All salves (thick-ish ointments) are made with 2 basic ingredients:
oil extract - which contains the healing properties of your herbs of choice
which hardens your oil to keep those healing goodies right where you want them.
The amount of beeswax you use
determines how solid your salve is.
Chapstick is basically just a really thick salve in a tube.
For our Green Stuff,
which is our use-for-pretty-much-all-bug-bites-and-minor-skin-irritations salve,
and if I have it, a bit of echinacea.
Oil extracts are made by 'steeping' dry herbs in olive oil for a few days.
(fresh can be used, to, but probably if you are growing your own herbs,
you already know this stuff...)
Just fill a clean jar half full with your herbs of choice
and fill the jar the rest of the way with oil, leaving a bit of headspace.
Stick the jar in a crockpot full of warm water set to low
and leave it for three days.
(Really, any fairly warm spot will work,
but you might leave the mixture brewing an extra day or so.)
Shake the jar when you think about it.
After a few days, when your oil is nice and colorful
- in the case of Green Stuff, the oil is, if you can imagine, green -
I put a piece of t-shirt in a small metal strainer
and pour the oil extract through it,
squeezing the t-shirt 'filter' when it gets full
to get every last drop of herbal goodness.
You can use the oil as is,
but it's much easier to use, and more beneficial
(because of the previously mentioned staying-on-your-skin bit)
made into a slave, ointment, balm - whatever you want to call it.
To do so,
simply put your oil in a glass container
(I use a pyrex 2 cup measuring cup)
set it on the stove in a pan of hot water over med. heat
and add 1 oz. (2 Tbs) beeswax for every 3 oz oil.
Stir until your beeswax is completely melted and remove from heat.
You can be finished now
or you can add a few capsules of vitamin e (as a preservative)
and / or a few drops of essential oils to the mix.
I usually add the vit. e, and also some lavender oil to aid in healing
and orange oil - for fragrance.
Pour your mixture into clean containers
and be all giddy as you watch it harden up.
Taking your concoctions out for a photo shoot is completely optional ;-)