This salve is made from the leaves and flowers of purple coneflower (Echinacea pupurea). It’s super simple to make and handy to keep around in your first aid kit and while hiking and camping.
In his excellent book, Making Plant Medicine, herbalist Richo Cech mentions that a salve made with dried echinacea flowers and leaves is good for treating wounds, stings and venomous bites. I like using it on bug bites and chapped irritated skin. The oil would also be nice in a lip balm recipe for chapped lips. (See my post on creating your own lip balm recipes HERE.)
I like using sunflower oil in salve recipes, since it’s effective at healing damaged skin, but you could also use olive, sweet almond or another similar oil instead.
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(Measurements are given by weight.)
- echinacea flowers and leaves
- 3.5 oz (100 g) sunflower oil (plus extra, as needed for infusing)
- 0.5 oz (14 g) beeswax
- optional: a few drops of lavender essential oil
Don’t have echinacea flowers handy? You can buy the dried herb HERE, from Mountain Rose Herbs.
To Make the Oil
It’s difficult to recommend a precise amount of echinacea flowers and leaves, since they vary in size, but the petals from 4 or 5 flowers, plus several leaves, should be a good starting place.
Dry the flowers and leaves by spreading them out over a clean dishcloth or paper towels for several days. You could also use a dehydrator set to around 95°F (35°C). Once completely dry, place the petals and leave in a small glass canning jar or similar container.
I mostly use just the flower petals and leaves, though if a flowerhead is extra small and I’m sure it’s completely dried, will add the whole thing into the jar too.
Pour the oil over the herbs, adding more oil if needed, to make sure the plant matter is completely covered.
Set the oil aside for 4 to 6 weeks to infuse, then strain.
For a quicker infusion, set the jar down into a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Heat over a low burner for a few hours, keeping a close eye that the water doesn’t evaporate out. Remove from heat, cool until comfortable to handle, then strain.
To Make the Salve
Strain the infused oil and weigh out 3.5 oz (100 g). Combine the infused oil with the beeswax in a canning jar or heatproof container.
Set the jar down into a small pan filled with a few inches of water, creating a makeshift double boiler.
Place the pan over medium-low heat until the beeswax is melted. Let cool a few minutes, then add the lavender essential oil, if using.
Pour into jars or tins. If you used a small canning jar for melting, you could just leave it in there for storage too, to save on cleanup time.
This recipe fills three 2-oz tins, when filled not quite to the top of each tin. Or, you could pour it right to the top of a larger 4-oz tin or jar.
Shelf life of this salve is at least 9 to 12 months, depending on storage and freshness of the oil used. Store in a cool area, out of direct sunlight.
You may prefer a softer or harder salve than what this recipe makes. Or, you may want a firmer product for hot weather and a softer one for cooler weather.
If you find the salve too soft or too hard for your needs, you can melt it again, adding more beeswax for a firmer salve, or more oil for a softer salve.
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