Master Recipe for Making Medicinal Herbal Oils and Herbal Salves Using Any Herb

– Today I want to share
with you a master recipe for making medicinal herbal
oils and herbal salves. (upbeat music) Hi, sweet friends. I'm Mary, and welcome to Mary's Nest, where I teach traditional cooking
skills for making nutrient dense foods like bone broth,
ferments, sourdough, and more. So if you enjoy learning
about those things, consider subscribing to my channel, and don't forget to click on the little notification bell below that'll let you know every
time I upload a new video. Well, today I'm continuing
my series of videos where I'm sharing with you master recipes for how to make medicinal herbal remedies. First, we're going to use a master recipe to make a medicinal herbal oil.

Then we're going to use that
oil with a master recipe for making a medicinal herbal salve. Now, before we even get started, I just want to talk about pronunciation, because I know the word 'salve'
is pronounced differently by different people. And I've heard from my friends, my British friends from across the pond, that in British English you say salve for the medicinal ointment that we're going to make today. And American English says salve, I think. But to be honest with
you, even though, yes, I'm an American and I
speak American English, my parents always said salve. So that's something that I'm very used to.

So whether you say salve or salve, having a medicinal herbal
ointment is definitely something that you want to have in
your herbal medicine cabinet. As I've shared in my other videos where I discuss herbal remedies, I just want to mention
that if you're pregnant, if you're nursing, if you're thinking of using any herbal remedies with children, if you're taking medication
either prescription or over the counter, or
even if you have allergies, especially those related
to things like hay fever, you really want to talk to
your medical practitioner to find out if the herbal
remedies you're thinking of using are appropriate.

Well, let's get started. Now, first of all, what I want to mention is
that under the umbrella of a master recipe for
making medicinal herbal oils, there are three ways that you can do this, and I'm going to cover all three. Now when it comes to making
medicinal herbal oils, I really like to use
some type of olive oil. This is a California olive oil. You can use any olive oil that you like, but I do recommend using
an extra-virgin olive oil. And the reason is I'm a firm
believer whether we're going to ingest it or we're going
to put it on our skin, we really want something that
I consider to be the best that we can get, the best
food grade that we can get. Now some of you may be
wondering about other oils, and generally when people
are making herbal oils that are used more for cosmetic purposes, they may not use olive
oil because they may find that it's a little heavy
or the bit of the olive oil fragrance comes through.

So you may see people using
things like almond oil. But nut oils have a shorter
shelf life than olive oil. So I tend to shy away from those when I'm making a medicinal
oil or a medicinal salve since I generally do want
this to last for about a year, and then just refresh it after one year and make another batch. Now, what type of medicinal
herbal oil to make? You really can use any herb that you want for whatever purpose
you're trying to achieve from that particular oil. For example, today we're
going to use calendula, because this is wonderful for the skin, and wonderful if you have a
little rash or a little cut, a little bruise, eczema, things like that. So that's what we're going to make. It's a very useful oil, as well as a very useful oil
to then turn into a salve.

So we're going to go with calendula today, but you can use all kinds of herbs, specifically medicinal herbs. And in essence, pretty much
every herb in one way or another is a medicinal herb. But you can use arnica if you
want to make an arnica oil, which is wonderful for bruises and sprains and things like that. You can use a lavender,
which is wonderful to help to use for a headache or to help you if you're having a tough night sleeping. There are all different
types of herbs that you can definitely use to make
medicinal herbal oils out of. And if you want more detailed information on all the different herbs there are, and all the different oils
that you can make with them, I highly recommend any
book by Rosemary Gladstar. She's a wonderful herbalist and her books are highly informative.

And if you're new to all of this, you'll definitely want to
check out her beginner's guide. This is what it looks like. This is her beginner's guide. It's Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner's Guide. It teaches you how to know your herbs, how to recognize them, how to
grow them and how to use them. And she has all kinds of recipes in here for various medicinal remedies, not just for oils, not just for salves, but for teas and cough
medicines, all kinds of things.

