Category Archives: Salves

Wellness Wednesday: Calendula

Calendula officinalis – Also known as marigold or pot marigold.

Calendula’s bright flowers range in color from yellow to a bright orange. It has widely spaced toothy leaves and grows to a height of about 18 inches. Be sure not to confuse this bushy, aromatic annual with African or French Marigold.

It is a readily self seeding annual. Plant in direct sun with well drained soil with moderate water. Pick flower heads daily to encourage more growth. Calendula will repel eelworm in the garden and is a good companion plant for beans, lettuce, potatoes, roses and tomatoes.

Calendula is a great soothing herb for the skin. I use it in a lot of my salves, oil and skin care recipes to sooth and calm skin redness, rash, and irritation. It is good to treat cuts, burns, lacerations, bruises, diaper rash, sprains and inflammation. It promotes rapid healing and helps minimize scarring.

Calendula is great in a poultice for sore nipples, ulcers, sprains and varicose veins.

It is also a very good lymphatic herb that helps thin and drain lymph that sometimes gets clogged and congested.  My husband had very thick lymph around his neck and ears that was causing ear issues and with massage, and Calendula tea, his lymph drainage improved and so did his ear problems. It also boosts immunity by increasing lymphatic drainage. Note that Calendula tea will make you pee a lot, and this is a good thing. Just be sure to drink plenty of water with it to help aid the body in the clearing of toxins from the body.

I hope you can see why this wonderful and beautiful herb is always at hand in my herbal “Medicine Cabinet“.

How do you use Calendula?

 

Shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday.

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Ellie’s Eczema Salve-Improved

One of my very first blogs was about an eczema salve I made for my daughter. This was one of the very first salve recipes I made and it worked pretty well. After a lot more education and practice I have modified the recipe that is much more effective, feels great, and works super well! A little bit goes a long way.

Ingredients:

1/2 c Nettle/olive oil infusion
1/4 c Plantain/olive oil infusion
1/4 c Chamomile/olive oil infusion
1/4 c Callendula/olive oil infusion
1 oz Beeswax
4 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp almond oil
15 drops tea tree essential oil
 

Using the double boiler method on low heat combine oil infusions (see how to make an oil infusion here: http://wp.me/p1zBYP-2u ), coconut and olive oil with the beeswax.

When the beeswax is completely melted remove from heat, add essential oil and pour into container.

While still hot you can check the consistency by dipping a metal spoon in the salve, put it in the refrigerator to cool. Once cool check for consistency. Add more beeswax for a firmer salve, or more almond oil for a softer salve.

Use liberally wherever eczema is. This is safe enough to use on the whole body and is cloth diaper safe. I tend to slather it all over dry skin too. It works like a charm.

Why these ingredients? A reminder.

These ingredients are great for any skin problem, burns, cuts, insect stings, and redness too. It is amazing! Here is the rundown of the plant properties of the plants that went in:

Beeswax: Excellent emmolient and support for moisture. Protects skin from damaging environmental factors. Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-allergenic and a germicidal antioxidant.

Coconut oil: Works well for damaged or dry skin. Works wonders for burns, cuts, rashes, bruises, and speeds healing while it fights infection. Oh, and it smells really tasty too!

Almond oil: As a dry skin treatment, almond oil relieves itchiness, soreness, rashes, dryness, irritation and burns.

Nettle oil infusion: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-dandruff, anti-histamine, astringent, noted for the treatment of infant eczema

Plantain oil infusion: Used for wounds, skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings and swellings and said to promote healing without scars. (Great if you have a bug bite or sting, takes the pain and sting right out!)

Calendula essential oil: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-anaphylactic,anti-rheumatic, anti-asthmatic, anti-convulsant, anti-dandruff, anti-histamine, astringent, decongestant, depurative, diuretic, haemostatic, immunomodulator, stimulating tonic

Tea Tree Essential Oil: Tea tree oil is efficacious in various dilution in treating abrasions, minor cuts, acne, arthritis, asthma, athletes foot, minor burns, chapped lips, rash from chicken pox, dandruff, dry skin, eczema, herpes lesions, warts, hives, shingles, etc.

