Wednesday, April 21, 2010

new salve

You know, I'm a culinary herbalist first. Yes, I love to cook with herbs. I love the beauty of all green things in food. The herbal aromas, mmm. The pretty plates it makes! It makes me very happy.

But...I wanted to know more. So, for the last two years I've been taking a wonderful class of study on the medicinals.
I've learned some of the medicinal side with my new lessons and... by experimentation. Most experiments come from neccesity.
My latest "necessary" came Saturday afternoon because I incorrectly lifted a very heavy flowerpot filled with very wet dirt and compost.
Gave myself the most incredible back strain. You know? The kind of ache that gives you spasms when you exhale? Owwww , Owww, Ow, Ow. O my... it hurts. I tried not to breathe because it meant I had to exhale. That's pathetic.
No time or inclination to go to the doctor, I thought to myself, "okay, you wanna practice what you preach? Make your own painkiller.
I searched my herbal pantry to see what I had. I came up with these ingredients relying on my memory of the lessons:
Lavender Oil
Ginger root, powdered
Valerian tincture, made this autumn
freshly ground red pepper, powdered
cocoa butter
bees wax, melted
Measured out all ingredients according to what I needed most .
Mixed all together and put into the food processer to emulsify.
(I am guilty of adding in about 8 powdered aspirin since I didn't have time to bark and dry out my willow.)

Here was my plan of treatment:
Took a hot bath with epsom salt, lavender blossoms, valerian tincture and lavender oil.
Made myself some chamomile tea with skullcap and valerian tincture. Sipped while in bath.
Applied the salve liberally.
I found that the powdered pepper and ginger root needed to be increased. (added more until I felt a bit of warmth on my skin.) After I applied salve I wrapped my back semi-tightly with a cotton cloth and put on a soft white cotton t-shirt . I tried to lay quietly on my back.

To my amazement, it was wonderful. The pain slowly decreased and I was able to fall asleep.
Turns out I was pretty right on track.
I knew that the lavender was a painkiller, valerian for sore muscles, ginger and red pepper (capsascin) are great for warming the affected area, bees wax and cocoa butter were healthy, soothing additions.

Had to really process it as oils and waters don't mix well. I may not have added everything I needed , but I used what I had on hand .

I've heard that acting on instinct is the mark of a good herbalist. It is also wise to use what is available and make use of the landscape around you. I'm sure that a good master herbalist would have known better or more effective herbs to make the salve with, but I used what I could remember . (and what the pain allowed, lol,)

I want to thank my fine teachers at Sage Mountain for helping me to ease my pain ....and be the herbalist I wish to be.


Please do not attempt to make herbal remedies unless you have real knowledge of herbs. I have made many mistakes over the years on myself. Before taking my study course I thought I knew a great deal. I was very wrong.
It is not a good thing to make any remedies unless you study all aspects of the herbs you grow. Much has to be learned . I have grown herbs for 20 years and still do not know all that I need to know. Be safe, take lessons from learned herbalists.


comfrey cottages said...

i love this post. so cool you have been taking classes from sage mountain. i am doing nothing in any formal way yet. just self reading and studying. i think your salve would work well in many applications. and yes, hallmark of a great healer. able to act on instinct:) yea for you!! :)

sunflowerherbfarm said...

my thanks for your post. it is such a pleasure to hear from someone greater than yourself, with more knowledge, to give you a compliment. how is your garden this summer?