Monday, August 3, 2009

Comfrey, Rosemary and Spearmint Oil Update

No time like the present...

So I went out first thing and cut some comfrey leaves, a few sprigs of rosemary, and went on and picked the tomatos (few romas, lots of cherries, and one almost-ripe big tomato).

The thing about making herbal salves is you really have to know what you're putting in them.

For instance, comfrey is a great salve to put on shallow wounds, bruises, skin scrapes, burns, etc. But you don't want too much of it getting into your bloodstream, therefore it isn't appropriate for deep wounds.

Comfrey (as we discussed yesterday) contains allantoin, which speeds up cell replacement. It speeds it up A LOT. For this reason never use straight comfrey salve on a dirty wound. It will heal right over the germs, and seal them in, causing an infection.

Therefore, when making an all-pupose salve, it helps to add an antiseptic herb. There's a long list of what plants are natural antiseptics, but for my purposes I usually pick rosemary.

Rosemary is my wonder drug of choice -easy to grow, drought tolerant, has been shown to fight cancer, regenerate skin cells, goes nice with a roasted turkey, and makes your hair shiny when added to your favorite shampoo. Note: in all of these examples, a little goes a long way.

This is all you need to make your own comfrey/rosemary oil. The olive oil can be virgin, extra-virgin, light virgin, or born-again virgin.

Chop the comfrey up. The leaves have hairs on them that can be uncomfortable to touch. I rinse the leaf off, shake it dry, then roll it up like a taco - the itchy hairs are on the inside then.

Shredded rosemary -I just use the little sprigs, no stems. As usual, each to their own, and I do know people that chop the entire sprig up.

Small pot warming the oil. Don't let it boil. On my stove it takes roughly 3-4 minutes on a 4 setting (out of 5).

Using any jar with a tight-fitting lid, fill it full to the brim with the chopped comfrey and rosemary mixture. Pack it tightly. The more leaves, the more potent the oil will be.

After the oil is warm, pour over the leaves. Cap tightly. Set aside for at least 24 hours.

Tomorrow we make salve. (If I can find beeswax today without running into town). If the mixture needs to sit longer, that's fine.

Meanwhile, remember back in June when we followed damselndistress and made spearmint oil (okay her's was peppermint oil, but it turns out you can do either or both)?

Mine's ready. Actually it has been ready since July 24, but there was no time.

Here's the steeping spearmint leaves in the oil (it's turned a very dark brown in the last month).

Actually it's not very pretty at all is it? But then I'm not Mary Poppins am I ? And this is suppose to be medicine, not candy.

Before storing this, all of the plant matter should be strained out.

This is what's left.

Peppermint oil can be used for headaches, asthma, fatigue (try a hot bath with a few drops of this oil added, or rubbing some on your temples for headache). I've also added it to generic hand lotion and it does wonders for skin that's dry, irritated, or for treating psorisis.

There are various sites that say you can add a single drop to tea (it's very high in Vitamin A and C), but I'm not excited about drinking it or ingesting it at all. That might be the dark peppermint oil, or the thought of tea itself, since I'm not a tea person.

And Miss Damsel says spraying cotton balls with it will keep mice away from their entry points, or even just spraying their favorite areas.

The mice in our house will probably gather up the cotton balls and make little scented pillows from them.

Wish me luck finding beeswax locally. Otherwise I will have to drive 25 miles, and making salve will be much less appealing.

1 comment: