I always find it strange (and sad) when I drive down the road and see people diligently spraying herbicides (some of which are linked to cancer) on their dandelions (being studied to fight cancer.) Just who decided dandelions were ugly weeds in the first place? And, why did anyone listen to them??
Anyway, rhetorical ponderings aside… today, I’m going to talk about how to use those dandelions growing in your backyard to make a salve that’s useful for:
- sore muscles
- achy & arthritic joints
- rough, chapped skin
Dandelion salve is especially ideal for those who work outdoors and with their hands a lot!
To make our salve, we first need to create an infused oil. The problem with using freshly picked dandelions for this is that they have such a high water content, that your oil will get a little sludgy and yucky sometimes, with a higher likelihood of spoilage.
To solve that problem, I spread my dandelions out in a single layer on a plain paper towel and let them wilt for a day or two.
The next day, I add them to a jar and pour olive or some other light oil, such as sunflower or sweet almond oil, over them – all the way almost to the top of the jar.
The size of the jar will depend on how many dandelions you have. For a small amount of dandelions, use a small jar; if your supply is large, use a bigger jar. Don’t get hung up on precise numbers and amounts. You’re basically filling some type of container about 1/2 to 3/4 full with wilted dandelion flowers then covering them with oil.
Set the jar gently into a pan of warm water and heat slowly over medium lowish heat. Let the oil stay in the heated water for several hours then remove.
At this point, you can go ahead and strain the oil and use in your salve or you can let it infuse several days longer in a dark cabinet. Another option is to strain the oil then do the whole process again with freshly wilted flowers and the first batch of dandelion oil. This is a double infusion.
This also makes a wonderful massage oil. It’s especially nice if you add in a few drops of soothing lavender essential oil.
Once our oil is finished infusing, we’re ready to make some salve!
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- 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of dandelion infused oil
- .5 ounces (15 grams) of beeswax pastilles (buy HERE or HERE)
I like to put a little tamanu oil in most things I make because it is simply the best all around skin healing agent I’ve experienced (to date), so I use about 3 ounces of dandelion oil and .5 ounces of tamanu when I do that. You can buy tamanu oil from Mountain Rose Herbs or HERE on Amazon.com. If you don’t have any on hand though, no worries. Just use all dandelion infused oil!
Add the oil and beeswax pastilles into a heat proof container. Set it gently into a pan containing several inches of water (just like we used when we infused our dandelion oil.) Gently bring the temperature up to medium-lowish heat and let the container stay in the makeshift double boiler until the wax is melted.
Remove from heat and carefully pour into tins or jars then let sit until firm. This sized batch makes about four ounces of salve. One batch filled two of the 2 ounce glass jars shown with a tiny bit leftover. I buy my tins and small jars from Specialty Bottle or Mountain Rose Herbs, but you could even recycle an old jelly jar for this.
You can use my tutorial on How to Create Your Own Round Labels if you wish to pretty up your salve.
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