herb gathering and making healing salves

Gathering/Wildcrafting

This past August, I made a trip out to the New Mexico mountains to visit with my dear friends, Danelle and Jeannie, and to collect herbs to make salve.  Danelle and I had a small herb company back in the 90s, Mountain Bear Herbs.

I have missed making concoctions and getting my hands green (witch green!).  Last year I made some salve again, and since it seemed to be a hit with friends and family, I’m upping the production this year.

horse

Horse Grazing in Ocate with Wild Iris Blooming / Photo by Danelle Smith

root

Jeannie lives on a beautiful ranch, and on her property grows osha, a magical herb that grows above 8,000 feet, and whose root is superb for immune building and respiratory illnesses.

cat-hike

Sky, the most amazing cat, goes with us on herb gathering treks.  He learned to hike from his doggy best friend, Yoda.

camp1
We camped at Danelle’s property up in Luna Canyon, where lots of medicine grows.

camp3

Accommodations at Camp Luna are pretty cushy.
Big tent, by the river, complete with soothing sounds, starry skies, and a comfy bed!

camp2

By the edges of the stream, there is red clover; and a beautiful little flowering plant called self-heal, or heal-all.  It is one of the ingredients in our Heal-All Salve.

hike1

Hiking up the stream by the little waterfall is enchanting.

hike2

The herbs we collect for salves are arnica, self-heal, plantain, usnea, yerba mansa, and grindelia.

Making Herbal Healing Salve–Step by Step

herbs1

Usnea, Plantain, Comfrey, Self-heal, Calendula, Yerba Mansa, Grindelia

herbs3

After drying the herbs thoroughly, chop them up into very small pieces, and put them all in a large non-reactive pot.

herbs2

Moisten the herbs with alcohol (grain alcohol is best).  Let this sit for 2-3 hours or more. The alcohol draws out the active ingredients in the plant material. After allowing the alcohol to do its work, pour in olive oil until it just covers the dried herbs in the pot.

herbs5 herbs4

Place the pot on the stove and heat on LOW, being vigilant about not letting the herbs and oil to get too hot.  You should be able to put your finger in the mix without it burning.  Stir often, and mash the herbs into the oil.  Allow to keep warm for a couple of hours, then just let everything cool down.

herbs6

Pour and push the whole oily mix through a large strainer. Squeeze all the goodness out of the plant material, and if you have a garden or compost pile…
you know what to do.

herbs8 herbs7

Place the pot of strained oil on the stove and heat on very low.

herbs9

Add beeswax and stir until it melts.

herbs10

Quantity of beeswax:  about one dry ounce for each 6-7 ounces of liquid.

herbs11

Optional:  Add vitamin E oil and favorite essential oil to the pot–mine is lavender and sage.

herbs12

Then pour into clean jars.

herbs14

Label the jars.

herbs15

The finished product!

This is definitely a labor of love, and a lot of people would rather not go to the trouble,  but it’s sure a nice, cozy thing to do when the weather gets cold and nasty out; and you will LOVE having the magic salve!

Arnica Salve:

for bruises, swelling, sprains, strains, muscle soreness, arthritis, tendonitis, etc.  Not to be used on broken skin.

Heal-All Salve:

Rashes, itching, hives, diaper rash, cuts, scrapes, abrasions, cold sores, fever blisters, just about anything…

You can contact me if you’d like to try a jar!

Gathering/Wildcrafting

This past August, I made a trip out to the New Mexico mountains to visit with my dear friends, Danelle and Jeannie, and to collect herbs to make salve.  Danelle and I had a small herb company back in the 90s, Mountain Bear Herbs.

I have missed making concoctions and getting my hands green (witch green!).  Last year I made some salve again, and since it seemed to be a hit with friends and family, I’m upping the production this year.

horse

Horse Grazing in Ocate with Wild Iris Blooming / Photo by Danelle Smith

root

Jeannie lives on a beautiful ranch, and on her property grows osha, a magical herb that grows above 8,000 feet, and whose root is superb for immune building and respiratory illnesses.

cat-hike

Sky, the most amazing cat, goes with us on herb gathering treks.  He learned to hike from his doggy best friend, Yoda.

camp1
We camped at Danelle’s property up in Luna Canyon, where lots of medicine grows.

camp3

Accommodations at Camp Luna are pretty cushy.
Big tent, by the river, complete with soothing sounds, starry skies, and a comfy bed!

camp2

By the edges of the stream, there is red clover; and a beautiful little flowering plant called self-heal, or heal-all.  It is one of the ingredients in our Heal-All Salve.

hike1

Hiking up the stream by the little waterfall is enchanting.

hike2

The herbs we collect for salves are arnica, self-heal, plantain, usnea, yerba mansa, and grindelia.

Making Herbal Healing Salve–Step by Step

herbs1

Usnea, Plantain, Comfrey, Self-heal, Calendula, Yerba Mansa, Grindelia

herbs3

After drying the herbs thoroughly, chop them up into very small pieces, and put them all in a large non-reactive pot.

herbs2

Moisten the herbs with alcohol (grain alcohol is best).  Let this sit for 2-3 hours or more. The alcohol draws out the active ingredients in the plant material. After allowing the alcohol to do its work, pour in olive oil until it just covers the dried herbs in the pot.

herbs5 herbs4

Place the pot on the stove and heat on LOW, being vigilant about not letting the herbs and oil to get too hot.  You should be able to put your finger in the mix without it burning.  Stir often, and mash the herbs into the oil.  Allow to keep warm for a couple of hours, then just let everything cool down.

herbs6

Pour and push the whole oily mix through a large strainer. Squeeze all the goodness out of the plant material, and if you have a garden or compost pile…
you know what to do.

herbs8 herbs7

Place the pot of strained oil on the stove and heat on very low.

herbs9

Add beeswax and stir until it melts.

herbs10

Quantity of beeswax:  about one dry ounce for each 6-7 ounces of liquid.

herbs11

Optional:  Add vitamin E oil and favorite essential oil to the pot–mine is lavender and sage.

herbs12

Then pour into clean jars.

herbs14

Label the jars.

herbs15

The finished product!

This is definitely a labor of love, and a lot of people would rather not go to the trouble,  but it’s sure a nice, cozy thing to do when the weather gets cold and nasty out; and you will LOVE having the magic salve!

Arnica Salve:

for bruises, swelling, sprains, strains, muscle soreness, arthritis, tendonitis, etc.  Not to be used on broken skin.

Heal-All Salve:

Rashes, itching, hives, diaper rash, cuts, scrapes, abrasions, cold sores, fever blisters, just about anything…

You can contact me if you’d like to try a jar!

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Email
  • carol September 1, 2013, 6:46 pm

    hi, do you sell the salves you make? I am interested in the self heal and arnica. thank you

    • Barbara Swift September 17, 2013, 4:07 pm

      Hi Carol,
      So sorry for the late reply!
      I used to sell the salves, I haven’t for the last few years. However, I would be happy to do that again for anyone interested. I have several jars of each kind on hand, and I am about to make more.
      You can email me if you would like some: barbara@swiftwellnessandhealing.com
      Barbara

Leave a Comment