I highly recommend this book. Now, as I shared earlier, there are three methods under
the master recipe umbrella for making medicinal herbal oils. And if you want to do the first method, which we're just about to go over, you will need some type of jar. Now what I like to use is a small jar. This is an eight ounce canning jar, and this is perfect for me. But you can certainly use a larger jar to make a larger amount of oil. But think about how much oil you may use over the course of the year and if you want to have a
variety of oils, possibly, and if you're going to be
using your oil to make a salve and how many salves you might be making, because you don't want to over make oils. Because as I had mentioned, this is probably going to stay fresh for just about one year. So I find this is about
the perfect size for me. But definitely if you want
to double, triple, quadruple, you definitely can do that if you want to make a larger
amount of medicinal herbal oil.

Now this is my favorite way
to make medicinal herbal oil, but it does require time. You're going to need about two weeks. So keep that in mind if you choose to make your
medicinal herbal this way. All you want to do is
simply take your dried herbs and put them into your jar. And they don't need to be packed tightly. You can just fill it
maybe about three quarters of the way full. It's relatively flexible. Definitely don't smash it down, give them some room to move and just be very gentle in terms of when you're putting them into your jar.

Now if you want to use
fresh herbs to do this, you definitely can. And you'll just want to go
ahead and put them in your jar. But then if you have like a little muddler or you could even just
use a knife or a fork, you just want to break up
the fresh herbs a little bit to help start releasing
some of their volatile or essential oils. I think this is about a
good amount to put in. As you see, I've just gone just
a little bit below the rim, and I've not pressed on
them very hard at all. I do want to give them room
to move around within the oil. Next is the very easy part.

All you have to do is
just cover your herbs with your olive oil. So just continue pouring
olive oil into your jar until you can cover all of your herbs and make sure that
everything is under the oil. Now once everything is covered, you're just going to put your lid on. And now you're going to want to put this in a warm place for about two weeks. Can you put this on a
sunny window sill? Yes. I tend to just put it in a
warm place because our sun is so strong here in Central Texas, I almost feel it's a little
too much for the herbs.

However, that said, I want to share something
very interesting with you about what herbalists say when it comes to making herbal oils in this way, where you're leaving them in a warm place or a sunny window sill, or
even outside in a sunny spot. Many people say but
doesn't the olive oil go rancid being kept warm and in the jar in the sun, in the heat,
and so on and so forth? And what herbalists share
is that because of all of the antioxidant properties in the herbs that are in the olive oil, it does keep the olive
oil from going rancid. Now when you strain out the herbs and you have your medicinal
herbal oil already and just separated from
the herbs by itself, then herbalists say that's
when you start the clock in terms of what the shelf life should be for your medicinal herbal oil.

And generally when using an olive oil, herbalists will say that
your medicinal herbal oil may have a shelf life
anywhere from 12 to 18 months. So that's method one for
making a medicinal herb oil. Now I'm going to put this one aside, and this is one that I made previously. Now with your medicinal herbal oil that's been steeping for two weeks, what you'll want to do is
get a very fine mesh strainer and some type of vessel to catch it. And I'm just using a metal… I mean, a glass measuring cup here, and all you're going to
do is strain out your oil. Now do you want to line
this with cheesecloth or a coffee filter? You can, but those tend to start
absorbing some of the oils. So I feel you'll lose a little bit of it. The secrets so that you
don't get a lot of debris down into the medicinal herb
oil that you're collecting is to not squeeze or press on the flowers. Or in this case, I'm
using calendula flowers, but not press on whatever
herb you're using.

You're just going to want to
gently let this drain out. Give it plenty of time
so that you can extract as much of the oil as you can. Then on a separate vessel, if you want, you can start squeezing your herbs to extract even more oil. But as I said, you're going to want to be collecting that in a separate vessel from this one. And the reason is that
second pressing, so to speak, is going to start to get
little bits of the debris of the dried herbs. And if you're going to want to use as pure an oil as possible, and one that you're going to use to maybe even go on to make a salve, which we're going to make in a minute, you're not going to want
those little bits of debris.

