Earlier this year, a few of us folks, from the beekeeping club, and I decided it would be fun to get together monthly to explore herbal type things. Everyone invited just whoever else we thought might be interested and we have a nice little group now.We are just a little rural group of folks and our group isn’t anything formal of anything, but loads of fun. When we first started, we would each research an herb and at the meeting we would give a little talk about what we found out and give hand outs to each other. When the weather got nicer, we went for woods and fields walks identifying the wild medicinal and food plants in our area. With the nights coming so soon, we have moved back inside, and this meeting they asked me to demonstrate making salves. I have a new camera, and so my brother and I aren’t too good with it yet, but you will get the idea:) I chose to demonstrate how to make two different salves, one a pine salve and the other rose.
At home I prefer to work with oils and herbs I have allowed to infuse in a sunny window for 6 weeks+, but for the demonstration, I just put the rose buds in oil and let them gently infuse for awhile in one pot, on top of a canning ring, in another pot with some water in it. A homemade version of a double boiler. In the other double boiler arrangement, I started some collected pine sap in a bit of olive oil.
After the pine pitch and the rose had infused awhile, I melted some beeswax, in the same fashion, and slowly incorporated it into the strained oils.
The next picture I am demonstrating how I tell whether I have enough or too little wax in the final product. I just take a dab out and put it on my glass cutting board, (a plate would work), and feel it. It is all a matter of personal preference actually. Some folks might prefer it softer, more like an ointment consistency, some firmer. Jill, in the red, was so cute taking notes and thinking I had a formula! I think I successfully demonstrated that one doesn’t have to have a certain precise recipe. The folk method I use has consistently made good, fragrant, useful salves:) It is no big deal if the salve is too thin or too thick, just a matter of using a bit more oil, or a bit more wax.
Oils are nice and I frequently just use rose oil and others at home, but salves are nice and less messy for throwing in my purse or using with children:) I felt good to be able to share that working with herbal oils and salves is something any of us can do:)
We sure had a good time, and next month will be great. Steve is going to share with us how to process our horseradish! I will share with you afterwards:)
Love and hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages