Saturday, May 26, 2007

Plantain Salve

The other day while we were visiting the allotment I noticed a patch of plantain growing on the grass verge. I remember it used to be everywhere on the lawns of my childhood (my parents weren’t gardeners, you can tell) but hadn’t seen any around here for quite a while. I recalled reading how plantain, made into a salve, was great for wounds, burns, insect bites, chapped skin etc and so, after a bit of Googling, I decided to make some. I adapted several recipes to what I had on hand. I was quite pleased with the results, but I would love to know how any of you make herbal salves as I am only a beginner.

½ oz beeswax
2 Tbsps coconut oil
100g Vaseline
A good handful of fresh plantain leaves (washed and drained)
1 Tbsp calendula oil
12 drops tea tree oil
6 drops lavender oil

Melt the beeswax, coconut oil and Vaseline together. I used just an old saucepan with the heat very low but you could use a double boiler. Add the plantain leaves little by little, mashing them down to submerge them in the liquid. I let them stew on a very low heat for about 15mins but you could leave them in the liquid overnight or for a few hours and then re-melt the mixture later. Strain the mixture into a bowl. Let it cool a little, then add the calendula oil, tea tree and lavender oil. Stir well. As it begins to set, beat well with a wooden spoon. Put into pots.

The result was a pale green salve that filled several pots. I put some in an old lipsalve container to carry in my handbag for emergencies. The calendula oil is very good for irritated skin, the tea tree is a great anti-septic and the lavender is just all round wonderful – but these could be left out or replaced with other oils. I had some leaves left over which we will dry and use to make a herbal vinegar – good for insect bites and stings.

I find learning about the resources for healing that God has provided for us in plants and flowers a fascinating thing. Not that I disdain ‘conventional’ medicine. I praise God for that too. But I think that it is well to be as self reliant as one can be especially when it comes to health care. As a mother I want to be as well informed and prepared as I can possibly be to serve my family in this area and not have to dash to the doctor or the chemist for every little thing. As a Christian, of course, there is nothing really ‘self-reliant’ about it at all. Our daily health is thanks to God’s great goodness and we praise Him for it and I cannot imagine what it would be like to not be able to go to the Lord in prayer over the health issues that sometimes affect our family. God is indeed so good.

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