Research the possible effects on the body before you start, find the properties you would like your healing salve to have. LearningHerbs.com offers information on using herbs including videos, eBook, what you can use from the supermarket and lots more.
Now for the recipe used in class:
Cold infusion method:
Using a container like a canning jar makes this part very easy (the size jar is up to you).
Make a label with the name of the herb, date you are starting the infusion and a place to add the date when you remove the herb material. Mailing labels work well for this.
Fill the jar loosely with the fresh herb material cut into small pieces. Tap the container lightly to shake the material down, do not pack it in. If you use dried herbs, fill the container half way. Add virgin, cold-pressed olive oil nearly to the top. Poke the herbs under the oil with a bamboo skewer, wooden spoon or tongue depressor, i.e. Put a piece of paper towel, cheesecloth or thin fabric the air can pass through on top. Hold it in place with the metal ring of a two part lid, a rubber band or string. There is water in the plant material that needs to escape. Stir the mixture at least once a day until you get the air bubbles out and the material stays submerged in the oil. Leave the container where you will remember to check it often. Six weeks seems to be a good time frame for the process of the herbs infusing their healing properties into the carrier oil. Some take less time. I found with fresh calendula it was best to keep smelling the infusion and removing the material when it smelled wonderful which was less than 6 weeks.
At the end of the infusing period strain out the plant material using a sieve, cheese cloth or unbleached coffee filter (and add the herbs to your compost pile or dig into your garden bed). Your infused oil is ready to use.
The formula for this salve:
- 1 c infused oil or combination of several oils
- 1 oz beeswax
- a few drops of essential oil (optional)
Melt 1 oz. of beeswax in a double boiler or small sauce pan in a pan of hot water. When melted pour in 1 c of your infused oil. The beeswax will harden. Stir until the wax melts again. Pour into containers. You can use preserving jars, small tins or plastic containers. And always label your herbal products with the herbs and oils you have used.