EE 16 | Making Salves


Salves are a time-tested way of providing relief for aches and pains. Tony Frischknecht is joined by Nick Gay, head of Product Management at Essential Extractions, as they sit down and discuss the step-by-step process of making salves. Nick discusses several differences between commercially available salves and their effectiveness. Tony and Nick talk about how salves work and their content. Finally, Nick shows us a salve-making technique and teaches its finer points. 

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Learn How To Make Salves With Nick Gay 

I am bringing you another great episode of formulations. This is fun stuff. I want to thank you for reading the show, whether you’re exercising, you’re walking, you’re working, whatever you’re doing. Thanks so much for taking a few minutes out of your day and spending it with us. We appreciate that. I have Nick Gay, Head of Product Management. He is on the show with me because we’re going to talk about salves. What’s a salve? What do they do? Why do people use them? They’re very popular in the wellness world. We hear a lot about that. Nick, thanks so much for being on the show. How are you doing? 

I’m doing great. Thanks for having me, Tony.  

Can you explain to the folks out there what a salve is?  

It’s a mixture of different waxes, creams, oils and things like that, as well as different botanicals to help with different ailments. For example, this specific salve made is to target pain, topically. Whereas there’s other that are for cuts, scrapes, burns, hives, eczema, anything like that. It’s very wellknown and used very often in the homeopathic and wellness industries.  

There are a lot of people that have purchased CBD products out there, use them and they say, “It’s not working for me. I know Amazon sells a bunch. We’re starting to see them pop up in the different natural grocery stores, the wellness centers and stuff. Do you know why that happens a lot? What are some of the reasons why people don’t feel anything or they say they don’t work?  

It’s as with everything in life, there are different qualities of things. Also, there’s a gap in knowledge and understanding as well. A lot of product suppliers will say, “We have 100 milligrams of CBD oil in our product. What that means is that there is gram of CBD oil in their product but how strong is that? What is the CBD percentage on that? It could be 20% or it could be 100%That’s a big difference. There’s the difference between using CBD isolate, which is pure CBD compound itself and that’s it. There’s full spectrum CBS, which has many different cannabinoids, including a small amount of THCV and certain things like that. That’s why a lot of products don’t work for certain people. Also, it’s about all the different things that you add in there. It’s not just the CBD that’s helping you out. It’s different herbs, essential oils and stuff like that.  

Is the CBD more the active ingredient of the entire recipe?  


Everything else around it, we see it a lot. Everything else that’s added to the solution itself is to help with those pain areas like knees, back, neck, stuff like that. What you’re telling me is that those guys out there selling a lot of this product, the percentages are so low that they can say that there’s CBD in there. Are there a lot of salves out there that claim to be CBD that have no CBD in them?  

There’s probably some but I would say more than often, it’s misleading. Saying they have 100 milligrams of CBD oil. For example, if you have 1 gram of butter, that doesn’t tell you how much fat is in there. It’s misleading. That’s what it is. It’s taking advantage of people’s lack of knowledge about this new product, which is a bummer, honestly.  

EE 16 | Making Salves

Making Salves: A salve is a mixture of different waxes, creams, oils, and different botanicals to help with different ailments.


It probably happens in all new markets when products come out. People are looking to save a few bucks by only doing the bare minimum. They know it’s hot. People are going to buy it if it says Echinacea. There was a time when Echinacea was all the rave. My parents were like“We got to take Echinacea.” People would buy up a bottle because it has Echinacea on it. It’s a little bit about the salve. There are so much more we can talk about. Nick Gay is creating product for us. We will have this listed on our website. You can go there and grab it. This product and these extracted oils that he’s takingthere are from our little buddy, CO2 extraction machine. If you are extracting, I’m sure you can take and tweak the recipe. We want to let you know what we’re able to do here and what we can control. Nick, let’s go ahead and start.  

