Thursday, March 27, 2014

tips making creams rubs ointment salve

This is not going to be a post on what herbs for what remedy it is just a quick short on tips for those making those homemade remedies .perhaps because if You have been making them you will have encountered problems .Also the sooner we can get a recipe down the better because the making of these items is not cheap & it is often extremely time consuming especially when we are taking time to harvest & process our own ingredients . To start the first question might be what the heck is the difference between ointments, rubs , salves etc. Honestly I think it is a regional thing & also even varies within families . As long as the product has information on proper use, ingredients etc. who the heck cares lol for my grandmother a cream or salve was just animal fat mixed with infused plants , resin & sometimes rose water . she would just whip it together to make it light & fluffy in order to be a cream .
however I found this site rather helpful & liked the explanations
So the two issues I find most often encountered in production are the issue of both moisture & heat !
there is nothing more frustrating than making a nice cream, salve etc. & the old separation of oil & moisture takes place . even more frustrating if you have paid money for the item . 
 The measurement of adding water /liquid to the recipe which also includes an emulsifying agent . Just adding more beeswax will not solve this problem !  You can read more about this in The Herbalist's Way
The biggest problem I find leading to moisture is in the infusion process of plant material .Especially when people use fresh herbs & resins . Moisture has got to be evaporated to prevent mold/ bacteria & also to prevent that separation . I personally dry almost all of my ingredients first before infusing .Of course the time takes almost the same but it is much more difficult to get moisture out of infused oil than it is the actual plant . resins can have an large amount of moisture when collected fresh . Also when moisture is added to anything it is very much prone to mold . You can decant moisture off after infusion but I find it tedious .
If You want to learn more about oils etc. please try out The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook
Okay the next thing is heat , the use of heat to infuse plant material in the making of these remedies . the best tip is , not to much ! keep the heat down .You can infuse as the folk method which is adding dried material to oils & let sit for periods of time in dark warm place .  Also some plants need cold infusion not warm/hot . when melting your beeswax do this before adding the oil & always in a double boiler. Remove it from the heat & let sit a minute then add your infused oils & essential oils if using .
Also another tip for a more fluffy creamy lip balm or rub etc. whisk your oil/wax mixture for a time before pouring .

Drying herbs out doors is best done not in direct sunlight & if so sacks & pillow cases make great drying tools if you do not have screens or shelves .
Store in paper bags rather than glass jars unless using fairly soon .

crock pots are great for warm/hot infusion but keep an eye on temp because healing properties & nutrients can be lost

cream made with rain water & gentle oils remember if there is a moisture content we need add ingredients that have mold/bacteria preventing properties

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