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Every household, whether full of children or rambunctious roommates with a flair for getting hurt, needs a good healing antiseptic owie salve on hand. Whether it's a bug bite, a cut or scrape, or even a really big wound, it's always good to keep an herbal infused Salvation Salve with you to help heal your wounds, soothe the pain, and keep them from getting infected.
Leading experts agree Neosporin is NOT the answer
Neosporin, an over-the-counter ointment cream used for cuts, scrapes, and other owies, is what most people might think every first aid kit needs, but studies show it's NOT the best answer for your everyday needs. This petroleum based jelly contains THREE different antibiotics in it, making it extremely high risk for allergic reactions and may be one of the factors behind the spread of an especially lethal strain of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), called USA300, according to a study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases. Antibiotics are a key defense against certain infections, and when we find antibiotics in our food, bath, and beauty products, our bodies begin to develop illnesses that are resistant to the antibiotics that exist on the market, leaving us with no defense when it really matters. With the over consumption of products containing these ingredients, we are starting to see a new generation of antibiotic resistant infections, and doctors are saying that at this point, there is nothing we can do to combat this resultant problem. I say we combat this problem by only using antibiotics in dire medical situations and leave them out of everything else, especially our body care products.
Herbs that can help to heal the skin
There are many great herbs that can help heal the skin from all sorts of skin conditions including cuts, scrapes, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and more! These are some of my favorites to use when making skin healing salves:
- Burdock root- Naturally analgesic and anti-inflammatory, burdock grows wildly all over North America. In 2014, a study measuring the effects of burdock poultices for first and second-degree burns in an Amish population found that the dressings resulted in no infections or pain. Researchers concluded that the dressings were an acceptable alternative to conventional burn care.
- Calendula - Calendula flowers have long been used by many ancient cultures for their healing powers and natural abilities to soothe dry and irritated skin. Calendula is purported to help quickly soothe and heal minor scrapes, cuts, and abrasions; which makes it the perfect herb to infuse into oil for our all-natural owie cream! Calendula has also been used to help heal inflammation, acne, rosacea, bruises, chapped or dry skin, burns, athlete's foot, bee stings, diaper rashes, and even yeast infections. It even helps minimize and reduce scarring and stretch marks because it stimulates the production of collagen at the site of wounds! That is one pretty awesome healing herb!
- Chamomile - A member of the ragweed family, chamomile has been used for centuries in teas, salves, and other healing applications for burns, rashes, cuts, scrapes, eczema. and more. This sweet apple smelling herb is great at reducing skin inflammation of all sorts and is frequently used in anti-aging creams to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Chamomile also has antibacterial properties to it, making it a perfect addition to any skin healing salve!
- Chickweed - Also known as Stellaria, chickweed's natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial actions are just two of the reasons it's been used by Natives of North America for centuries, to heal burns, cuts, scrapes, eczema, and more! This cooling herb works well to soothe a burn and reduce inflammation quickly!
- Comfrey - Also known as "knit-bone" because of its ability to "knit" tissue and bone back together miraculously quick, comfrey is very useful in many skin preparations to help heal wounds and "knit" them back together. Comfrey is so awesome that it's usually one of the most common herbal additions to skin healing salves. Be cautious that the wound is thoroughly clean before applying an ointment or salve with comfrey in it, because it really does heal up so fast that it can close up with the bacteria in the wound!
- Lavender - Naturally antibacterial, antifungal, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory, lavender is an all around herb that is great for healing wounds, burns, and more! This is one herb that I don't leave out when it comes to a skin healing antiseptic properties. This soothing herb is great at helping to heal just about any skin condition you can think of, from fungus to owies, and everything in between.
- Licorice root - A broad spectrum antiviral and naturally antibacterial, licorice root is another anti-inflammatory herb known for its natural ability to bring moisture to even the driest of skin.
- Marshmallow root - This uber moisture giving herb is great for any skin issues needing soothing. Marshmallow root, with its natural anti-inflammatory properties, is super good at bringing moisture back to the skin!
- Oatstraw - The oat plant is well known for its ability to soothe and heal rashes, dry skin, and the likes. Oatstraw, rich in vitamins and minerals, is rich and hydrating by nature, soothing all sorts of skin conditions including poison ivy, chicken pox, rashes, eczema, and more!
- Plantain - This plant is often thought of as a weed in North America but has been hailed by not only the Native Americans but also Alexander the great, for being a miracle worker with burns, bug bites, and stings. A strong infusion of plantain sprayed onto a sunburn as often as needed can help soothe a sunburn and heal it faster. Plantain contains a compound called allatonin, an anti-inflammatory phytochemical that speeds wound healing, stimulates the growth of new skin cells, and gives the immune system a boost.
- Rose petals - Naturally soothing and anti-inflammatory, this analgesic flower has been widely known for its ability to relieve inflammation and pain. Even Cleopatra knew just how awesome roses are, and used them for many of her beauty needs, including her famous anti-aging skin cream.
- St. John's wort - With antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties, St. John's wort is naturally one of my favorite owie cream additions. Used for thousands of years in herbal medicine, even Hippocrates, the "father of medicine" had many uses for it.
