This salve is designed to speed wound healing and prevent infection.
1 ounce dried chickweed
1/4 ounce dried echinacea, goldenseal (cultivated), usnea, or propolis, finely cut
4 ounces olive oil
1/4 ounce beeswax, grated
4 drops tincture of gum benzoin (available in drugstores)
10 drops essential oil such as lavender, rosemary, or peppermint
2 vitamin E capsules
Place the herbs and oil into a slow cooker set on “low” and heat overnight. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Put on rubber gloves and strain the oil through a mesh strainer or a clean muslin cloth, squeezing the herbs tightly. Discard the herbs and return the oil to the cooker, stir in the beeswax, and heat until the wax is melted. Now turn off the heat, stir in the essential oil and intact vitamin E capsules, and pour the salve into clean, dry containers. When the salve reaches room temperature, rub a little on your skin. If it’s too soft, reheat it and add a little more beeswax; if it’s too hard, reheat it and add a little more oil.
Stored in the refrigerator, the salve will keep a year; at room temperature, it will keep several months.
Brigitte Mars, an herbalist and nutritional consultant from Boulder, Colorado, teaches herbology and is the author of many books, including Herbs for Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails (Keats, 1998), Dandelion Medicine (Storey, 1999), and Natural First Aid (Storey, 1999).