Spicy Pain Salve Recipe

This spicy pain salve recipe features pain-blocking cayenne, warming ginger, plus herbs to help your aches and pains.

tin of salve surrounded by red peppers and leaves
tin of salve made with arnica, cayenne, ginger & cypress essential oil

Spicy Salve is pretty much the most popular and oft-reached-for salve in our house. We especially love using it on sore muscles and back aches, leg aches from working at a computer for too long, or any pains that feel better when you apply heat to the area.

Rather than give it a dignified name, like such a lovely pain salve rightfully deserves, our family continues to just call it Spicy Salve. Because it’s a salve. And it’s spicy!

You can also find this recipe in the ebook, Things to Make for Aches & Pains – a joint collaboration between the Gen Z whippersnapper who originally started this website, and her mom, the Nerdy Farm Wife.

image of tablet with Things to Make for Aches & Pains book cover

Some links on this site are affiliate links. A small commission may be earned if you make a purchase after following a link.


Because of the cayenne and ginger in this recipe, avoid getting it anywhere sensitive like eyes, mouth, general mucous membranes, any broken skin.

Warming spicy feel on aching muscles = pleasant. Warming spicy feel on delicate/broken skin or in your eyes = discomfort.

tin of salve surrounded by red peppers

Spicy Pain Salve Recipe

This DIY salve recipe features pain-blocking cayenne, warming ginger, plus herbs to help your aches and pains.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salves & Balms
Keyword: arnica, cayenne, cypress essential oil, ginger
Cook Time: 1 hour
Infusing Time: 14 days
Servings: 4 ounces


For the oil infusion:

For the salve:


To infuse the oil:

  • Combine the herbs and oil in a heat-safe jar, adding a little extra oil if needed to make sure the herbs stay covered.
  • Place the jar of oil/herbs down into a small saucepan containing a few inches of water. (Enough water to cover a good portion of the jar sides, but not too much so it starts to float.)
  • Heat the pan over a burner set to low to medium-low heat for 2 hours.
  • The water should be warm enough to indirectly heat the oil, but if it starts simmering and bubbling, it's too hot and should be turned down.
  • After around 2 hours, remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and cap with a lid.
  • For a more effective infusion, place the jar in a sunny window for 2 weeks before straining and using.

To make the salve:

  • Weigh out infused oil & beeswax into a heat-safe container such as a mason jar. 
  • Set the jar in a small pot of water on a stove top burner set low to medium-low, and allow to slowly melt together. 
  • Once completely melted, remove the jar from the pot. 
  • Add the cypress essential oil, then pour into tins or jars.
  • Let cool, cap, and label.
  • Store in a cool dry place; shelf life is around 9+ months.

Cleanup tip: Wipe out the melting jar with paper towels or old rags while it’s still hot and the salve is still soft. Once it cools and hardens, it’s difficult to clean!

To use

Rub into aching muscles, or use as a massage balm for the same.

Remember that it will take a while for salve to soak completely into skin, even on the hand/fingers you used to apply it!

Similar Posts


  1. Hi,
    This sounds great, but I’ve yet to include rice bran oil into my repertoire (becausethis is the first time I’ve seen it called for)! Is there a particular reason for using it, or would I be able to substitute a different oil?

    1. Rice bran absorbs into the skin relatively quickly, so it doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy! You can substitute for another light oil or just your favorite oil instead 🙂

  2. I assume after 2 or more weeks on window sill that you strain this with fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth as yours looks so smooth. I have made a salve with just the cayenne but it was stainable so had to be careful with it. I can’t wait to get my materials together to try this one, Spicy Save is a good name for it.

  3. I hope to be able to get this recipe where do you find rice bran oil? I really am in need of this salve. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Step 2 of infusing the herb/oil says to heat thru for 2 hours. Assuming there would be quite a difference in the results between 2 hours on high or low, please tell us what temp to use. Thank you for keeping those new at this in mind.

    1. Hi May, Thanks for letting me know we left that part out! I’m so sorry about that!
      You want to turn the burner to low or medium low, so that it gently warms.
      If the water starts simmering or bubbling, it’s a little too hot & should be turned down.
      I’ll go fix the recipe card right now so it’s more clear. Thanks again!

    1. Hello! Yes, you can infuse oil in a slow cooker. Most herbalists like to lay a hand towel or dish towel in the bottom of the crockpot, to cushion the jars while they heat.
      Add water, keep the slow cooker uncovered and allow the oil to indirectly gently infuse anywhere from several hours to overnight. (Time will vary between crock pot type, jar size, etc.)

    1. Hi Diane, You could definitely give it a try!
      In that case though, I would replace about half of the cypress essential oil with clary sage essential oil instead to make it more targeted and useful for cramps.

  5. Hi! I have a lot of essential oils but don’t have cypress. Does it have particular pain-relieving properties? What would be a good substitute?

    1. Hi Lucie! Cypress is warming and gently stimulates circulation. I usually interchange it with juniper berry or cedarwood; fir needle could work here too. 🙂

    1. Hi Holly, Yes, you sure can! Since your oils are pre-infused, you can use them in place of some of the plain oil.
      For example, depending on how much of the infused oils you have on hand, you could use: 3 oz plain oil, 0.25 oz comfrey infused oil, 0.25 oz arnica infused oil + the cayenne & ginger powders. If you have a large supply of arnica & comfrey infused oils, you could use something like 2 oz arnica infused oil + 1.5 oz comfrey infused oil + the ginger/cayenne/etc. (Adjust ratios to your supply & personal preferences.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating