Dear Mr. Latimer,
S.T.’s article on salve making was very interesting. I’ve been making them for several years now. Because I gift and sell them to other people, I buy different size amber and cobalt blue jars to pour the final product in.
A great muscle balm salve (which I sent to soldiers’ in Afghanistan who liked it a lot!) is to use oils infused with arnica, meadowsweet, comfrey with a little added coconut oil to the melting beeswax. My favorite lip balm is “baby balm”, made with calendula, chamomile, and roses. It’s also great for diaper rash. A friend used it on her surgical incision and another friend on her baby’s circumcision and raved about the rapid healing. The pediatrician was amazed at the baby’s healing and asked her what she was using.
There are so many herbs out there, with so many applications. I’m surprised every day at how God has provided for us, right in our own backyards.
Add more beeswax and you’ll make “lotion bars”. They are “hard” balms. Use molds (I use old ice cube trays) to make a firm bar that you can rub on the skin. They’ll stay together better in the heat. You can use any recipe, but they’re particularly nice with herbs that repel bugs or have some inherent sun protection. You can also use other ingredients, like shea butter, cocoa butter, et cetera.
Finally, you can use just the infused oils for the same applications; they’re just a little messier, but if you find yourself without beeswax or lard, just infuse the oils. Use oils safe for human consumption, as they will be absorbed into the skin, and apply to affected areas. – N.P.