But that oil can still be very
useful for other things where you're not thinking in terms
of having such complete purity. If the herbs that you're using
to make this medicinal oil is an edible herb, then you can save that oil
that may have those little bits and pieces in it to use for cooking or for making salad dressings. Once you think you've
drained out most of your oil, you can just set this aside and then just get a bottle or jar, whatever way you want to store your oil. I might be able to do
this without a funnel. Let's see if I can be neat about it. And then just go ahead
and decant your wonderful medicinal herbal oil.

Next, once you get it all decanted in, you can put your lid on. Make sure your bottle is clean, and this is the perfect
time to go and label it for your calendula medicinal herb oil. So making a medicinal herb oil this way is basically the sun method, and you're going to
need at least two weeks. So that's method number one. Now method number two and
three both involve using some type of electrical or
gas or some type of heat.

Now these type of medicinal
herbal oils can be made in a lot shorter period of time, basically anywhere from one to two hours. Now to do this on the stovetop, what you're going to need
is some type of setup that you can create as a double boiler. Now if you've seen my video
on where I like to collect kitchen treasures, as I
call them, from junk shops, you may recognize my Revere Ware pot and my stainless steel bowl. These both came from junk shops and cost practically nothing. The Revere Ware a part
was really in bad shape, but I cleaned it up. And I like to have pots like
this that I use specifically for when I am working with
herbs and making home remedies and so on and so forth.

But if you enjoy hunting
for kitchen treasures at junk shops, I'll be
sure to link to that video in the i-cards and in
the description below. But in any event, I like Revere Ware because it
has this little copper bottom so it helps keep the
temperature very even. And when we're making a medicinal
herbal remedy using heat, it's very important
that we keep even heat, and low, very low heat. So how I like to do this is take my pot, put some water in it and
then get some type of bowl, like what I've got here,
a stainless steel bowl. You may actually have
an actual double boiler, which is fine as well. And then I'll just go ahead and I'll put my bowl right
on top of my double boiler. And then I'm going to put
my setting on my stove just to meet the lowest possible setting, which on this little cooktop is minimum. And so set it to your lowest setting. Now what if you don't have a double boiler or you don't have any setup like this where you can kind of
make a mock double boiler? Can you do this directly on the stovetop? Yes, but again, you're
going to need to be very, very careful about that.

And depending on what
type of stove you have, you may even have one of those
pieces that you can put on top that are called
diffusers that help diffuse some of the heat. You want to make sure
that you're really not letting this get very hot. You want your herbs and oil to steep somewhere between maybe
95 degrees Fahrenheit to about 110 degrees Fahrenheit. And if you don't have a
thermometer to actually test that, basically that's the
feeling of bath water. So you really are looking for something that's more warm than hot. Now for the stovetop method, all you need to do is put
your herbs into the top part of your double boiler. And if I use this method, generally what I do is do
the same thing that I do with the sun method.

I just measure out about three
quarters to a cup's worth of the herbs that I want to use and put those down into the
top part of my double boiler. But regardless of how much you're making or what herbs you're using, you're just going to want
to take your olive oil, and you're just going to want
to cover your herbs just in many ways as you did when you were… If you were using the sun method. You just want to make sure
that everything is saturated. Now once you pour your
olive oil over your herbs in the top part of your double boiler and you've got all of
those herbs saturated, what you're going to do is go ahead and take this double boiler,
the top of your double boiler, my makeshift double boiler, and you're going to put that
on top of your pot of water, of very low simmering water.

Now what if you don't have a double boiler or you don't have any
way to set up a makeshift double boiler like this? Then you'll be putting your
olive oil and your herbs directly into your pot. You'll be making sure that
your herbs are covered with the olive oil. And then again, very, very low simmer. Watch it carefully. And you're really looking for something that doesn't get hot, but just gets warm. Now there are differences
of opinion on how long this should simmer
whether doing it directly on the stovetop or in a double boiler. Herbalists will vary and say
anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Some herbalists will even recommend when doing the double boiler approach, maybe going as long as one to two hours.

But I think about 60 minutes
is a good compromise for this. And you will definitely
know when it's getting close to being ready, because the aroma of the herbs, the volatile oils, the essential oils are really
going to start being released. And the oil you're going to
feel is becoming very fragrant. That's a good sign that
your medicinal herb oil is getting close to being ready. And whether you're using
dried herbs or fresh herbs, you can use the stovetop method. Just like whether you're
using dried or fresh herbs, you can also use the sun method.

And whenever you're using
fresh herbs for the sun method or for the stovetop method, it is a good idea just to give
them a little bit of a chop before you proceed with covering
them with the olive oil. And the reason is that
really helps to release some of the volatile and essential oils. It's not as important
with the dried flowers or the dried herbs.

They tend to release their
oils a little easier. But with the fresh, definitely
give them a little chop. The most important thing to keep in mind when you do the stovetop method, is that you're really looking
at keeping all of this warm, not hot, no boiling, nothing like that. Because you don't want
to do anything to damage those volatile or essential oils. Well, we'll go ahead and let that steep. And then the next method
I want to talk about, the third method is the oven method. Now I'm not a huge fan of the oven method, but I wanted to share it with
you because it is a method that is used by herbalists
and that you may hear about. And so I wanted you to know
that it is available to you, and I wanted you to know how to do it.

The oven method is best reserved
for when making medicinal herbal oils using dry herbs. Now all you need to do
with the oven method is just get a shallow baking dish, put in the amount of
dried herbs that you want, and then cover them with olive oil. And make sure everything's saturated. Then you're going to go ahead
and put that into your oven, setting your oven at its lowest setting, which depending on what
type of oven you have, may be somewhere between
150 degrees Fahrenheit to as high as 200 degrees Fahrenheit. And to a certain extent, this is why I'm not a huge
fan of the oven method, because I do feel that
it is a little warm, because most ovens can't go much below 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Now if you have an oven
with a pilot light, maybe the temperature is somewhere in the 110 degree Fahrenheit range, that may be an option.

Maybe if you have an oven
with an electric light, and it too maintains with the light on, both ovens are off, you're just going on the pilot
light or the electric light, and they maintain a temperature around 110 degrees Fahrenheit, that may be very useful as well. It's really one of these things
where you're going to have to experiment if you want
to do the oven method. And then that also
leads us to another area that involves experimentation. Herbalists vary on their
opinions on how long you should keep your dried
herbs in the olive oil in your oven to extract
all of the volatile and essential oils that you'll need.

So it can be as little as 30 minutes, it can be as long as six hours. There's really a wide
variety of opinions on this. But if you decide that
you feel you're not… And again, very similar
to the soak top method, it's really a matter of when
you start to smell those aromas of those essential oils,
of those volatile oils really being released
from those dried herbs. And it is recommended that
when you use the oven method, you do start checking your herbs in that 30 to 60-minute timeframe, and maybe move them around
a little in the oil, see how the fragrance is, the aroma, what exactly is going on with them. So that's the oven method. So you may need a little more time than the stovetop method. But again, that's the third
method that I wanted to share with you because it is
out there and you may read about it and hear about it.

But know that it's really
not my first choice. My first choice is the sun method. And my second choice is when
I'm in a little bit of a hurry, is the stovetop method. Well, this is becoming very fragrant, so I'm going to turn my
heat off, and now let's see. Yeah, it's just warm. I
can definitely handle this. And then we're just going to strain out our medicinal herbal oil. And now we've got another
batch via the stovetop method of our medicinal herbal oil. We can just go ahead and
decant this and we're all set. Now I just want to talk
about some problems that you may run into.