- Witch hazel bark - Witch hazel has been used by the Natives of North America, for centuries, using its natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties to heal all sorts of burns, rashes, wounds, eczema, cuts, and more. You may know witch hazel as the liquid you buy for your facial toner, but that witch hazel is actually a tonic made from the bark and most often, alcohol. You can use witch hazel bark in oil-based salves to utilize it's awesome benefits too!
- Yarrow - This herb is AMAZING when it comes to bleeding wounds. Used all over the world by native tribes, the Greeks, and even in Traditional Chinese Medicine for bleeding. This herb contains it all; anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and even analgesic. If you have it on hand, yarrow is a herb that should not be left out when making your herbal infused antiseptic owie salve!
Herbal infused oil for maximum healing benefits
It's extremely easy to craft your own herbal infused
- Solar Infusion – This is one of the best methods to extract the healing benefits that your chosen herbs have. Not only are you charging your oil with naturally healing sun rays but this is the gentlest method of infusion. Some people also like to steep their herbs in the moonlight, this can give it an extra boost as well. To infuse your oil solar style, just fill your jar 1/3 full of your herbs. You can do a single herb or even a combination depending on what you are planning to use your oil for. Fill the rest of the jar, to the top, with your carrier oil (you can even do a combination of oils if you like. In all of my salves, I steep my herbs in a combination of extra virgin olive oil and extra virgin coconut oil) and cover with a lid. Set out in the sun or a sunny window and give a good shake to the jar ever day for 2 weeks. Using a cheese cloth lined strainer, strain the oil from your herbs and squeeze out any remaining oil to get the most of the oil as possible.
- Stove Top Infusion – This is a good quick method if you don’t have the time to wait 2 weeks for a solar infusion to complete. In a double boiler drop in 1/3 part herbs to 1 part oil and allow to steep over the heat for 1+ hours. I see people saying to leave it overnight, but there is no way to do that with a double boiler. Only do this if you are using a crockpot (which you can also use instead of the stove). Using a cheese cloth lined strainer, strain the oil from your herbs and squeeze out any remaining oil to get the most of the oil as possible.
- Oven Infusion – When I don’t have sunshine out here in Texas, this is the method I like to use the most. I find it the easiest to leave it be without having to refill water in the bottom of a double boiler like the stove-top method. Turn your oven on the lowest setting that you can. I like to use a 1/2 gallon mason jar but this can be done in smaller. Fill your jar 1/3 full of your herbs and cover with oil to the top and cover with a lid. Set the mason jar on its side on a cookie sheet (I use one with a rim so that any oil that might leak out from the lid won’t fall onto my oven’s heating element) and put in the oven on the middle rack. Every couple of hours pull the jar out of the oven and give 2 or 3 shakes. Leave in the oven for 24-48 hours. Using a cheese cloth lined strainer, strain the oil from your herbs and squeeze out any remaining oil to get the most of the oil as possible.
Herbal Infused Magic Skin Healing Oil
I use this herbal infused oil in all kinds of salves, body butter, lip balms, bum sprays, and more! You can substitute the Magic Healing Oil into the baby butt balm, bohemi' mama's boobie balm, Salvation Salve (antiseptic Owie Cream, see below), shaving cream, or any other recipe that calls for a liquid oil in it. This oil is filled with skin healing herbs that help to minimize and reduce scarring and stretch marks by stimulating the production of collagen at the site of wounds.
- 1 part calendula flowers
- 1 part comfrey leaf
- 1 part St. John's Wort
- 1 part plantain leaf
- 1 part lavender buds
- carrier oil of choice (I combine 3 parts olive oil to 1 part unrefined coconut oil)
- Using one of the oil infusion methods of your choice, infuse herbs into your carrier oil. My favorite method when we don’t have a lot of sunlight outside, is in a mason jar, in the warmed oven overnight.
- Once your oil is infused, using a cheesecloth and wearing gloves, strain the herbs from the oil. Be sure to squeeze out every last bit of oil from the cheesecloth! You do not have to make a salve with this oil if you do not want to. You can use this in place of liquid oil in skin care recipes, facial care, hair care, and more!
- Store your Magic Healing oil in a mason jar, sealed tightly, in a cool dark location, to have on hand to use in all sorts of skin healing recipes.
Salve An Herbal Infused Antiseptic Owie Cream
- 1/2 cup herbal infused Magic Skin Healing oil
- 1/4 cup beeswax pastilles
- 1/4 cup unrefined shea butter
- 1/2 tsp. tea tree essential oil
- 1/2 tsp. lavender essential oil
- 30 drops lemon essential oil
- 1/4 tsp. vitamin E (optional)
- In a double boiler (or a pyrex/glass measuring cup inside of a pan that has about an inch of water in it boiling) melt the beeswax, shea butter, and herbal infused oil, stirring until completely melted. Remove from heat.
- Stir in the tea tree oil, lavender oil, lemon oil, and vitamin E. Pour your mixture into reserved containers and allow to cool/harden before use.
- If stored in a cool dark place, this ointment should keep for at least 6-12 months.
Use a small pea-sized amount on cleaned wounds and infected areas!