Rimrock to Riverside Healing Balm

November 28, 2022

The Conservancy’s Stewardship Director Rose Richardson shares her recipe for a healing salve, made from foraged ingredients at our Rimrock to Riverside project area, along Spokane’s west rim.

Long before we called it Rimrock to Riverside, the Spokane Tribe had a strong presence there. They, the original stewards of that place, cultivated and took care of the native plants that are gathered to make this medicinal salve. Their relationship to these plant species is unique, it is largely thanks to their knowledge that we know about the medicinal values of each of these plants, and many plants exist on the Rimrock to Riverside landscape because of their work and care.


As an ointment to soothe cuts, burns (including sunburns), or dry cracked skin

As a balm to rub on sore muscles, bruises, or joint pain

For external use only!


½ cup of Infused Oil

Elderberry flowers (Sambucus cerulea) 

Woods Rose flowers (Rosa woodsii) 

Stinging Nettle leaves (Urtica dioica) 

Aspen buds (Populus tremuloides)

St. John’s Wort flowers (Hypericum perforatum) 

Arrowleaf Balsamroot stems (Balsamorhiza sagittata) 

Common Yarrow flowers (Achillea millefolium) 

Kinnikinnick leaves (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) 

2 Tbsp organic beeswax pastilles

1 Tbsp organic shea butter


3-ounce metal salve tin or tinted jar

Cheese cloth

Medium-sized glass jar

Medium-sized pot or saucepan

Stirring stick


1. Carefully and sparingly gather the plants and place in a sealable jar. Cover plants in a light oil (vegetable oil, fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, sunflower oil), and allow to sit, sealed, in a warm place, like a sunny windowsill. Shake every few days to get oil moving through the plants.

2. Once your herbs have been steeping for at least a month, strain herbs from the oil using the cheesecloth, pouring the oil into a medium-size, clean jar (the small jar the oil steeped in will be too small).

3. Add the beeswax and shea butter to the oil.

4. Put the jar into a medium-sized pot or saucepan, and fill slightly with water, so the oil level is equal to or below the water level. We’re creating a make-shift double-boiler here, folks!

5. Make sure your 3 oz silver salve tin is clean, open, and ready on your counter.

6. Heat the pot over medium-high heat on the stove to start melting the beeswax and shea butter.

7. Watch the beeswax carefully, stirring occasionally with the popsicle stick. As soon as the beeswax is fully melted, remove from heat.

8. Next, pour the (now liquid) salve into the metal tin and set aside to cool and harden. It might take a few hours to harden fully. NOTE: Before using, test it by using a small amount on your forearm to make sure you won’t have an allergic reaction to any ingredients in the salve. If your skin appears normal after 30 minutes, it’s safe to use!