Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wound Care Salve

Disclaimer: The information that I am sharing in this post is, in no way meant to be a substitute for medical care in the event that someone should have an infected wound that needs medical attention.  Signs of infection include inflammation, redness, heat and discharge at the wound sight.

Now that this is out of the way, I would like to share a recipe for a wound care salve that I made this week. This salve can be used for minor scrapes or burns. I have a blacksmith in my family who, frequently, comes home with minor burns from flying scale; small flecks of metal that flies off when he hammers the metal. This time of year a  little boy in shorts limps through the door with a scrape on his knee. With all the work in the garden I am prone to grabbing something with thorns.  A gentle salve is in order.

The ingredients include three herbs, some olive oil and beeswax.  I followed the technique for making salves found in John Green's book, The Herbal Medicine-Maker's Handbook. I used three wild herbs found in my own yard. They are very common weeds and will be easy to find. I will refer to them as herbs in this post. Although they are common weeds they are more valuable to our natural health than we give them credit for. All these herbs are edible but for our purposes we will discuss how to use them externally.

The first herb I used was Daisy. Juliet de Bairacli, in her book Common Herbs for Natural Health, describes daisy as a wound herb. The teacher at the wild herb walk I went to a couple of weeks ago recommends using the leaves. A couple of weeks ago I had a small scrape on my foot. I made a tea of daisy leaves to rinse the scrape with. I drank the last of the tea.

The second herb I used was plantain. Plantain is a great herb. It is found on disturbed ground; basically, where ever you frequently walk  you will find plantain. Plantain can be a quick remedy for a bee sting. Find some and break or smoosh it; the technical term is bruise, and apply to the sting. I can attest to it's efficacy. A couple of years ago I was picking wild blueberries and stepped on a hornet's nest and was stung several times. I applied the plantain and could feel some immediate relief. The stings cleared of the venom quickly.  Plantain is great for wounds.

The final herb is chickweed. This is again so common that we take it for granted .De Bairacli states that it is often found on tilled land and usually indicates rich soil. It is good for all skin ailments. I have a separate salve made just of chickweed that I use for Evan's winter eczema.

 I used freshly picked herbs that were not damaged by bugs.. I pick in the morning while the dew is still on the herb. John Green recommends 1 to 2 oz. of dried herbs to 1 cup of oil. I doubled or tripled the amount of fresh herbs for this salve depending on what I could find outside.   I picked all the leaves off the stems.

All herb measurements are approximate.

Wound Care Salve:

Ingredients: 2 cups of olive oil
                  3 ounces of beeswax. Green recommends 1 oz of bees wax to one cup of oil but I wanted                   a  little firmer salve so I added the extra ounce.
                  1 cup plantain, chopped.
                   2 cups daisy leaf
                  1/3 cup chickweed.

You will also need  glass baking dish, double boiler (or pot of boiling water with a bowl or smaller pot inside), a spoon, small glass jars. I used 1/2 pints and 1/4 pint jar. A canning funnel.

Place herbs in baking dish and cover with olive oil. Place into preheated oven to 150 degrees. Let steep for 3-5 hours.

Strain through cheese cloth. Squeeze out any remaining oil. Place in top of double boiler and heat slowly, add beeswax. When beeswax melts you can check to see if it is the consistency you desire but putting a spoon in the hot salve and then placing the spoon in the freezer. After a couple of minutes take the spoon out and check to see if it is as thick as you want. Pour into clean jars. When it cools to a solid keep in a cool dark place. Definitely label your salves. They all look a alike. I like to write the ingredients on the label and the date. I follow the tenets of food labeling by putting the ingredients in the order of quantity.


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