Credit: Steven Depolo (cc)

Salves aren't as popular as fragrant lotions in the current age, but they hold an esteemed place in the cupboards of any greenie worth their salt. Prepared with the right essential oils, a “super salve” topical herbal medicine medium can be made with the most basic of kitchen tools that will cure most anything that ails.

Unlike herbal infusions that are set aside for weeks to mature, the use of pre-distilled essential oils gives you all the anti-microbial power you need to power a healing salve recipe slated for  DIY greatness.

Lavender Oil
Lavender essential oil tops most ingredient lists for several reasons. In addition to being lovely to smell, it's a formidable germ-fighter, an edible (in small amounts of natural food-grade form) flavor enhancer, a soother of burns that works instantly, and a potential preservative. The benefits go on from there. Lavender's touch abates  stings and insect bites and acts as a disinfectant of the skin (even the skin on your crown). It also aids circulation and the respiratory system. It's typically steam-distilled, so no worries about alcohol touching your batch of purple goodness.
On the side of fragrance only, however, you may care more that it blends splendidly with cedarwood, pine (the combo is heavenly), and geranium.

Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil has a quite a few handsome qualities to offer a super salve. The fact that it's a vermifuge is one of them. Creams with eucalyptus as a sole or main ingredient have done wonders eradicating parasitic nuisance (coupled with camphor, it is nearly formidable). Eucalyptus is also an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and decongestant. It's active property, Eucalyptol, is fairly well-used in cold creams, and vapor rubs used to clear the lungs. It's additionally effective on insect stings and bites due to its antiseptic properties.

Utilize it in a healing salve recipe that you need to tackle any of the above or in a formula destined to act as a muscle rub or mental stimulant (eucalyptus is an excellent aromatherapy tool for students). Another underknown fact is eucalyptus' action against most dental infections of teeth or gums. It will also control the blood sugar taken in small doses internally and control fevers. It mixes quite well with lavender oil.

Teatree Oil
Melaleuca Alternifolia is a potent aboriginal gift. Known most commonly as Teatree oil, it kicks down the door on anti-microbial levels, and, while it's an acquired scent for some, nothing spells clean like air that's been touched by its pristine fragrance. Primarily an antifungal and antispetic, teatree is meant for external use only. It's added to some mouthwashes, but caution should be exercised when using anything with teatree that could accidentally be swallowed. It's definitely not an advisable mouthwash for children.

Aboriginals drank a tea made of the leaves its derived from, but teatree in the form of an essential oil is an extremely intense version from the distillation of its leaf. It's so strong it was used as a germicide in the American colonies during wartimes to combat infection (how's that for a super salve ingredient?). It's terpinene-4 content is thought to be the source of its formidable healing qualities: a .5 percent concentration of the oil combats superbugs without creating the drug-resistance man-made drugs have brought to the table. Use it in cleaners, in shampoos to combat dandruff (or... critters), and of course, use it in your healing salve recipe. It's a keeper.

Lemon Oil
Lemon oil is a fantastic addition to a healing salve recipe base that adds a very pleasant springtime-clean scent as well as anti-microbial properties that are quite formidable. Use it in a base requiring a refreshing scent that uplifts and stimulates. It's also anti-microbial, and like lavender oil, it's a stress reliever. Students would do well working with it to enhance their concentration and focus during study and test-taking. Ironically, it's also an aid for insomnia. You can call upon it to build the immune system and fight fever (it's been used to combat typhoid and malaria). Additionally, it will clarify the scalp when added to shampoos and add shine to the hair, act as an astringent for the skin (it should be heavily diluted – avoid applying to skin in a raw form at essential oil concentration), aid weightloss and digestion, and some say it will even treat asthma.