And so this way we'll cover them here. And that way, if you're making this oil, and then over the next couple of weeks as you're storing this, you see some things happening in your jar or in your bottle. And I want to give you some
tips on how to prevent problems. What's most likely to happen, especially if you've used fresh herbs, is that you may find that there is some moisture in your oil, and that moisture, when
it's in a bottle like this with a lid, may cause some condensation, and then that condensation
will drip down into your oil. And that can create a
problem for spoilage, a problem for the development of mold. A way to prevent that problem
is by putting something between the bottle or jar and the lid that will absorb any moisture.

You could use a little
bit of cheese cloth. You could use a little bit
of the flour sack towels that I'm very fond of using when I strain my bone
broth and things like that. You can cut little square
of that and use that. Or you can use some something as simple as just a plain old coffee filter. And you can even double this over if you think that you might have… Or even what would that be, quadrupling, if you think that moisture
might be a real problem. And then just put your lid on, and now you're all set. You've got something that's
going to absorb any moisture. And this is really going to help cut down on any potential spoilage
or mold development. Now you can go ahead and store
this medicinal herb oil away. Preferably in a dark cool pantry. Now I am using a clear bottle
here so that you could see exactly what we were doing. However, if you have any dark bottles like what I share for you that
I hunt for it in the garbage, but whenever you might
see neighbors or friends that are throwing away dark bottles, either dark green or dark brown, and they're just putting them in their recycling bin and whatnot, you could ask them if you could have them, because dark bottles are
going to be your best bottles to store away any medicinal
herbal oils that you make.

So store this away in your cool pantry, and it should stay fresh
for about 12 months. And I want to share one more tip with you regarding medicinal herbal oils. When you smell your oil, it should smell very fresh,
very herby, very pleasant. If you ever go to smell your herbal oil and you really find it very off-putting, some people may immediately
recognize it as rancid, but if it is very off-putting, chances are it has gone rancid. And do not use it. Even used externally,
it is not good for you to ever use rancid oil, whether to ingest it or
to use it on your skin. Another question you may
have which I want to address is can you mix herbs to make
a mixed medicinal herbal oil? And yes, you can definitely do that.

What you'll want to do is,
when I talked about earlier, Rosemary Gladstar's books on herbs, or really any herbalists that you like, read about the combinations
that are very complimentary. By complimentary I mean
herbs that work well together because they have similar
properties to help with particular ailments
or particular remedies that you need for whatever
you're trying to use your herbal oil for. For example, herbs that
go together very nice are camomile and calendula and lavender. They're all very good for the
skin and they're very healing. And then they also have additional
properties in the case of camomile and lavender
that help with sleep. So sometimes if you're having
maybe some foot irritation, maybe you've got a
little rash on your foot and you want to put something
on your feet at night, a mixture of an herbal oil that also has herb in it
that not only help the skin, but also help with sleep
are very complimentary and can work very nicely together. And this is the type of thing
that you really learn over time by reading more books
that discuss all of the various properties of herbs and which
herbs work well together.

Now let's move on and use
this medicinal herb oil, specifically our calendula
medicinal herb oil, to make a medicinal herbal salve. Now for the master recipe for making a medicinal herbal salve, you want to have one cup of
your medicinal herbal oil and one quarter cup of beeswax. Now when it comes to the beeswax, you can have little beeswax
pellets, like what I have here, or if you have a solid piece of beeswax, you can just grate that.

Now, as I said, the master recipe is one cup
of your medicinal herbal oil and a quarter cup of beeswax. However, I'm going to cut that in half because I want to make a smaller portion. So I'm going to use a half
cup of my medicinal herbal oil and an eighth of a cup of bees wax. Now this is generally
done on the stovetop, and generally it's best
done on a double boiler. And like we did with the oil, I've just got my makeshift
double boiler here, which is going to work perfectly.

