making herbal salves

i work in a restaurant these days, and often have to stick my arms and hands near very very hot metal. needless to say, people get burnt. though i don't support people getting burnt on purpose or anything, it did make me happy that i could help after the fact with my lavender burn salve.

remember those herb infused oils i made back in the fall? yeah, well, they need to get used up. i only used a very little bit of the lemon balm oil and the lavender oil to make lip balm for myself and a bit of burn salve for a friend. so now i've got these four jars of delicious smelling oil and nothing to do with them.

enter burned friends at work. i mentioned to one that i could bring her in a salve that would help her hand heal, and she was thrilled! awesome. so i went home, mixed up a quick batch, and by the end of the night i had made her split it with another guy in the kitchen who'd burnt his finger really badly about two weeks before. a few days later, his finger was healing beautifully even though the wound had refused to close until then.

last night i decided i should just use up the rest of those oils and make a bunch of salve. in case you want to make your own someday, here's how it works -

grate or finely chop a good handful of beeswax. i got mine from a craft store a year ago, but it'd be better to get it from a local beekeeper if possible (check your local farmer's market). use a little kitchen scale to see how many ounces of infused oil you have, and then pour the oil into a glass or stainless steel pan on low to medium-low heat.

you want beeswax to make up 20% of the total mixture for a nice, spreadable salve, so measure that out on the scale (based on how much oil you had in the last step) and then dump it into the pan where the oil is warming up. stir gently until all the wax is completely melted.

at this point you'll want your containers all lined up and ready. you can use any type of container, really - plastic, metal, glass... i'm using empty altoid tins that my Mom found for me on freecycle. i washed them out thoroughly, of course. they should be completely dry before you pour in the salve.

now turn off your burner and carefully pour the oil/wax mix into your containers. clean the pan and spatula quickly before the wax hardens and makes it a pain in the butt.

let your containers of salve cool for a while (it should only be ten minutes or so before it's cool enough to pick up without spilling). it helps to leave them open to the air to let it really harden to its final consistency.

close them up and label them with the ingredients and date created. infused oils are generally safe for about six months, and i suggest using up your salve in about six months if possible, although if it's sealed tightly it's probably fine for a good while.

apply liberally to cuts, burns, dry skin, chapped lips, etc for all sorts of herbal healing and nourishment!