December 2011 saw Bungay Community Bees coming together in my kitchen to make a healing yarrow salve, utilizing beeswax left over from honey processing. We were led by Mark, who proved to be both knowledgeable and entertaining – read about the Plants for Life talks, walks and workshops he is organising this year along with the Plant Medicine bed at Bungay library community garden. The sturdy yarrow will be growing among the many herbs for resilience and you can read more about it here.
Making salves is a surprisingly simple process, but one that requires care and attention so as not to overheat the mixture and denature the ingredients.
I’m not quite sure which was my favourite part, the squidging of oily herbs in my fingers, cutting into a cake of wax that I had lovingly (totally mesmerised by the melting wax) tended previously or filling up the pots with a smooth salve. And of course, having a chat over tea, home-made scones and cakes was pretty good as well!
I was initially a little disappointed to learn that this was not the ideal lip salve. But as I am frequently in the habit of injuring my hands it turns out I am more than happy to have the yarrow salve instead. In fact I am sporting a burn on my knuckle right now that has ‘healed’ or at least been far less symptomatic then it would have been in the days pre-yarrow.
Please appreciate the photo’s – I nearly did myself a much larger injury in the pursuit of them!
And the lip salve? Mark tells me you can make a simple, effective (and fragrant one) by very gently heating 1 part beeswax to 4 or 5 parts extra virgin olive oil (do not overheat) in a saucepan or bain Marie, mixing thoroughly and then pouring into small pots.