Have you ever gotten a cut or splinter and it’s filled with pus? Or perhaps you have gauged ears and one of them split. Next thing you know, it’s red, pussy, and painful. Chances are that if you have ever found yourself in a situation similar to this, you went looking for some kind of healing, soothing and disinfecting ointment to apply to your wound. And while buying one over the counter is easy to do, it’s just as easy to make one on your own.

The star of this DIY disinfecting balm (other than raw African Shea butter) is Eucalyptus essential oil, because it has a long history of use as an effective natural disinfectant. It has been shown through laboratory tests to be a powerful antimicrobial agent, and has even been shown to be effective at killing airborne staph bacteria. And because it’s an essential oil, you only need a few drops to have an effective amount in your healing balm.

Shea butter is the other ingredient in this easy disinfecting balm because it actually has antibacterial and protective qualities that make it very helpful when it comes to healing things like small wounds that are vulnerable to infection. Much of this comes from the cinnamic acid present in raw African Shea butter, and it has been historically utilized for this exact reason in Africa. This is also one of the reasons it’s so helpful in healing skin irritations.

The combination of the Eucalyptus essential oil with Shea butter creates the perfect disinfecting and healing synergy. The Shea butter also helps to mellow out the Eucalyptus so it isn’t too strong and potentially irritating on your injury. Additionally, the Eucalyptus provides a fresh and invigorating aroma that also lends itself to be quite an effective chest decongestant, so this healing balm easily doubles as a chest rub for those times when you need some easy breathing help.

To make it, you simply add a few drops of the Eucalyptus to some softened Shea butter (about 3-4 drops essential oil per teaspoon of Shea), mix, and store in a container of your choice. This can be used at any time on minor cuts and wounds, and to help prevent or reverse infection. Additionally, the Eucalyptus essential oil acts as a natural preservative in conjunction with the antioxidants in the Shea butter, so you don’t need to worry about this going rancid any time soon. Enjoy!