What is a Healing Ointment?

A. Rohlandt

A healing ointment is a salve or balm that promotes healing and treats abrasions, cuts, and wounds. Most of the healing ointments available today contain only natural ingredients, although some include pain killers and anti-inflammatory agents. Healing ointment can treat scars, disinfect wounds, promote healing, relieve pain, and soften and soothe dry skin.

Fingertip with a dab of drawing salve.
Fingertip with a dab of drawing salve.

What makes a healing ointment different from other medication is that it is usually made of all-natural ingredients and contains certain plant and flower extracts. Some of the most common ingredients are lavender, tea tree oil, comfrey, and green tea extract. Some healing ointments contain non-natural ingredients such as lidocaine, a topical anesthetic, or bisobolol, which is an anti-inflammatory agent. Healing ointment can be either water based or oil based, and this does not seem to really change the effect.

Chest rubs often contain eucalyptus.
Chest rubs often contain eucalyptus.

Often, individuals turn to these ointments as a form of first aid or to treat minor injuries at home. Healing ointments have been said to heal burns, infected wounds, open wounds and chemical burns. Even wounds that would not heal with conventional methods are said to have benefited from the application of healing ointment.

Some ointments are designed to heal bruises and sprains.
Some ointments are designed to heal bruises and sprains.

While most healing balms work on a variety of conditions, some are formulated to be effective for specific ailments. An ointment for bruises and sprains, for example, would include ingredients such as peppermint, rosemary, and clove extracts. Some healing ointments are manufactured to treat fungal infections. Ointments such as these would typically include tea tree oil and lavender as their main ingredients because of the extracts' anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.

Healing balms can also take the form of chest rubs. These are useful when a cough is present. Chest rubs usually contain ingredients such as eucalyptus and peppermint. Tea tree oil or lavender is sometimes added to combat bacteria in the throat. Chest rubs are absorbed through the skin, but they also provide relief through inhalation of the vapors.

Headache sticks are considered healing ointments. These are often small bottles with roller heads which allow for easy application. The ointment is usually applied to the pulse points, including the temples, behind the ears, the wrists, and the tops of the feet. These products are said to work well for stress related headaches because of the calming properties of their ingredients.

A healing ointment can also be a cream with ingredients that soothe and soften very dry skin. Some of the heel balms available today can be considered healing ointments because of their soothing and moisturizing properties. An ointment such as these, especially one with tea tree oil, can be useful to those suffering from conditions such as diabetes since proper foot care is a priority in those cases.

It is always best to seek medical attention if serious injury is present, even though healing ointments can benefit and heal numerous problems. Experts recommend seeking medical advice first if in doubt as to the severity of an injury. Healing ointment can be applied to help speed up the recovery process after medical intervention.

Healing ointments can prevent infections from developing in wounds.
Healing ointments can prevent infections from developing in wounds.

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Discussion Comments


Vitamin E oil can also be used as a skin healing ointment. I use it on scars and injuries that might scar. I don’t use it on open skin because it burns. I wait for the cut to close up first and then I apply vitamin E oil on it several times a day for as long as it takes for it to heal. I’ve used vitamin E oil on many scratches and burn scars and they all disappeared.


@fify-- Honey is a great natural healing salve. But I’m not talking about the cheap honey that we can buy everywhere. I’m talking about 100% pure, raw honey. Honey naturally has antiseptic properties and it will prevent infections. It’s also very soothing and hydrating for skin so it will speed up healing. When I was a child, whenever I fell and hurt myself, my grandmother would wash my cuts and scrapes with soapy water and then apply raw honey on them. They would heal in no time and they never got infected.


What is the most basic and natural antibacterial and scar healing ointment? I’m looking for a safe home remedy that I can make or find easily. I plan on using it for cuts and scrapes to prevent infections, speed up healing and prevent scars. What should I use?

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