad all the time! 😉

Once I realized I was getting bit, my friend offered me some bug spray… you know, the kind with DEET. I politely declined. I just figured I’d tough it out and deal with it. Maybe I’d sit in the path of the campfire’s smoke. That tends to keep bugs away too you know. Unfortunately that didn’t work. 

I complained to my husband, and he mentioned that he’d brought one of our boys adventure packs. These packs are for family outings and adventures. They have all sorts of survival and safety gear as well as some first aid supplies in them. I remembered putting in some essential oil bug repelling oil into one of the packs so I asked my man to grab the pack, and I prayed that it was the one with the bug oil.

Score! It was. I doused myself and the kids with the oil. We smelled like smoke with hints of mint and cinnamon. My friends husband even gave it a try to see how it worked, and work it did. We were pretty much left alone for the rest of the night. I felt no more bites or itches for the remainder of our time at the cookout.

Unfortunately the next day I saw the results of the bug war. My kids and I have several large, red, itchy spots on our arms and legs. I could refrain from itching (and whining), but the kids couldn’t and there wasn’t much I could do. We weren’t going to take Benedryl for bug bites… that’s for sure. It wasn’t THAT bad. I mean, there has to be an allergic reaction… you know, swelling, difficulty breathing, turning blue… that sort of thing before we opt for Benadryl. 

Anyway, this is when I realized I needed something more than just a preventative like bug repellant. I needed something to soothe the itch if we did get bit. I needed an herbal anti-itch salve.

Formulating An Effective Herbal Anti-Itch Salve

How To Make An Effective Herbal Anti-Itch Salve | Growing Up Herbal | Preventing bug bites is key, but what do you do to stop the itch if you or your kid does end up with them? Try this effective herbal anti-itch salve next time and see what you think!

You can believe as soon as I got home I started planning for this salve. I wrote down the different things I wanted my salve to do.

  • Decrease itching, pain, and inflammation
  • Speed healing time
  • Discourage infection
  • Cool the skin

I started by checking out the Herbal Academy of New England’s membership site – The Herbarium – to search for “anti-itch” herbs since that was the main property I wanted my salve to have. I came across several herbs that were used for this purpose and checked them out further. Almost all of them also did the other things I wanted too. They all had cooling, drying energetics. They decreased inflammation and tightened the skin. They had anti-microbial properties. They were shown to reduce pain and promote wound healing. Plus, I had them in my apothecary. I was set.

How To Make An Effective Herbal Anti-Itch Salve | Growing Up Herbal | Preventing bug bites is key, but what do you do to stop the itch if you or your kid does end up with them? Try this effective herbal anti-itch salve next time and see what you think!

I also decided to add in some peppermint essential oil to my salve because it helps to further cool hot skin, and I wanted my salve to smell good too!

So that’s it… that’s how I came to make this salve. Now that we’re back in Tennessee we may never need it. Like I said earlier, the bugs here don’t care for us too much, but none-the-less, I’ll be prepared if I do need it. I’m sure I can use this for other itch skin issues as well. I’m not sure it would work well for poison ivy rashes (I have other favorite remedies – like this one and this one – for that), but I’m sure it would work for chicken pox or measles spots (if we ever get them that is).

“Scratch No More” Salve

Makes 1 – 1 oz. tin. Feel free to double or triple if desired.

How To Make An Effective Herbal Anti-Itch Salve | Growing Up Herbal | Preventing bug bites is key, but what do you do to stop the itch if you or your kid does end up with them? Try this effective herbal anti-itch salve next time and see what you think!


How To Make An Effective Herbal Anti-Itch Salve | Growing Up Herbal | Preventing bug bites is key, but what do you do to stop the itch if you or your kid does end up with them? Try this effective herbal anti-itch salve next time and see what you think!


  1. Infuse herbs into oil for 1 hour. (CLICK HERE for directions on how to do it.)
  2. Strain and compost herbs.
  3. Measure and melt beeswax in a clean pan. Once wax is melted, turn heat off and add herbal oil to wax. Mix well.
  4. Pour into a 1 oz. tin and add essential oils. (You can also add EOs to oil in pan and then pour salve into chapstick tubes.)

To Use:

Rub onto itchy spots as often as necessary.

Herbal Ointments, Salves, and Balms: The Ultimate How-To Guide | Growing Up Herbal

Want even more herbal salve recipes? Check out my e-book, Herbal Ointments, Salves & Balms: The Ultimate How-To Guide! Not only will it tell you which of these products to use and why, but it will walk you through the steps of making them yourself! Plus, you’ll learn how to source quality ingredients, how to keep your creations shelf-stable, and how to add “advanced” ingredients into them. Oh… and you’ll get 5 exclusive recipes to help you get started making your own herbal ointments, salves, and balms right away! Learn more about it here!

Be sure to share this remedy on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. Beside to tag @growingupherbal so we can keep in touch!
Do you have a great anti-itch remedy up your sleeve? If so, I’d LOVE to hear about it in the comment section below! I love getting to know you mama!
  1. Jill York@JillsHomeRemedies says:

    I have all these herbs! Will have to try this!

  2. Monica says:

    Ha in Pennsylvania.. I could have told you, the bugs were nasty here.. Lemon grass, lavender,cinnamon, and eucalyptus oils combine with a carrier oil like almond..everyday I don’t go out of this house without it..if the bugs won’t leave me alone.. The four thieves vinegar goes on when I mow the lawn… Bugs do not like vinegar smell… Especially the four thieves, I don’t go without it. It is in my first aid kit..
    Now if I miss a spot, and got bit always have rubbing alcohol with you it will cut the itch.. Bentonite clay is also put on to draw out the poison the bugs put in..or our plantain salve.. I heard West Nile virus is near Pittisburgh…flush out, in case in contact with the virus..

  3. Wendy C says:

    Hello Meagan, I’d love to try this balm recipe on my 3-year-old. I’m not comfortable using peppermint essential oil on my LO. Do you recommend infusing dried peppermint along with the other herbs in the olive oil? And if so, how much? Thank you.

    • Meagan says:

      You definitely can Wendy, but I don’t think it will give you the cooling effects that the peppermint EO will. Some oils are extracted into oil when you infuse it, but not enough to give you the effects the EO will. You could try tea tree oil instead of peppermint. It’s for younger children. You could probably also use spearmint or even fir needle. Those are safe for younger children too. Hope that helps Wendy, and always keep in mind that you don’t HAVE to use EOs at all. They just give things an extra boost in my opinion!

  4. victoria says:

    Hi Meagan,

    I recently came across your site looking for anti-itch remedies from mozzy bites and tick bites for my dogs, as well as natural remedies for prevention. Your site is great in that it is very informative and chalk full of great information. In regards to the above recipe for the anti-itch salve, is it possible to forgo the wax and simply use as a spray? Cheers!

    • Meagan says:

      Glad you’re finding lots of good info here Victoria. Yes, you could definitely skip the salve, and infuse the herbs into the oil alone. I’m not sure it would spray very well though. You could put it into a pump bottle and put it on your dogs that way though. Be sure to double check to see if peppermint EO is safe for dogs of course. I don’t know much about EOs for animals. Thanks for you comment!

  5. Janice says:

    Do you have a remedy for poison ivy?

  6. Laurene says:

    I love this. I have an itch of a different sort. I am just getting into herbal formulas so this will give me the boost I really need

  7. TIARNIE says:

    Hey Megan,
    My daughter thrives in the outdoors. Summer is her missed best friend while the other seasons pass by. She is constantly itching her mozzie bites when i get her back from her dads.
    Ive always used tiger balm to sooth the itch. It woks a treat. However I’ve just recently become interested in. Natural remedies and have tried your recipe. It’s fantastic, to say the least.
    I was hoping that you would let me add your recipe to my upcoming blog. Because I’m new to blogging and am fumbling my way through I’m not sure of the ins and outs of using bits like this.
    Thanks for sharing this get recipe with us

    • Meagan Visser says:

      You are more than welcome to mention making my recipe and how it worked for you. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t share the full recipe, but instead linked to my post and directed readers there for the recipe. Thanks, and definitely share your post when it’s ready. I’d love to check your blog out!

  8. Anonymous says:


  9. AIMÉE says:

    You can also just smash up some plantain weed leaves and smear it on (if you want to be fancy you can make it into a salve, but it’s not necessary in an emergency) and it works amazingly well. It’s very common in Pennsylvania where I was just camping, and I used it several times on myself and camp mates to great effect.

  10. Anonymous says:


  11. Kwan says:

    Holiday Greetings Meagan, from San Francisco,
    I just came back from a visit with my Brother and wife in Big Pine Key, one of the main islands, in Key West Florida.
    Had my first REAL experience with no-see-um bites… and the itching! Epic mess.

    Mainly here, I wanted to take my hats off to you, and your history as a Mother of 4 ?, (and other Moms of 4 children), incredibly under-rated, and massive career choice, so THANK YOU for following that passionate choice.

    Bottom line here, I’m not able to make my own herbal salve, so my hunt begins now, to Wholefoods, and other Naturopathic stores to find the best STOP THE ITCHING salves available to me here locally. Any suggestions you have are MOST welcome, and if not, I understand = albeit I know you make your own. Seriously a Time for me to get into your website and put together a Travel First Aid Kit by YOU.

    May this Christmas be as ‘Special’… as what it is really all about, for you and yours. I’m also a believer in what Christ has done for us.
    Take good care,
    Kwan (originally from Hawaii)

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Hi, Kwan. Thanks for all your kind words, and I’m sorry you’re dealing with itchy bites. My best suggestion for relief from a store-bought salve would be to look for something with herbs or essential oils that help minimize swelling and inflammation and perhaps something cooling with mint or menthol in it as that can help with itching as well. Best of luck!

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