Creating a Life of Plenty

Using Herbs: Healing Salves

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There are so many uses for herbs; culinary, medicinal and cosmetic. Another product I like to make for myself and to give as gifts are healing salves. Herbal salves have a cosmetic effect on the skin by softening it and perfuming it with the essence of the herbs used and essential oil. Salve also heals minor bumps, bruises and scrapes. For those of us who work in the garden, kitchen and around the house, these salves save our hands so we don’t look like we have been mining with our bare hands!

Salves are not difficult to make, they simply take a little patience and the herbal knowledge to know what herbs to use in your potion.

This morning, I wanted to make salve for myself, a friend and to put in a basket being auctioned off for charity, so I gathered self heal, lemon verbena and lavender plants. I cleaned the herbs and placed them in a double boiler over simmering water. To that I added two cups of an oil combination (grapeseed and extra virgin olive oil) and allowed the herbs to infuse the oil for 45 minutes to an hour. You can use a slower method to infuse by packing the herbs in a jar, adding the oil, sealing and leaving in the sun for a week.

While the oil was infusing, I grated a small block of beeswax into shavings and collected 8 tablespoons. Once the oil was finished infusing, I strained the herbs from the oil (and put the herbs in the kitchen composter) and put the oil back in the pan, added the wax and 20 drops of lavender essential oil for fragrance and to add a little more healing power to the salve.

Once the mixture was complete, I poured the potion into prepared tins that I purchased on sale from a container supply store. These tins will be allowed to cool for at least two hours before covering and being allowed to cure.

This is a very economical way to provide yourself with skin soothing products and great gifts for your friends. Per tin, between the oil, wax, essential oil, herbs and tin the investment is around $1.50. I checked online and for organic gardener’s salve (in smaller tins mind you) the price ranged anywhere from $10-$17. I will make more of these as the harvest continues to provide myself with a supply and for gifts for the winter holidays, birthdays, host gifts, etc.

There are so many reasons to have a garden, particularly an herb garden, this is just one more fantastic one for the list!

Happy Gardening!

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