If you grow calendula and comfrey, dry the flowers of the former and the leaves of the latter and store in separate jars in a cupboard. Alternatively, buy from an herb store or online retailer.
• 1-1⁄2 cups olive, apricot or almond oil 1⁄2 cup dried, crumbled calendula flowers
• 1⁄2 cup dried, crumbled comfrey leaves
• 1⁄4 cup grated beeswax
1. The first step is to heat the oil enough to release the plants’ active ingredients. Use one of two methods:
• Pour herbs into a clean, dry jar. Add oil until herbs are covered. Stir with a chopstick or wooden spoon. As herbs absorb the oil, add more oil to thoroughly cover herbs. Screw on lid. Place jar in a sunny window and shake daily for two weeks.
• Add herbs and oil to the top of a double boiler. Make sure herbs are completely covered with oil. Heat on low for 30 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Strain oil through cheesecloth into a glass measuring cup. This is an herbal oil. You can stop here, label the oil in a lidded jar and store in a dark place. Use it topically on cuts or skin irritation. Or follow the next steps to turn the oil into a salve.
3. Grate beeswax (or use ready-made beeswax pastilles). Combine oil and grated beeswax in a double boiler and heat just until beeswax melts. Stir to thoroughly combine.
4. To check the consistency, drop a small amount onto a plate and let cool. If too soft, add more beeswax. If too firm, add more oil. Pour immediately into a clean, dry jar or tin. Screw on the cap and label. The salve will solidify as it cools. Store in a cool cupboard or refrigerator. Apply as needed to bruises and small burns, scrapes and cuts.
Learn more about treating minor injuries, naturally, in Building Your Natural First-Aid Kit: Herbal Skin Healers.