One of the great joys of herbs is making your own cures in the home. I love making salves. Maybe it’s that pioneer spirit in my veins that makes me feel like I’ve provided a necessity for my family. Maybe it’s tinkering in the kitchen. I’d guess it’s a little of both. Today I’m going to let you in on how to make a simple salve for your own medicine chest. You can experiment with different kinds of herbs (like chamomile) if you’re familiar with their effects, but for today’s I thought we’d do a calendula salve. Calendula has many uses and it’s pretty safe as well as great for skin conditions.
Take a clean glass jar and dump in the dried herb; I’d say about an ounce of calendula. Just cover the calendula with olive oil, then add the contents of one or two Vitamin E tablets to keep the oil from getting rancid. Cap the jar and wait for two weeks. (Yes, a little patience goes a long way to getting a good herb product!) I usually give the jar a gentle shake every day or two. After two weeks, strain the oil through a sieve and then some cheesecloth. Measure out the oil and figure out 1/4 the amount for the beeswax. So if you have 1 cup of oil, add 1/4 cup beeswax. Put the oil in a pan (try and have one just for this purpose) and heat the mixture on a very low heat, stirring occasionally, until all the beeswax has completely melted. Turn off the heat.
To test the consistency, I like to take a teaspoon of the mixture and place it on a plate or in a little bowl. I place it in the fridge for a minute just to let it solidify. If the mixture is still too thin, add a little more beeswax. Too thick and you can add a little bit of olive oil. When the consistency is where you prefer, pour your mixture into a glass jar with a wide mouth. I like glass storage bowls that come with airtight lids. Only place the lid on after the salve has completely cooled. Store your salve in a cool dark location.
It may look a little complicated at first blush, but truly, learning how to make a simple salve like this one is rewarding, economical, and happily chemical free!