But if you want to do
it directly in your pot, on your stove, again, just
be very careful with it. You can put your medicinal
herbs oil in here. You can put your bees wax in here, and you're just going
to watch it carefully. You're going to want to keep everything on its lowest setting. Now I'm just going to go ahead and measure out my half cup
of my medicinal herbal oil. And I'm just going to
go ahead and pour this right into the top of my double boiler. Now I'm going to go ahead
and add in my eighth of a cup of my beeswax pellets. I'm going to add those
right down into my oil. And once I get all those in, I'm going to put my burner
here on my lowest setting.

And I'm just going to watch this, and I'm going to give it a little stir and I'm going to keep my eye on it. And once all the bees wax is melted, I'll remove it from the heat. Well, I've just let that bees
wax melt in the olive oil and periodically I've
given it a little stir. It's pretty much all melted. Now just a few little pieces. I've already turned the heat off because the water
underneath is nice and warm. And I'm just going to continue
to stir this until the little bits and bobs of beeswax that are leftover will continue to melt. Well, all the beeswax is melted, and now what we need to do is our test. Now don't skip this step, because this is what's going to guarantee that you're going to have a perfect salve. You're going to want to get a plate. And then you're going to want
to take about a teaspoon or so of your medicinal herbal
salve in the making.

And you're going to want
to go ahead and put that… Just pour it right down onto your plate. And then what we're going to
do is pop this into the freezer for about a minute. Well, I just took this out of the freezer, and the reason that we do this
test is because we want to see what the consistency
of our salve will be once it cools. If when you do this test, your salve seems a little
runny, don't worry. You can just start adding a
little more beeswax to it. If you find that your salve is really hard and almost too thick to spread, then you can just add a
little bit of olive oil, and then do the test again. And chances are on that second pass you're going to have the perfect salve. Now the consistency of
this salve is perfect. I can get some on my
finger here very easily, and it rubs in beautifully. It spreads beautifully on my skin. Since I'm happy with the
consistency of this salve, I'm going to go ahead
and add this little bit back into my warm salve here, because I don't want to waste anything.

Now just so that you
can see what I'm doing, I'm going to pour this
medicinal herbal salve into a clear jar. This is just a little
four ounce canning jar. But what I recommend is if you have a dark glass jar, all the better. And some people also like
to put them into the little stainless steel tins. If you've got one of
those, that's great too. Always being able to
protect these from light protects the essential oils that are in our medicinal herb oil, as well as our medicinal herbal salves. So the more that we can
protect them from light and from heat, the better.

So if you have a dark colored jar or a little stainless steel tin, and then you go ahead and
store it in a cool dark place, you're all set. Now what if you want to
kick up the intensity, so to speak, of your salve? Can you go ahead and add
in some essential oil to this salve? Yes, you can certainly do that. And again, you just want to be aware of what essential oils
would be most complimentary to the medicinal herbal
oil that you've made and that you're now turning into a salve. So for example, if you wanted to put
some lavender into this, you could definitely do that. And I would really start on the small side as opposed to the larger side.

And when I say small side, I mean, in terms of drops. With just a half a cup of
oil like I've used here, I would probably start
with only about 10 drops of an essential oil of my choice. If I had done the full cup, then maybe I would have done
20 drops of essential oil. But it's often best to
start on the lower end than the higher end, because
essential oils are very strong. Well, this is definitely just warm, definitely easy enough to
handle, which is what we want. We never want to get these things too hot. And then what I'm going to do
is see if I can just gently do this without a funnel, and
get this into my container.

I'm going to let this
cool off, it'll firm up. I'll put the cap on and then
I'll go ahead and store it in my medicinal herb cabinet. Now if you'd like more master recipes for making herbal remedies, be sure to click on this video over here where I have a playlist
with lots of wonderful, easy-to-make herbal remedies
and how to use them. And I'll see you over there in my Texas Hill Country Kitchen. Love, and God bless. (bright music).

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