From the Kitchen Witch's Pantry: Salves by Bahuvrihi
I have often found that adventures in the great outdoors lead to cuts, scrapes, bruises and insects bites. I thought I would share with everyone a couple of salve recipes that I have used for myself and my family. The first is to help soothe the toll taken by our outdoor adventures and the second is one that helps us “see” into the fairy realms.
Salves are a lot of fun to make but they take some time and preparation - a month to two months of planning and forethought is necessary. You can speed up the process to just a couple of days using more modern techniques.
1. Step One: Pick your oil.
What will you be using for your base? For me I am a fan of light vegetable based oil such as safflower or sunflower, rather than a nut based oil such as almond or olive, but any of these light oils that are safe for food will work as a base.
2. Step Two: Pick your herbs.
Dried or fresh, both work great but require different preparation methods.
If you are using dried herbs you are good to go – no special preparation is required.
If you are using fresh herbs let the herbs hang for 12 to 24 hours to help remove some of the moisture from the plants. It helps with the essential oil extraction.
For your first attempt pick just three herbs. Some of my favorites for these salves are:
Fairy Salve: Rosa (rose - any variety but wild found or wild roses are best in my opinion), Lavandula angustifolia (lavender), Melissa officinalis (lemon balm), Althaea officinalis (marshmallow root) and grass clippings from inside a fairy ring or found on a fairy mound.
- Working with herbs is both chemistry and alchemy
- Resist the urge to throw all the healing herbs you can think of into your salve. This is an occasion where less is more. Not all herbs work well together.
- Know your allergies – it kind of goes with knowing your herbs but something to consider if you plan to share this salve with a friend. Salves cannot heal if someone is allergic to one of your ingredients
- Get to know the herbs you are using. Pick the herbs up, smell them, taste them and feel their energies and learn their personalities.
3. Step Three: Pick your containers and cooking vessels.
Glass or ceramic containers work best. I find canning jars ideal for both steeping my oil and storing my salve. Do not use aluminum or copper.
4. Step Four: Pick your thickening agent.
For 90% of salves bees wax is best, however cocoa butter or Candelilla wax (a vegan alternative to bees wax) can also be used. What you use to thicken your salve will contribute to the healing properties of your salve.
5. Step Five: Set your intention.
Gather your supplies, cleanse everything both physically and magically, and set your intention. Then let the fun happen.
6. Step Six: Place your herbs into a glass jar and cover with oil.
Place in the sun if you are looking for solar energy to add or in the moonlight should you be looking for lunar energy. Herbs need to steep in their oil for at least a month. Your oil is ready for use when it smells strongly of the herbs being used. For a rushed batch place your glass jar of oil and herbs into a crock pot set on low for 24 to 48 hours.
7. Step Seven: Strain your herbs.
Strain your herbs, reserving the oil. I like to make sure that the herbs I use are safely disposed of in my compost pile.
8. Step Eight: Melt your agent and mix with your oil.
Melt your thickening agent and mix with your herbal infused oil – it doesn’t take much. I like a 1 part thickening agent to 8 parts oil ratio. This makes a nice soft salve that is easy to spread on the skin and absorbs well.
9. Step Nine: Store your salve.
Pour your salve into glass jars, cover with a lid and use as needed. Be sure to label and date your containers. Salves should remain good for about a year and then begin to lose their potency.