Plantain is a good herb to talk about for many reasons. It’s great for skin irritations like diaper rash and bug bites, and it’s able to help minor cuts and scrapes heal faster. One nice thing about plantain is that it is truly a common “weed” that most of us can easily find. It can be picked all year long, even looked for under the snow.
If you’ve never made a salve before, it’s not that complicated. There are a few different ways to do it, and although I usually let my herbs sit in a jar of oil in the sun for a few weeks before turning them into salve, I’ll show you here how to make the plantain salve without having the long wait.
Pick enough plantain leaves so when they’re finely chopped you have about 3 cups. (You can read about plantain here and learn how to identify it.) Place 4 ounces of olive oil in a glass Pyrex-type dish. I usually put mine into a larger aluminum pan after adding an inch or two of water into the pan. Add 2 to 4 ounces of beeswax to the oil and heat slowly until all the wax has been melted. (At this point, I like to spoon a small amount of the mixture on a plate and let it cool a minute in the fridge. If the consistency isn’t thick enough for me, I add a little more wax.) Carefully add your herbs, remove the Pyrex dish, and cover it. Place it in the oven at a very low heat, say 170ºF, and let it stay for about 4 hours. Now remove the mixture from the oven, carefully strain it through a sieve, add 1/2 an ounce of Vitamin E, and pour the salve into smaller glass containers and leave to cool. After they’re cool, cap them.
I usually find salves will last for a year or more. The beeswax and the Vitamin E help preserve them, and if you store them in the dark, all the better. Next time a bee sting, cooking burn, or other skin irritation occurs in your household, you’ll have one great remedy to rely on!