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Kawakawa balm close up

Kawakawa Balm

Naturopath Lauren Glucina
A basic recipe for soothing kawakawa balm. See the notes for plenty of recipe variants.
4.94 from 15 votes
Cook Time 20 mins
Preparing the infused oil 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 20 mins
Course Salves
Cuisine Herbal
Servings 8 jars (30ml / 1oz per)


  • Large saucepan/pot
  • Sieve, muslin or a nut milk bag to strain herbs
  • Small saucepan with a Pyrex jug OR double boiler
  • 8x 30ml / 1oz glass jars with screw top lids
  • Glass stirring rod (if using essential oils)


  • 15-20 fresh kawakawa leaves
  • 280ml sweet almond oil (one cup, and a few extra tablespoons)
  • 28g beeswax (1 oz, but have a little extra just in case)
  • 75 drops lavender essential oil optional


Kawakawa infused oil

  • Place fresh but dry kawakawa leaves in a large saucepan/pot - and pour the sweet almond oil over the top. Don't worry if some of the leaves protrude, they'll wilt as it gets warm. Place the pot into an oven set to 50˚C / 122˚F, close the door and leave to infuse for 6 hours.
    Pot with kawakawa leaves and oil inside the oven
  • Remove from oven (use a tea towel - handle will be hot) and strain the leaves out using a sieve, a muslin cloth or nut milk bag. Your infused oil is now ready to use.
    Infused oil in a pyrex jug, having been strained through muslin

Kawakawa balm

  • Measure out one cup (250ml) of kawakawa infused oil, saving the remaining few tablespoons just in case you need to tweak the consistency of the balm later. Add beeswax pastilles.
    Infused oil and beeswax pastilles in a pyrex jug
  • Stand in a small saucepan simmering with water. A double boiler is another option here. Heat until the beeswax has totally dissolved. You might like to test the consistency of the salve here (see notes).
    Melting the beeswax into the oil over a double boiler
  • Once happy with the consistency, allow to cool slightly, then add essential oil right before pouring. Use a sterilised glass wand/stick if you have one to stir in the essential oil fully.
    Adding essential oils to the liquid salve
  • Work quickly, pouring into sterilised glass jars.
    Lauren pouring the balm into individual jars
  • Allow to cool, then label and date each jar. To use, massage a little into skin as needed.
    Jars of harden balm on the bench, some with lids screwed on



  • Plant material must be dry before making an infused oil, to avoid microbial growth (pat the leaves down well with a paper towel)
  • Alternatives to sweet almond oil include apricot kernel and fractionated coconut oil. Olive oil is a great choice for general use
  • Organic, unrefined beeswax is best, purchasing the pellets makes for an easier time melting
  • To test the consistency - dip a teaspoon into the mixture once wax has melted, then place in the fridge or freezer. Once set, assess whether it needs more oil to soften, more wax to harden, or is just right
  • For minor cuts, abrasions, bites and stings: pair with skin-healing calendula infused oil, adding essential oils with antiseptic qualities such as tea tree, manuka, and pain-relieving kanuka.
  • For dry skin conditions such as eczema: pair with skin-healing calendula in a hydrating base oil such as sweet almond, adding antioxidant vitamin E, and soothing essential oils like lavender, German chamomile and helichrysum.
  • For delayed onset muscle soreness: pair with comfrey for tissue swelling and trauma, with wintergreen essential oil (Nature’s ‘Deep Heat’).
  • For stiff and swollen joints, tendons and ligaments: infuse the oil together with cayenne to bring heat to the site of application, with essential oils of lemongrass or frankincense.
  • For neuralgia: infuse the oil together with fresh St john’s wort herb.
  • To keep insects at bay: add essential oils such as peppermint, lemongrass and lemon eucalyptus.
  • Always be sure that you're confident with your plant identification before harvesting.
Keyword Kawakawa Balm
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