Nature’s Remedies 101
Salves, Oils and Cures – a Beginning
I just read the most interesting article on Yarrow – wild yarrow in particular.
It has wonderful and plentiful medicinal benefits and it is easy to gather and easy to use. One of the uses is to just chew it – swallowing the juices for headache relief or fast relief of pain. But – beware – the juices are very bitter – but good for you!
Over the years we, as a society in general, have moved away from nature’s remedies. Perhaps it is age or having time – not sure what – but I am leaning towards learning more and beginning to use some of those natural cures and remedies.
The other “weed” we all have in our yards is that very familiar dandelion.
My mother used to tell me about having dandelion greens in their salads in England. Just a little too bitter for me – perhaps I never gathered them earlier enough when they were young and tender – but just didn’t work for me. However those pesky yellow flowers have value!
Let’s begin with the process so you can join in this fun. For the infused oil you need an olive oil or a grape seed oil. I have used both and don’t see much difference between the two.
After you have gathered your yarrow – or the dandelions – spread the leaves/flowers out on a surface covered with an absorbent layer (cloth or paper towels) and allow to dry overnight.
Yarrow: Cut the yarrow leaves into 1″ pieces or so. Fill a pint jar with the leaves – about 4 cups – and cover with the oil. Make sure all the leaves are completely covered. Place the jar in a cupboard for three to four weeks. If you want your oil faster you can place the jar with the yarrow and the oil in an inch or two of water in a saucepan, bring the water just to a boil and turn off the heat. Allow the jar to cool in the water and then seal and store – oil will be ready in 48 hours.
Dandelion: Place the flowers in a pint jar – again using about four cups – which means you are pushing them down into the jar. Cover with the oil and follow the same process as for the yarrow.
Your oils have great use just as oils. Once your oil is infused, drain all the oil off the yarrow/dandelions. Personally I found an old nylon stocking worked well but cheesecloth will work also – do your best to salvage all the oil. I store my oils in dark blue bottles with a stopper which I purchased on Ebay.
On to the salves: Both salves are similar except I like to add a little lavender oil to the dandelion salve just to dress it up a bit. You will find that you will use the yarrow salve for cuts, scrapes, bruises, to help stop bleeding on small cuts. The dandelion with a hint of lavender – for massaging into those achy feet and backs after a long day of work on the homestead.
-16 oz of infused dandelion oil; 2 oz coconut oil; 2 oz of beeswax ( you can purchase beeswax on line – Amazon.com); 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil – OPTIONAL.
Place the coconut oil and the beeswax in a jar in a saucepan with about 2″ of water. Heat until the wax has melted, add the infused oil and the essential oil – stir until well mixed and then pour into small jars for storage. Dandelion salve has some pain relieving properties but also is wonderful for dry and cracking skin – feet and hands as well as just a nice smooth salve for arms and legs. Because the dandelion has coconut oil it will begin to melt quickly when you apply. Enjoy!!
The yarrow salve you will use 1 cup of yarrow infused oil and 2 oz of beeswax. Place the two ingredients into a glass jar and place the jar in a saucepan with about 2″ of water. Heat until the beeswax is melted and then pour into small jars for storage.
Be sure to store any remaining oil in dark colored bottles out of the sunlight. Enjoy!!