Herbal balm recipe

I hesitate to write about anything homemade right now.  It seems like a bit of a farce considering we’re straggling through each week and I made this batch of balm awhile ago, but I’m going to go ahead and post this for two reasons (see end of post)…

Ingredients:

  1.  2.5 cups oil
  2. 75 grams beeswax  (I use a small kitchen scale whenever I use grated beeswax.  The results are too unpredictable when using volume measures.)
  3. 10 drops of an essential oil (optional)

Yes, it’s that simple.

In the following pictures you will see that I infused my oil with medicinal herbs.  This step in not necessary, but it results in a multi-functional product.

Step One – Infuse oil with herbs.  (There are many different kinds of oil to choose from.  I often use a mix of grapeseed, olive and canola oil).  In this batch I combined some oil I had infused at room temp. for several weeks, with oil infused in a double-boiler.  I used the following garden/wild botanicals: calendula, spruce tips, dandelion blossoms, plantain, red clover, golden rod, and chamomile.


Step two:  Strain herbs out of the oil (I use a bodom coffee press that we don’t make coffee in anymore.)

Step Three:  Grate beeswax and melt in a double boiler.  (It could be the same one you used for infusing the herbs.)

I buy my beeswax in big bricks from a local honey farmer.

Step Four:  Once the beeswax has melted, add the oils and stir until everything is combined.  Take the mix off the heat, add the essential oils, and stir.  Pour into clean sterilized jars and store at room temp.  This lasts a long time.  I’ve never had it go bad yet.

jars of cooled balm

Reason #1 for posting—–Versatility

We reach for this all-natural balm whenever we need

  • an anti-septic wound healer
  • anti-itch cream
  • lip balm
  • muscle relaxant
  • diaper rash cream (the reason I first learned to make it)
  • cough suppressant (Whenever the girls start hacking at night I rub this onto their backs.)
  • psychological cure-all

This is one homemade product where you get a lot of bang for your energy/time buck

Reason #2 for posting—-Upcoming mini-conference for mothers in Manitoba!

On November 3 I will be attending an event for moms called INSPIRE.  There will be workshops (photography, women’s health, clean food, etc), a speaker (me!), and a lunch.  The lovely and talented organizers are also planning to have a  “take-away” table full of good ideas.  Imagine Pinterest in real life.  I will be bringing this balm, and the instructions I typed out here, as my contribution…

If you are interested in attending, leave a comment and I will send you more details.

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Last call for Red Clover!

I was stumbling around in a patch of red clover not so long ago, lunging excitedly in every direction trying to harvest as many blossoms as possible.  Today, when I biked by the same patch I noticed it was mostly brown, but there are still a few luscious pink flowers left.  So, if you live in zone 2, you can relax!  It’s not too late to try foraging these little beauties.  I think they might just be my favourite “wild” plant to harvest, (as of right this minute… it’ll probably change by next week).  They look  almost as edible as strawberries to me, and the bees certainly seem to agree.  And, the great thing is how they taste.  The tea is very mild, unlike many other concoctions I’ve choked down this summer, willing myself to like them because of their medicinal qualities.

I dry my flowers in old window screens

red clover, chamomile, bachelor button, and lemon balm – the last 3 are from my garden

When you think your house is a mess, consider adding trays full of drying flowers and small insects. You’ll feel so much better about your current situation. (Forthcoming visitors: I’m now leaving my screens in the garage.)

So, what am I going to do with the red clover you ask?

Dry it, infuse it (in oil for creams and salves) and boil it (for tea, of course).  I think the dried blossoms will make a great addition to a wild flower tea.

The next logical question is… Why?

Red Clover, or Trifolium pratense,  acts as a mild sedative and is a pleasant before-bed tonic.  It is useful for treating coughs, sore throats, and skin conditions like acne, rashes, and exzema.  Herbalists consider it a “woman’s herb” to help with menstrual problems and menopause.  It is also full of vitamins and minerals.*

Last year I saved only 3 jars of dried chamomile. This year I have more, and next year’s list is already started with the plants I missed this season.

***

Lastly, here’s a tip from my very unpredictable and inconsistent kitchen: try adding a little miso to your steamed/sautéed green beans.  I tried it this week for variation and thought the fermented soy complemented the fresh beans nicely.  Although I was disappointed by parts of my garden this year, the beans pulled through, as they always do.  We have been eating them frequently, (well, every day for lunch and supper to be honest); hence the miso experiment.

A generous pat of butter never hurts the flavour either.

Happy Monday!

*Sources:

The Boreal Herbal: Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North by Beverly Gray

Edible and Medicinal Plants of Canada, published by Lone Pine