I've been interested in decreasing our dependence on chemical medicines for a while, but most pre-made herbal remedies are expensive. They also seem to come in larger portions than I know I'd need, and I really don't want to spend all that money just for something to sit on the shelf and go rancid.
I have a huge dependence on Neosporin at the moment, owing to my dry and ever-cracking cuticles. I also see lots of cuts and scrapes in our future as Ethan plays outside and gets his hands and knees scraped and bruised from falls. I decided that the most beneficial herbal remedy to start with would be a healing salve. I placed an order from BulkHerbStore.com with this in mind.
Two days ago, my box arrived. I had ordered lavender, calendula, yarrow, and comfrey for my salve. I also got yellow organic beeswax to help solidify my oil.
I got a half-pint jar and put equal portions of yarrow, comfrey, arnica, and calendula into it, packing it in pretty tightly. I then added a bit of lavender powder for its calming scent. I poured equal parts olive oil and melted coconut oil into the jar until it was full.
I put the jar on a dishcloth in my crock pot (to prevent scorching), then filled the pot with water and turned it on "low". I let it sit about 24 hours. I've heard to "cook" the mixture for as little as 8 hours and as long as 48. I opted for something in the middle.
Once all the oil was drained and pressed from the herbs, I added a few tablespoons of beeswax and heated the whole mixture up again to melt the wax. I let some of the salve cool on a spoon to test the consistency. When it started to skin over within a minute, I let the whole jar cool. I must have gotten it about right, because when it cooled, it was about as solid as Bag Balm or Carmex. Not drippy, but not difficult to scoop out. If I had overshot, I could have added a bit more olive oil and reheated it. It's definitely more of an art than a science!
After cooling for about 45 minutes, I had this:
I'm not crazy about the smell. I have a sensitive nose, and I avoid most scented products. This is definitely herb-scented, but not too offensive (to me!). I don't have any painful cuts or wounds at the moment, but have a few small scrapes on my hands from my salvaging project a few days ago. One is right in the crease of my palm, so I feel it every time I flex my hand. The salve didn't completely remove the pain, but it's less noticeable. It also hydrated the skin around the cut, so it's not dry and flaky. I'll continue applying it to the scrape, as well as my poor abused cuticles, and see how well it works. It can also be used as a sore muscle and arthritis pain relief rub, so I'll be distributing samples to some family members to test. Results will be posted in a month or so.