Chamomile:  anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-allergenic and sedative properties

 

Posted on Live Renewed – Your Green Resource

Diaper Salve-For the angry baby butt

This is just a quick post about the diaper salve I make for Ellie. It works great, is all natural and is anti bacterial, viral and fungal. Yes it kills fungus. Thank you tea tree oil! And as an added bonus, you can use it with cloth diapers!

1/2 cup Plantain infused olive oil
1/4c Nettle infused olive oil
1/4 Callendula infused olive oil (You can also use chamomile in a pinch)
1 oz of bees wax.

Melt together on low heat with the double boiler method. The bees wax melts faster and more evenly if you grate it on the cheese grater first. The flakes melt nice and evenly. Remove from heat.

Add

20 drops tea tree (Melaleuca) Essential oil,
20 drops Lavender Essential oil
10 drops Callendula Essential oil.

Pour in container and let solidify. If you want it a little creamyer add 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 oz bees wax instead.

Apply liberally to baby’s bum as needed for rash. Enjoy!

For how to make an herb infused oil see http://wp.me/p1zBYP-2u

This cream also works well on baby (and mommy’s) dry skin in a pinch.

How to make a herb/oil infusion

I was explaining to someone how I make Ellie’s Butt Salve and I mentioned herbal oil infusions. One of the gals I was talking to didn’t know how to make one so I figured I would write it all out and add pictures.

There are two ways to make herb infused oils. If you have fresh herbs you can use both ways but if you have time the way that is most recommended is to get a glass jar, (mason jar, or re-use a pickle jar, jam, whatever is glass really), and get the herb you would like an oil infusion of, (I have chamomile, plantain, nettle, comphrey, and will make ginger shortly), and some olive oil. Cold pressed is always best but you do not want to use extra virgin. Get the cheap second or third press of olive oil instead. One of my instructors said it actually has more benefit to the body and does not go rancid as quickly.

*Since writing this I have taken another class that recommends using extra virgin olive oil because of its purity and having a similar PH as human skin. The more classes I take the more I realize these things really are a personal preference.

Take your herbs and chop them up. The herb you are using will depend on what part of the plant to use. With infusions it is usually fine to use the whole plant but some parts of the plant have more medicinal benefit and beneficial oils in certain parts.

Put the herb chopping in the jar as full and well packed as you can. Pour olive oil over the herbs completely covering all of the plant material. The lack of air exposure is what will keep your herbs from not rotting so make sure you cover your plant matter completely! Get a wood stick (I use chopsticks), tongue depresser or something to run along the inside of the jar gently removing air bubbles from around the plant matter. Put a piece of cheese cloth over the top of the jar with a rubber band and let it sit in a cool dry place (I kept mine on a shelf in the mud room) for 6-8 weeks. You leave the jar open to air with fresh herbs so the water from the herb can escape the oil and not turn the oil rancid.  Invert jar a few times a day to make sure the herbs are always covered with oil.

callendula and plantain in a jar

Strain the oil into a container using the cheese cloth and squeeze out all of the oil from the plant material. When you squeeze out the oil at the end you will get some very beneficial oils so don’t be lazy, squeeze it good! Cap and label the oil (ex. Chamomile infused in olive oil) and store in cool dark dry place and use as needed.

This method only works with fresh herbs. It will not work with dry herbs so do not try it! It will just be a waste of your supplies and make you sad.

Straining plantain

The other way is with heat. This method can be used with fresh or dry herbs depending on the season and what you have. Your oil will not be as potent but it still works pretty darn well if you ask me. This is the method I use when I procrastinate or need a new oil quickly.

Get your herbs and olive oil and prepare as stated above. You can put the herbs either in a glass jar, like a mason jar, or a glass bowl, (I use a pyrex measuring cup, It can handle heat and the handle hooks onto the side of a pan easily and makes everything work wonderfully).

Get a sauce pan and add water. Set the pyrex into the pan with the handle hooked over the side making sure that the water level is not high enough to get into the pyrex when the water is boiling. (You don’t want extra water in your oil). This is called a double boiler method. Add herbs to the pyrex container and pour in oil. Turn on heat to the pan on medium low and let the water boil on low for 2-4 hours. You will have to add water as the water in the pan boils off. The longer you let it warm and infuse the more potent the oil will be. Refill water in pan as needed to maintain boiling and not to dry out pan (yeah I did that).

When the oil is well infused get a glass jar/measuring cup and a small mesh strainer, put cheese cloth inside the strainer and pour the oil through that into the jar. Once the remaining herbs cool enough squeeze the hell out of that cheesecloth and herbs (as said above) to get all those good lingering oils out. Enjoy your oil and store in a cool dry place for up to  a year. This oil can be used immediately and does not have to sit and wait.

You can also do the heat method with dried herbs in mason jars covered with olive oil in a very low heat crock pot (do not let the heat get over 100 degrees) or yogurt maker. In a crock pot do a double boiler method for 4-6 hours. Most crock pots get too hot, even on low setting, and will cook/fry your herbs leaving the oil with a cooked smell that is not pleasant. I am not a fan of this method. Yogurt makers maintain a lower level heat so using the double boiler method with mason jars leave the oil in the yogurt maker for 4 days, shaking twice a day. I have never tried this but it is in my medicine making book so I thought I would share.

Was that helpful? I hope so! How do you infuse your oils? What is your favorite oil to use?

Ellie’s Eczema Salve

I updated this recipe with better oil proportions to maximize healing and improve the texture. The new salve, although containing the same ingredients is way better! Here is the link. http://wp.me/p1zBYP-47

I wanted to do an update on the salve I made for miss Ellie last weekend.

Ingredients:
2oz Bees Wax
2tbsp coconut oil
1tbsp almond oil
4tbsp nettle/olive oil infusion
2tbsp plantain/olive oil infusion
20 drops calendula essential oil
12 drops tea tree essential oil
1 bag of chamomile tea

Melt all ingredients except the essential oils together over indirect heat (I had a large glass measuring bowl placed inside a pan with boiling water), until it has melted completely into liquid. Note that bees wax takes a long time to melt initially and is a PAIN to clean up if you get it everywhere, so I suggest buying bees wax in 1 oz bars, not the 1/2 pound block I bought (the 1/2 lb block doesn’t cut down well either). I am sure the 1oz bars would be MUCH easier to use! After all the oils are melted together, turn off the heat, add the essential oils, mix well (with wood spoons no metal or plastic), and pour into glass jars.

For economy sake I used baby food jars which worked wonderfully! They are the perfect size for the salve, store well, and seal very well.

As for how the cream works it is wonderful! Ellie had a nasty scaly patch of eczema over both her eyebrows that would not go away! I refused to use cortisone cream or any over the counter meds and I have to say this worked wonders. My batch was pretty big (5 baby food jars) so if you could use some let me know! I am still perfecting the recipe and would love some input!

These ingredients are great for any skin problem, burns, cuts, insect stings, and redness too. It is amazing! Here is the rundown of the plant properties of the plants that went in:

Beeswax: Excellent emmolient and support for moisture. Protects skin from damaging environmental factors. Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-allergenic and a germicidal antioxidant.

Coconut oil: Works well for damaged or dry skin. Works wonders for burns, cuts, rashes, bruises, and speeds healing while it fights infection. Oh, and it smells really tasty too!

Almond oil: As a dry skin treatment, almond oil relieves itchiness, soreness, rashes, dryness, irritation and burns.

Nettle oil infusion: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-dandruff, anti-histamine, astringent, noted for the treatment of infant eczema

Plantain oil infusion: Used for wounds, skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings and swellings and said to promote healing without scars. (Great if you have a bug bite or sting, takes the pain and sting right out!)

Calendula essential oil: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-anaphylactic,anti-rheumatic, anti-asthmatic, anti-convulsant, anti-dandruff, anti-histamine, astringent, decongestant, depurative, diuretic, haemostatic, immunomodulator, stimulating tonic

Tea Tree Essential Oil: Tea tree oil is efficacious in various dilution in treating abrasions, minor cuts, acne, arthritis, asthma, athletes foot, bladder infections, bronchial congestion, minor burns, chapped lips, rash from chicken pox, dandruff, dry skin, earaches, eczema, head colds, lice, herpes lesions, warts, hives, shingles, etc.

Chamomile:  anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-allergenic and sedative properties