June 20, 2011

Salve Making...

Alright... I hate to break promises, but am insanely busy right now painting my house and getting some big projects completed, so I am reposting this from the old blog. I just hate to say that I'll do something and then not do it in a timely manner.
A salve is basically nothing more than an oil mixed with a wax. I tend to use olive oil with bees' wax. Before combining these items I infuse the oil with the desired herbs. The whole process takes about 3-4 hours, and you can walk away from it during this time.
This recipe is BooBoo Salve... good for cuts, bleeding, rashes, bruises, etc... I have put it on open wounds as well as sore areas with good results. I have seen it stop bleeding and mild itching. The chemical allantoin is found in comfrey and has properties that are really strong so before applying make sure you have the wound cleaned out as your would will heal quickly. It may also be used as an alternative to neosporin-type creams.

I used some dried and some fresh herbs. Generally dried herbs are more potent than fresh so take that into consideration when putting this together; you will need about half of a dried to a part of fresh (if this makes sense). It is also considered a good idea to use either all fresh or all dried as you want to control moisture content in your salve, but I threw caution to the wind and used both. I have yarrow growing well and used some fresh leaves along with the lavender that is now growing. I chopped them up into smaller pieces so that more surface area increased. Increasing the surface area allows more of the herb to contact the oil.

I added all of the herbs into the top of a double boiler. I rig up a pyrex bowl over a pot of simmering water. I like using glass as it is non-reactive. The temps don't get too high and works well.

Cover the herbs with olive oil and allow them to steep for 3 hours or so in the double boiler... the herbs will look dark and crunchy when they are done. I did check the temp of the oil a few times and it generally stayed around 150 degrees. Be careful to not let your water run dry in the bottom of the boiler.

After the herbs are used up looking you need to strain them from your oil. They will have a definite 'used' look to them and be dark and crunchy in appearance. I use a small hand-held strainer and pour the oil thru. I mush it with a spoon to make sure that I get all of the oil I can out of the herbs.

I wipe out the original bowl and put the oil back in it over the simmering water. Now is time to add the beeswax to your infused oil, and stir it until it is melted.

***comfrey will make your oil green with your salve also being green***

It is hard to gauge the texture of a salve initially as you have a liquid. One way to determine the texture of the salve is to dip a metal spoon into the liquid and put it in the freezer. In a few seconds it will have hardened and should be close to what you will end up with. I generally will put in a modest amount (about a 4:1 ratio with the oil) and add if it seems too soft.

Next I assemble my jars. You can get cosmetic jars or use tupperware or mason jars.... it really doesn't matter. Before pouring the salve into the jars I add my scents and preservatives. For BooBoo Salve I tend to use Tea Tree Oil and Lavender essential oil, but you can use what you want. Tea tree oil is useful in healing as it has antiseptic properties though so I do recommend it.

I add the drops of these items into the bottow of the salve jars and then gently pour the hot liquid salve into them and allow them to cool.

Meanwhile for clean-up... I recommend using the simmering water for cleanup. You have a bowl that you just melted wax in and if it gets cooled the wax will harden in your bowl. I usually pour the simmering water into the empty salve bowl and wash it quickly making sure that I get all of the wax out before rinsing with normal water.

That's pretty much it.... Now you have your own homemade salve....

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