Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sharing with the Herb Club

Earlier this year, a few of us folks, from the beekeeping club, and I decided it would be fun to get together monthly to explore herbal type things. Everyone invited just whoever else we thought might be interested and we have a nice little group now.We are just a little rural group of folks and our group isn’t anything formal of anything, but loads of fun. When we first started, we would each research an herb and at the meeting we would give a little talk about what we found out and give hand outs to each other. When the weather got nicer, we went for woods and fields walks identifying the wild medicinal and food plants in our area. With the nights coming so soon, we have moved back inside, and this meeting they asked me to demonstrate making salves. I have a new camera, and so my brother and I aren’t too good with it yet, but you will get the idea:) I chose to demonstrate how to make two different salves, one a pine salve and the other rose.

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At home I prefer to work with oils and herbs I have allowed to infuse in a sunny window for 6 weeks+,  but for the demonstration, I just put the rose buds in oil and let them gently infuse for awhile in one pot, on top of a canning ring, in another pot with some water in it. A homemade version of a double boiler. In the other double boiler arrangement, I started some collected pine sap in a bit of olive oil.

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After the pine pitch and the rose had infused awhile, I melted some beeswax, in the same fashion, and slowly incorporated it into the strained oils.

The next picture I am demonstrating how I tell whether I have enough or too little wax in the final product. I just take a dab out and put it on my glass cutting board, (a plate would work), and feel it. It is all a matter of personal preference actually. Some folks might prefer it softer, more like an ointment consistency, some firmer. Jill, in the red, was so cute taking notes and thinking I had a formula! I think I successfully demonstrated that one doesn’t have to have a certain precise recipe. The folk method I use has consistently made good, fragrant, useful salves:) It is no big deal if the salve is too thin or too thick, just a matter of using a bit more oil, or a bit more wax.

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Oils are nice and I frequently just use rose oil and others at home, but salves are nice and less messy for throwing in my purse or using with children:) I felt good to be able to share that working with herbal oils and salves is something any of us can do:)

We sure had a good time, and next month will be great. Steve is going to share with us how to process our horseradish! I will share with you afterwards:)

Love and hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages

10 comments:

Pogostemon said...

Excellent post Leslie.
What a great class this looks to be
xxx

comfrey cottages said...

I so wish you could be with us Lorraine:) I am looking forward to next month as I just started growing horseradish last year, and have never processed it yet! So fun to have a group to exchange ideas and resources with! xxx

Anke said...

It looks like you guys have fun, but also learn a lot at your meetings. Wish your were a bit closer, I'd love to join the club...
Take care,
Anke

Rita M said...

So nice to exchange resources and ideas Leslie.
XXX

Comfrey Cottages said...

Oh Anke I wish we lived near each other too:) we could do many fun things together xx
Rita, I think I shall just come kidnap you, you dear lady, and bring you home with me! lol

Rita M said...

Kidnapping,LOL ... I would like :o)

Comfrey Cottages said...

lol Rita! I sure would like to!!! xxx

ErikTyler said...

This was very fun & interesting. I've known Leslie to make & use salves before, but have never seen her make them. Melted bees wax smells wonderful! I started to use the pine salve to help an infection I have on my neck; It works! Please refer to herbquarterly.com Winter 2010 Medicine Chest "Evergreen Healers" for an article on this. Sister made me some white sage salve, it is great too, love the smell!
~ Erik (Leslie's brother)

*Ulrike* said...

Love this post Leslie! Now you said you used rose buds, are these ones from your garden? Can you take fully blooming roses too? Are there any particular pine trees that you use, and do you get the sap from a cut on the tree or where you see it goop up? So many questions! What would you use the rose one for or the pine one. I'm glad you posted this, I have missed reading them although I haven't been the greatest on blog reading lately either!
Hugs sent your way
Take Care,
Ulrike

Comfrey Cottages said...

Ulrike, no worries, I am very sporadic with posting and being able to post at others blogs also:) These roses I got from another persons bushes and some from the wild. My daughter gifted me a rose late in the season though, so hopefully my own next year:) Yes, any rose that has good scent to it will do hon. The rose salve is good for any sort of chapped, dry skin or just as an everyday salve you would use as any lotion. Once it gets in your hands and you rub it and warm it, it applies very nicely. I like to make sure and smooth it all over my body before going into the cold. I think it helps keep you warm too! The pine pitch I just gathered from where it oozed on my trees, from spots we had removed limbs. Any pine should be just fine dear. When you gather it you won't be able to help getting bark etc. That is fine. Just put it all in a pot with a bit of oil and melt it down. Then you can add as much more oil as you think without diluting it too much. You want to keep it fairly strong. good for extracting splinters, bringing boils to a head,etc. it is antiseptic and generally healing.xx