A Healing Herbal Balm


Herbs used:

  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
  • Plantain (Plantago major)

This sweet-smelling balm soothes and protects cuts and scrapes. And it’s so gentle you can even use it on diaper rash. Calendula and plantain are known for their ability to speed skin healing. Both soften skin, relieve pain, and are antibacterial.

First make an herb-infused oil. In a large glass jar, combine the following:

  • 2 tablespoons crushed Calendula flowers
  • 2 tablespoons dried Plantain leaves
  • 1/3 c of extra-virgin olive oil

Leave uncovered, and place in a pan filled with enough water to cover the lower half of the jar. Set the burner on very low heat and simmer gently for about 4 hours. Check the oil periodically to be sure it’s not scorching; don’t let it boil. (You can also make the infused oil in a Crock-Pot set on very low without a lid.) After the allotted time, remove the oil from the heat and allow it to cool completely. Strain away the herbs through several layers of cheesecloth and discard.

To make the balm, combine the following:

  • The oil you just infused
  • 1 or 2 tablespoon of grated beeswax

Put it into a small stainless steel bowl; set the bowl into a pot of water and heat just until the beeswax melts, stirring gently to help the melting. To test the consistency, insert a cool metal spoon into the balm and check the balm that sticks to the spoon; it should be spreadable but firm. If it’s too oily, add another few shavings of beeswax.

At this point, you can add a natural preservative to your balm to prevent spoilage. Vitamin E, squeezed from capsules, works very well. Rosemary extracts or oil might improve the aroma and antiseptic properties as well. You’ll need about 1/4 tsp. (two capsules) to preserve this much balm. After you’ve blended in the vitamin E, transfer your final product to a sterile glass jar. Use a clean spoon or small spatula to transfer the balm to avoid introducing bacteria to the jar.

How to use it:

Apply the balm to rashes, scrapes, and other small or superficial abrasions (don’t use it on deep cuts). You can also apply it regularly to help heal chronically chapped skin. Stored in a cool, dark place, the balm should keep for up to a year. Discard if it smells rancid.

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