This recipe was passed to me by my teacher Rosemary Gladstar. She uncovered it in a 16th-century herbal book and modified it. I in turn modified it slightly by adding the plantain to it because it better suited the needs of my children. I wanted one “all-purpose” salve that would cover a multitude of skin problems from 1st and 2nd-degree burns, sunburns, and rashes, to cuts, wounds, bites, and stings, as well as diaper rash for my baby. This salve treats all of the above skin problems extremely well and much more. Experiment with it on those skin conditions that affect your family and watch it work!
1/8 cup (31ml) dried St. John’s wort flowers*
1/8 cup (31ml) dried calendula flowers*
1/8 cup (31ml) dried comfrey leaves*
1/8 cup (31ml) dried plantain leaves*
1 cup (250ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/6 cup (42ml) beeswax, melted
10 drops of benzoin tincture (optional)
6 x 50ml amber glass salve jars
Place herbs in a double boiler (note: use only stainless steel, glass, or enamel pots and utensils). Cover with oil, making sure all the herbs are completely submerged. Cook over boiling water at a low simmer for about 45 minutes. Do not bring oil to a boil or the infusion will be destroyed. Strain herbs using a large strainer lined with unbleached cheesecloth or muslin and squeeze all oil out of herbs. Return oil to the pot and add beeswax. Use 100% pure beeswax only…it should be golden to golden green and not white! Stir in benzoin tincture if needed.
Benzoin tincture is a natural preservative that should be used if you intend to keep the salve outside of the fridge such as in your car or at the office, etc. Without the benzoin, the salve will keep refrigerated for about a year.
Pour salve carefully and quickly before it thickens into clean and sterilized jars, and label with ingredients and date. Keep jar caps screwed on tightly and store in a cool, dark place.
* It is very important to buy quality herbs that have been dried and stored properly. . . herbs that have retained their signature smell and color. . . or the salve will not work!