I picked a recipe that all the things are easy to get. You can either get them from the Whole Foods or anything like that. The moon’s the limit. You can add whatever else. I picked very easy things to get and a pretty minimal recipe. It’s easy to get all these things in and do this yourself at home. I have a little heating device where I’m putting these jars of waxes and things like that over there. I’m taking these jars a little bit. That’s what I’m doing. Pictured here is the melted beeswax. Right over here, this jar that I’m grabbing here is the coconut oil, Shea butter, olive oil and cocoa butter. I’m combining these two hereI’m going to be mixing it together. I’m going to be putting it back onto the heat plate so that wax stays warm.  

You’re keeping everything at a constant temperature. 

I’m stirring it all together, making sure everything’s nice and blended. I’m going to put that back over on the heater there and then move to some of the other additives. What I’ve got sitting is the CBD oil, which I have diluted down and MCT oil. The reason I did that is because it’s a pretty sticky product. It’s pretty hard to get out of small jars or any jar, to be honest. I put a little bit of MCT oilI heated it up a little bit, shook it up. That way it’s all in solution. It’s super easy to pour it out of that vial 

You already have that premeasured 

YesIt’s 0.3 grams. We ran some hemp previously through the little buddy system. I use 0.3 grams of that for this specific recipe. What I came up with is that it’s going to be roughly about 133 milligrams of CBD in this product here.  

What percentage of CBD is in that oil?  

I didn’t get it lab tested or anything. The typical range on the lowend would be more 40% and on the highend would be 65%. I did my calculation that has the median of those two.  

We haven’t had it tested by a third party. However, if you were to get exact, those are the ranges you think it would fall into, is that right?  

Yes, if you get extracted.  

You pulled the CBD from the hemp itself, so you know where exactly that came from.  

I even know the grower of the hemp as well.  

The CBD percentage in any salve makes for a big difference. That’s why a lot of products don’t work for certain people. Click To Tweet

Let’s go to the next part.  

This little vial here is some peppermint essential oil that I extracted in the little buddy that we’re going to be using this mixture as well. In this little pipette back here is the CO2 extracted lavender that we’re going to be using that we extracted in the little buddy machine. I’m going to be grabbing the oil that was heating this whole time I’ve been talking. We’re going to add the CBD oil. Most of it comes out. The other thing is you want to make sure that you’re stirring as you’re pouring each of these ingredients in. That way it’s getting homogenized in there well. You’ll see that there are still some remnants left in that vialWhat I’m going to do is take some of the wax mixture and squirt that back into the vial, shake it up. That way I’m getting everything out of there. The CBD oil is pretty expensive stuff.  

It’s like taking your pasta sauce, putting a little water in and shaking up your bottle to dump it back in your stove, your pot.  

I’m adding that little bit of wax into the vial. I’m going to be shaking it up. We’re going to be pouring that back in. The reason I’m adding these things in this order is you want to make sure that your essential oils go in last because they get damaged by heat.  

What damage is caused by the heat?  

It loses a lot of its smell because there are a lot of volatile compounds, terpenes and things like that boil at a much lower temperature. Some of them boil at room temperature. The process that we do with the little buddy, we use little to no heat in the entire process, which is very different than steam distilled essential oil. The steam is passing through the botanicals and destroying some of those volatiles. We’re going to do a deep dive on comparing CO2 and steam distilled essential oils on a future episodeWatch out for that.  

What do we get next?  

I have this little blunt tip syringe. I’m squirting that peppermint essential oil in there. I had already put the lavender essential oil in there. I’m going to be stirring it up, making sure it’s all mixed together well and then put it back on the heat. In a minute here, I’m going to pull out the jar. There’s some beeswax that’s hardened around on the inside of the jar. What I’m going to be doing is scraping that off, mixing it back in and heating it. The function of the beeswax is to harden the mixture so that it can stay stable and not melt in your purse, pocket or whatever. I don’t know if you’ve ever had coconut oil melt out from something. It’s a mess. You want to make sure that’s all mixed in there well.  

You ended up reheating it to help mix it back up.  

scraped it off the sides. I heated it a little bit. The more you stir, the faster it melts back in. There was a little clump of some beeswax still in the mixture. Through stirring it and since the wax is still hot, it gets mixed back in there. It’s a much more cohesive mixture. It’s very clear. There was that one little piece of beeswax left. It looks like it almost melted. There it is. It’s perfect.  

