Lately, we have been experiencing a lot of aches and pains in my house. The cool damp weather of our new location has Mr. JEM and I stiff and achy. Our 4 children seem to be suffering from growing pains and sports injures left and right. I decided that we needed some relief by making a pain relieving healing salve. I wanted my salve to help with muscle and joint pain. To accomplish this I knew I needed to use herbs that are calming, anti-inflammatory and warming.
First, I figured out which herbs I had on hand that would relieve pain and inflammation. I narrowed it down to the following herbs.
Arnica: Arnica is a great pain relieving herb. It can help bumps, bruises, sprains, strains, breaks, muscle tension, arthritis and joint pain. Arnica is an anti-inflammatory herb that should only be used topically. Do not use on open wounds or when pregnant, it is known to increase bleeding.
Peppermint: Peppermint is calming and helps stimulate the nervous system. All mints are an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. With peppermint’s pain relieving and cooling qualities it will add an extra boost to relieving tense muscles.
Ginger: Ginger is known to help with pretty much anything that ails you. Many have been known to use ginger to treat and relieve arthritic pain and also as an anti-inflammatory. This tonic herb has a warming quality, in this salve it will help warm the muscles and joints during a flare up.
Cayenne pepper: Cayenne contains a chemical called Capsaicin. Capsaicin is known to help reduce pain sensation. Cayenne pepper also helps circulation and is an warming herb. These three properties in cayenne makes it a great herb for pain relieving salves. It helps the blood circulate, while warming and helping block the pain in the area the salve is placed. Cayenne-pepper has been used as a natural remedy to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and even fibromyalgia.
Willow bark: We use Willow bark because of the chemical Salicin which willow contains naturally. Salicin is what is use to produce aspirin. With Willow bark’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties it is used to reduces pain, swelling, tension and treat headaches.
Chamomile: Chamomile is calming and anti-inflammatory. It is safe for all ages making Chamomile a perfect addition to salves that help reduced spasms in muscles and pain joints.
Now that I have a good idea of which herbs I want to use in my pain relieving recipe, I had to decide which oils I was going to infuse the herbs in. With all the research I have done over the last 15 years, I knew that carrier oils can have special uses just like herbs and essential oils. I looked into which carrier oils help with inflammation. I found that olive oil and avocado oil are both good for inflammation and your skin. I decided to use these oils to infuse with my pain relieving herb blend.
Pain relieving Oil
2 parts Arnica Flower
1 ½ Part Chamomile
1 part Ginger root
1 part Willow Bark
1 part Peppermint
½ part Cayenne-pepper (I used a mix of crushed and powder cayenne-pepper)
5 parts Avocado oil
6 parts Olive oil
When infusing oils with herbs you want to make sure all the plant material is covers and suspended in the oil. Give it a good stir to get out any air bubbles. This insures all the herbs are being utilized during the infusion process and keeps them from growing mold. The longer the herbs are in the oil the better the infusion will be. I did not want to wait for 2-6 weeks until my oil was infused, so I used the double boiler method. I infused the oils for about 9 hours. (6 hours with the burner on low heat and 3 with the burner turned off.) The longer you infuse the oils with your herbs the better. I decided to strain my oil after 9 hours because the oil had changed color and smelled like the herbs. I also really wanted to make the salve.
When straining infusions you want to use a strainer and cheese cloth. Place the cheese cloth inside the strainer, place the strainer over a glass bowl, pour your infused oil into the strainer. Now squeeze the cheese cloth, you want to get all the oil from the herbs and cheese cloth. I like to use a potato ricer when straining herbs from my infusions. You really want to get every last bit of oil from the herbs and cheese cloth. This part of the oil is more concentrated with the benefits of the herbs. Your infused oil can be stored in a cool dark place for up to a year. It is better to store infusions in dark glass containers. Do not use an infused oil if it has gone rancid. (You will be able to tell by smell and color) Sometimes adding Vitamin E will prolong the shelf life.
Pain Relieving Salve
Makes 3 4oz tins.
3 TBSP Coconut oil
4 TBSP Bees Wax
½ Cup Pain Relieving oil
50 Drops peppermint Essential oil
40 Drops Eucalyptus Essential oil
40 Drops Clove Essential oil
30 Drops Ginger Essential oil
40 Drops Frankincense Essential oil
20 Drops Patchouli Essential oil
15 Drops Nutmeg Essential oil
15 Drops Rosewood Essential oil
Step 1: Melt Bees wax and coconut oil in a double boiler.
Step 2: Turn heat off, add pain relieving oil and stir.
Step 3: Add Essential oils
Step 4: Pour into containers and let cool.
You can use this pain relieving salve for bumps, bruises, sprains, strains, achy joints and tense muscles. Just rub a little salve into the sore areas. You can use it as many times as you want throughout the day during a flare up. I love how fast this salve works. It is almost an instant relief.
Infusing oils and making salves are just two ways to uses plants to help heal.