We did this with our campers at Buckman today, and it was a lot of fun. So I am posting the info from the handout I made for them to take home. Here ’tis!
Some of the many commonly available plants that are good to use in salve include:
Each of these plants has unique beneficial properties. Please consult a trained herbalist for advice if you are needing to address a specific health concern.
Begin by harvesting all herbs from a safe location away from heavy traffic or other sources of pollution. If you are not able to use them right away, lay the herbs out to dry in a cool place with good air circulation (for instance, in a wicker basket in the mudroom); once they are dry, store herbs for future use in paper bags in a dark, cool, dry place. You can also use the herbs immediately after harvest.
To make salve, you will need:
- Your fresh and/or dried herbs
- A crock pot
- Olive oil
- Strainer/sieve or cheesecloth
- Glass measuring cup
- Stovetop-safe pot
- Small vials or jars with tight-fitting lids (baby food jars work really well)
Follow these simple steps:
- Place your herbs (fresh and/or dried) in a crock pot.
- Cover the herbs with olive oil, then add olive oil so that there is a one-inch layer above the herbs.
- Turn the crock pot on the lowest setting. Put it in a place that is out of the way but still can be checked on easily, making sure to leave the lid off so that any moisture in the herbs can escape.
- Turn the pot off when the herbs have lost their color and turned brittle; this indicates that the plant medicine has transferred from the plants to the oil.
- Pour the oil through a sieve/strainer or a piece of cheesecloth to remove the plant material from the oil. The oil can be strained into a glass measuring cup; you should take note of the total amount.
- Press the sieve or squeeze the cheesecloth to extract all of the oil, then compost the leftover plant material. Please be careful during this step: the oil is very warm.
- Pour the measured oil directly into a stovetop-safe pot.
- Place the pot with the oil in it on the stovetop, turning the heat on low.
- Add chopped beeswax to the oil in the pot. The correct proportion is 1 oz. beeswax for each cup of oil.
- Leave the oil and beeswax on the heat till the beeswax melts.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and pour into vials/jars.
- Let the salve cool. If it hardens too much or too little, reheat and add more oil (if it is too hard) or beeswax (if it is too soft).