Right here, you have everything in the mixture at this point. All your ingredients are in the salve 

It’s all done. It’s ready to be poured in your final jar. That’s what I’m doing here. Some of your audience out there may be like“That looks dark.  

EE 16 | Making Salves

Making Salves: You can use different waxes, botanicals, herbs or essential oils as well to make new and different products.


It looks like a dark honey almost.  

As the wax cools down, it lightens up quite a bit. Here it is right here. It’s much lighter over time.  

It’s like a pit in the center there of the solution.  

The reason that happened is because it didn’t cool at the same rate. We were going to use a glass jar. Heat the glass jar to about 120 degrees. Everything’s cooling together. This isn’t going to affect your product. It’s more of an aesthetic thing. If you’re nitpicky, then that’s what you can do.  

It depends on how you’re using this, if you’re using it to give it away or selling it.  

This is just for me and friends. It’s no big deal for me. With everything, you want to make sure you got your bases covered.  

It seems pretty simple. What do you think the hardest part of the process was creating the salve?  

It’s cleaning the beeswax. The other thing is whatever you melt the beeswax in is always going to have beeswax in it. Makes sure you use a Mason jar or something that you’re not attached to or anything like that. I still have the beeswax Mason jar. For your audience out there, I can show you the consistency of this. It’s pretty soft but not super soft. It rubs in pretty well. It’s not super greasy or anything like that. You can change this recipe quite a bit. The reason I picked this recipe is because all of these things are fairly easy to get at any of your grocery stores or anything like that. You can use different waxes, different botanicals such as arnica, other herbs or other essential oils as well to make new different products.  

Nick, what was the most expensive product that you used for your ingredients in this whole process?  

The most expensive part is the CBD oil. With that said, because we have the little buddy extractor, we were able to make it a little bit cheaper. If you were to buy CBD oil, it’d probably be about $20, $30 a gram even, but since we purchased hemp in bulk, it ended up costing us something like $10. It was probably even less than that. I did it in my head real quick. Other than that, that’s the most expensive piece, which is why so many of these CBD products are so expensive as well. This product right here would probably retail at a store for $20, $25.  

For those people out there that are looking to create something like this, what would be the number one thing you would tell them as they want to create a formulation like this?  

EE 16 | Making Salves


The first thing always is why are you making it. For me, I skateboard a lot, which means I fall, which means I need this stuff. Let’s say you have eczema, dry skin or something like that. There are different things that you can use based on what you need to get done.  

I’m glad you brought that up, eczema and psoriasis. Those medications that people have to spend money on are extremely expensive. 

They often don’t help as well.  

Nick, thank you so much. This was awesome. If you are interested in this formulation or you’re interested in exploring what else the little buddy can do, you came to the right place. This is what we talk about. This is what we do. I want to encourage anyone out there that is saying, I want to create a salve. I would like to talk to somebody about this. If you specifically have an instance where it’s likeI need to reach out, please go to our website at It’s very easy. You can call us there. You can email us there. You can text us there. Let me connect you with Nick.  

Nick is more than happy to talk to you about some of these processes. If you’re exploring the idea, I’d like to extract my stuff but what is it I need to do? That’s why we’re here. We are here to help you with that info. Please reach out to us. We make it as simple as possible. Go to the website. You’re able to click send email. You can call us. We have created a little texting spot too, so you can even text us. That will go to our customer service. We’ll be able to connect you with Nick right away. Spend a couple of seconds and do it. I know you are probably in motion, the ones that are reading the show. You can watch on YouTube as well. It’s very simple. Thank you so much for joining us. Nick, it was awesome. I love learning about salve. I can’t wait to see the next ones that we’ve got coming up with you. I’m looking forward to it. Have a wonderful day. Until next time.  

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About Nick Gay

EE 15 | Extracting Tinctures And FiltrationA leader in the CBD and herb industry with 8 years experience in new facility set-up, employee training, SOP creation and integration, product production, extraction and distillation.
A collaborative team player who strives for operational excellence and works across all departments to scale production and create safe work environments.
Skilled in Compliance Management, Management, CBD, THC, SOP Development, and Research and Development (R&D). Strong business development professional with a Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Manufacturing practices focus.
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