I have been using a beeswax salve that I bought at a market years ago and finally I can see the bottom of the jar, so I thought I’d better figure out how to make some more. I use the salve mostly as lip balm, but its also good for any other dry skin, so I use a little bit nearly every day, even so, it seems to have lasted forever. Unfortunately as the label on the jar is now so worn it is unreadable, I don’t know exactly what the original ingredients were. I bought it from a honey stall, so I know it contained beeswax, and possibly honey, and it smells like lavender... there are plenty of recipes on the internet though.
|My healing herbal salve|
I have also been reading about herbs and using infused oils
, so I decided to combine an infused oil with beeswax and essential oils to make myself a new salve. There are lots of beneficial herbs that can be infused in oil, but I didn’t have a huge amount to choose from in my own garden due to the ongoing drought at the time. In some ways that is a good thing, because I could never have decided which to use!
|Here's my old salve, not much left...|
From my garden I picked some comfrey leaf, borage leaf, yarrow leaf, and I used some calendula petals that I had dried earlier in the year. I was very surprised by the lack of chickweed in my garden, usually there is some growing, but I could only find a few plants to use (after the rain it is growing everywhere again). I would have loved to use plantain and chamomile, but I don’t have them growing (yet!). I picked the herbs, rinsed them and then let them wilt overnight before I put them in a jar and poured in enough olive oil to cover the herbs. If you don’t have beneficial herbs growing, you can buy dried herbs (in Australia try All Rare Herbs
) and you should look at planting a few of them as well for future use.
|The wilted herbs in the olive oil on day 1|
After four weeks of infusing, I strained the herbs out of the oil and measured out how much oil I had made, so that I could work out how much beeswax to use following the ratio that Tanya suggested on her blog
– 1g beeswax for every 10 mL of oil.
|The herbs and oil after 6 weeks, nice and murky huh|
I usually buy chunks of beeswax whenever I see it at markets, as its so useful. I also bought a beeswax and lavender leather polish from the same stall that the salve came from, and I use that on my leather boots. Its good for furniture polish too, but we don’t really have any nice furniture to polish :)
I had made about 100 mL of infused oil, so I added a little over 10 g of grated beeswax (I wanted to make sure it was solid). By the way, beeswax is not exactly easy to grate or to clean off the grater! I grated some extra while I was there, so I won’t have to do it again for a while. I heated the oil and beeswax in a small pot in a double-boiler. It took a several minutes of stirring for the beeswax to dissolve, and then suddenly the mixture was very runny, I thought it would never set. I took it off the heat to cool before I added a few of drops of lavender essential oil and a couple of vitamin E capsules for preservative (an antioxidant for the oil rather than an antimicrobial more here
). As it cooled, it thickened very quickly and I had to put the pot back in the hot water to stir in the extra ingredients and pour the mixture into two little jars.
|The strained infused olive oil and some lavender essential oil|
|Plenty of grated beeswax|
|melting the beeswax in the oil over a double boiler|
Compared to my original salve, this one is very green (so the infusion must have worked) and has a different smell, I’m not sure which herb has contributed, but it is rather pungent! I was surprised by how easy it was to make quite a large amount, I expect these two jars of salve to last for ages. Actually that’s a little disappointing because I’d like to make more!What do you think? Have you made salve? Do you want to? Its easy!
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