To make salve, we extract the beneficial properties of our herbs in oil, then add beeswax to harden the oil. My recipes are based on the Simplers' Method of calculating proportions. These recipes require you to use parts rather than a specific volume of each herb. This technique allows you to easily adapt the recipe. If you want a small amount of salve you can choose one tablespoon as your part, if you want a large amount of salve you might choose 1/2 - 1 cup as your part.
The amount of oil needed is enough to completely cover the herbs, plus an inch of oil above the level of the herbs. The tricky part of this is determining exactly how much beeswax is needed to harden the salve. You can approximate the proportions based on the following equivalents. One pint of oil will need about 1 1/2 ounces of beeswax, or one ounce of oil will need about 1/2 teaspoon of beeswax. There are about 5 teaspoons of beeswax in an ounce.
If you intend to make your salve using freshly collected plants, you will Want to clean them. Do this by shaking them to remove dirt then spread the herbs out to allow them to air dry for several hours (until wilted ) to reduce the moisture content.
To begin your salve, measure the desired amount of herbs into an enamel or stainless steel pan, or into a crock pot. Cover the herbs with oil. Use enough oil to cover the herbs plus another inch of oil above the level of herbs. Heat the herbs and oil over a low heat for several hours ( about 3 hours). If you are using roots you should heat the oil longer( about 5 hours). I strongly encourage you to use a crock pot for heating your oil because it operates at a controlled low temperature which is less likely to be a fire hazard.
If you don't use a crock pot then use a double boiler. After heating, cool your oil for awhile. Set up a strainer lined with cheesecloth then pour the oil through to strain When most of the oil has filtered through the cheesecloth, pick up the cheesecloth, keeping the herbs enclosed, and squeeze as much oil as possible from the herbs and cloth.
Add beeswax to the oil And heat it until all the wax is melted. To test to see if your salve is hard enough, put some on a spoon and set it in a cool place for a few
minutes. If your salve is too soft, add more beeswax. If you are using essential oil or Vitamin E., you can blend them in now. Finally, pour your salve into containers and label.
They make welcomed gifts.
NOTE: St Johns wort and plantain are road side weeds. However you can get them and comfrey as well as calendula (pot marigold) at your local herb shop or garden center in the plant and herb section