Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Herbal Salves

I've been absent, I know. Our computer's USB ports aren't working and I haven't been able to upload pictures and for some reason I'm having a hard time blogging without the use of photos! But I'm here today and hopefully we'll remember to take the computer in to be repaired (a super quick repair we've been told) so that I feel more inspired to blog!

Anyhoo... this is about salves. I *love* salves and have been buying them from farmer's markets, health food stores and small brick and mortar stores for years now. But I always assumed making them was so difficult so I didn't even bother. Well, let me tell you: they're super duper easy!! I made up a placenta salve for a client using a basic first aid salve recipe and then adding about a teaspoon of her dried placenta. I've heard amazing things about placenta salves for cesarean moms and I know of someone who belongs to my placenta service providers group who's daughter nearly had her fingers amputated in a paper shredder accident (!!) and her mother applied placenta salve to it to speed up the healing. But I had no personal experience nor did I personally know someone who used it postpartum so I offered it free to a few clients in exchange for feedback. I also made up a batch without added placenta for a friend's birthday on the weekend. Now I just need to get around to making myself a batch (I want both placenta and regular first aid salve).

Here's a recipe and how to:
First Aid Salve
  • First you need to make an herbal infused oil. I used one part herbs to 2 parts oil. The oil I chose was a mixture of organic (make sure to only use organic ingredients for salves) virgin coconut oil and apricot kernal oil. I used comfrey, calendula and goldenseal and placed a tablespoon of each into a crockpot. Then I added 4 tablespoons of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of apricot kernal oil. Turn the crockpot onto low and let the oil infuse for about 3 hours. Let cool and strain into a clean container using cheesecloth.
  • In a pot on low-medium heat, warm the infused oil and add about a tablespoon of grated beeswax (use local beeswax if available). Then you can add 800 IUs of vitamin E and a drop of lavender essential oil. You can also add 1/2 a tsp of tea tree oil but I chose not to. Stir until beeswax melts into oil.
  • You'll know your mixture is the right consistency by dipping a teaspoon into the pot and then sticking it into the freezer to set. When it sets, test it to make sure it's not too hard or too soft. If it's too soft, add a little more beeswax. If it's too hard, add more oil.
  • Pour into sterile brown glass jars and seal.
  • Voila... you are done! This can be used on cuts, scrapes, bug bites, etc.
For placenta salve, I make a second batch of infused oil using a teaspoon (or 1 or two capsules) of dried and ground placenta in 100mls of carrier oil: I used apricot kernel oil). Either in a double boiler or a crockpot set on low, allow the placenta to infuse the oil for abuot an hour or so. You'll know it's done when you start to smell placenta (not burnt or overly strong, just placenta-y.) Strain into a small pot using cheesecloth and then add 3 tablespoons of the first aid salve and follow above instructions.

To use placenta salve on a cesarean incision, wait until the bandages have been removed and the wound has closed up. A mother who birthed vaginally can also use this cream on tender or torn and reparied bits too. The same rule for taking encapsulated placenta internally applies for placenta salve: if infection of any kind is suspected, stop use until all symptoms disappear.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Farmer's Markets

One of our favourite things to do is visit local Farmer's Markets. There is nothing better than locally grown produce and we're very fortunate on Vancouver Island that we have an extended growing season compared with the rest of Canada.
Lately, we've been enjoying strawberries, tomatoes, fresh local organic bread and the best scones EVER from Slow Rise on Gabriola, honey from Freidrich's, meat and eggs from Errington as well as locally grown organic teas.

Here's a list of local Farmer's Markets so that you too can enjoy some local goodness!

Downtown Farmer's Market on Fridays at the waterfront plaza.
Rutherford Market on Saturdays in the Rutherford (now called Nanaimo North Town Centre) parking lot.
Bowen Farmer's Market on Wednesday afternoons in Bowen Park
Cedar Farmer's Market on Sundays in Cedar at the Crow and Gate parking lot. (this is my personal favourite, great atmosphere, great people, great music and best of all: great food!)
Thursday Nite Live Ladysmith Market Thursday nights during July and August downtown Ladysmith
Duncan Farmer's Market on Saturdays.  I think this one runs nearly year round (closed from mid-Jan to mid-March)