Monday, April 17, 2017

Dandelion Salve

Once I learned the potency and benefits of dandelions, one of the first recipes I tried was a salve. I make no claims to being a doctor, but I love the way this salve makes me feel.

I've used the salve for winter dryness. I've used it on cuts and scrapes. I used it on a rash my son had and, maybe it was the dandelion - maybe it was the olive oil - maybe it was the coconut oil - Regardless of what it is, this has worked better for me than any store-bought medical ointment I've used for cuts and scrapes.

Start by picking the dandelions from an organic location - I pick dandelions from our yard until we mow. After that, I prefer not to run the risk of ingesting or otherwise rubbing dandelions on me that may have been contaminated by gasoline or oil.

Pick about 2 cups of dandelion heads. You may want to dry them out a touch by letting them sit on a clean pan for a few hours. I put parchment paper down, first. The natural milky fluid in a dandelion can sometimes turn a bit sludgy while it is infusing with the olive oil. 

Pour about 2 cups of good quality olive oil over the dandelion heads and let them infuse for a couple weeks. I kept mine in the kitchen, but on sunny days, would let it sit in the sun to aid in the infusion process. 

After a few weeks (I think this batch sat for 2 weeks), strain the heads pushing down on them with a spatula or spoon to extract as much infused oil as possible from the heads. Discard the heads as you wish - either in the trash or compost heap.

One bit of advice - drain the oil directly into a bowl that you can use as a double-boiler in a pot of water. It makes the steps much easier and keeps you from dirtying more dishes.

 Another thing to consider before you begin is from where to purchase your beeswax. You want to use beeswax that is easy to measure as well as of good quality. The kind I buy is in little pellets - easy to measure out and easier to melt. 

Using a double-boiler technique, warm the oil and beeswax together. I added about 3/4 cup of beeswax to the oil I had in the bowl.

 As the beeswax is melting, add whichever scent of essential oil you prefer. My first batches I used honeysuckle - it was delightfully light and relaxing. This batch, I used lavender oil. It blends well with the scent of dandelion. You'll want to stir it in, wait a few minutes for the wax to melt further, then smell it again to see if it needs more. I've found that as the wax melts, it absorbs the essential oil.

It is really quite lovely as the pellets swirl in the oils!

It felt like it took forever for the wax to melt. But when it did, it happened all at once.

At this point, you want all your containers sitting out and ready for you to fill. I recommend you add a spoonful to one tin, then set it in the freezer to encourage it setting. After it sets, test the consistency of the salve. You want to make sure it is not too thick with wax and that it rubs in nicely. 

My first batch, I followed a recipe that said to melt coconut oil into the olive oil and beeswax. I liked that batch, but it was too oily for me - it didn't soak into my skin well and the salve melted too easily for my taste. Even with the air conditioning in summer, the top of my container would have melted salve on it. This time, I refrained from adding the coconut oil as I wanted something more suitable to travel as well as a salve that soaked in better and was less greasy.

My finished containers! 
I was very happy with the consistency of the salve after I cooled the test container. My jars took longer to cool than the tins, but my son and I left to run errands and when I got back, the salve was ready to pack up.

Dandelion Salve

2 cups of dandelion heads (organic)
2 cups of good quality olive oil
-Infuse for several weeks
Essential Oil of your choice

You'll need a double-boiler, strainer, and tins or jars for holding the salve.

If you try this, I'd love to know how you fare! Let me know if you try other scents and how they turned out. I'm really tempted to try one with eucalyptus and rosemary as a muscle rub, but I'll have to find a field that hasn't been mowed, yet, as we finally gave in and mowed our lawn this weekend. 

Happy foraging!

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