Make an oil infusion with the herbs first:
-> Chop herbs with scissors and place herbs slightly packed in a mason jar(s). How much herb you have will determine what size you use. Pour olive oil to cover herbs and right to the top of the jar. Place on lid and screw cap and let sit 6 weeks. Strain out herbs using a nut milk bag OR fine mesh sieve (you can also line the sieve with an unbleached coffee filter if you like).
Add oil to a pot and add in beeswax/candelilla wax. These come in pellets, pastilles or a large block. If you have a solid block, grate it first. Put the heat on LOW to dissolve the wax. Once liquefied, do the freezer test: scoop a bit onto a spoon and place on a plate. Now place in the freezer, wait 5 minutes and see if the consistency is to your liking. It should be solid, like the consistency of a lip balm you'd buy at the store. Add in more oil if too hard and more wax if too runny. Finally, pour into clean glass (or plastic) jars or metal tins. Let cool completely, put on lids, label, and store in a cool place.
Have one on hand in your bag or purse, because the uses for salves are many!
For the herbs:
- Comfrey leaf can be used at any time, before or after she flowers.
- The most medicinal of the Yarrows is the one with white flowers, that wild weed!
- Calendula or pot Marigold can easily be grown in pots, but gardens too!
- Chickweed is easy to grow, self-seeds readily, makes great ground cover and loves shade, so definitely one to consider adding to the garden (or to grow in a pot).
Although this recipe requires making an infused oil with fresh herbs, you can also make the same salve using dried herbs, except for the Chickweed. Use dried Rose petals OR Plantain leaves instead.
To do: Put 3 parts DRIED Comfrey to 1 part each dried Yarrow, dried Calendula and dried Rose petals/buds (or dried Plantain leaves instead of the Rose) in a crock pot, cover with olive oil to coat, then add in 1-2 inches more oil. Put on Low and let GENTLY warm (DO NOT cook) for 1-2 hours. Let cool, then strain out the herbs. Ta-da! Now use this oil to make your salve :)
Uses for salves are many. A salve by definition is a healing balm, so this salve can be used to:
ENJOY the healing power of herbs :)
*And/OR Olive, Sunflower OR Grapeseed oil---see directions
Place all the dried herbs in a crockpot. Cover herbs with oil, stirring with a non-metallic object to ensure all the herbs are coated with oil. If you have St John's and/or Chickweed infused oils, you can add however much you want to help cover the herbs (e.g., 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, etc). If you only have a little, or none at all, that's fine. You can use Olive, Sunflower or Grapeseed oil, or even a combination of these oils. Put the crockpot on Low and let gently warm for 1-2 hours. DO NOT cook or boil! Your finished product will not be pleasant! You want to gently warm the oil so that the herbs' medicine can gently be released into the oil. Yes, gentle.
Let the oil cool, then put a nut milk bag in a bowl and pour the oil into the bag. Put the herbs in the bag and squeeze out as much oil as you can. Compost the spent herbs. Since there may still be herb particles in the oil, you'll want to filter them out. Line a sieve with an unbleached coffee filter, place or hold the sieve onto/over a pot, and pour the oil into the lined sieve so that the oil drips down into the pot.
Once done, add in grated beeswax (or pastilles) OR candelilla wax. The usual ratio is 1 part oil to 3-4 parts wax. Put on low heat to gently dissolve, stirring with a wooden spoon to ensure conformity.
Do the spoon test: scoop up a bit of the salve on a spoon and place it onto a plate. Put it in the freezer, wait 5 minutes, and then see if the salve is to your liking. Too hard? Add in more oil. Too soft? Add more wax. Then test again.
Once to your liking, you can add in Vitamin E and your chosen essential oil (EO), if using, to the pot, then pour into jars.
Another more interesting way is to fill ALL the jars with the liquid salve and to each jar, add in a different EO (1 type or a blend, as you prefer). Then, to each jar, prick 1 capsule of Vitamin E and stir it in. You can leave some jars without EO (recommended for use on sensitive bits). See Cat's Comments for uses.
This is a versatile recipe, but also a cheeky one using 9 different herbs! You don't have to use all 9, of course. Comfrey and Calendula are major vulnerary herbs, but so are the other herbs. And each herb has her own specialty that she adds to the mix:
Rose is emollient, vulnerary, astringent
Yarrow is styptic, vulnerary, antimicrobial
Plantain is cooling, vulnerary
Violet is cooling and emollient
Goldenrod is astringent, vulnerary
St John's helps with nerve restoration
Chickweed is cooling and anti-itch
Other alternatives: You could make an infused oil with several fresh herbs and then add the beeswax to turn it into a salve. OR, you could use some dried herbs and then use infused oils with fresh herbs--- really, whatever you have on hand. I find the salve to be pretty forgiving!
Some advice: I'd have my pots lined and up ready, because depending how much wax you've added (as well as heat and humidity in your home), it can harden fast. If you're using essential oils, I'd have those ready too. Have the Vitamin E capsules and a sharp knife to prick open the capsules, and several bamboo sticks for stirring (you'd want to using a different bamboo stick for each essential oil to avoid "cross-contaminating" the scents!).
What can you use this Salve for?
As always, Enjoy :)
Who loves free Herbal Recipes?
I do! I do!