Last week I shared a blog on creating plantain oil, this week I’ll guide you through the steps to make it into your own healing balm to be super useful this summer season on bug bites, burns, cuts, bruises, chapped skin and more!
3 oz Plantain oil strained
1 oz beeswax
Containers for storing
Pot to make double boiler
Pour plantain oil and beeswax into heat proof container.
Create double boiler by adding about half an inch of water, set over medium heat and put heatproof container into pot
This beautiful herb grows wild around here, it’s all over the fields at the school next door, and the grave yard across the street, in the cracks of the sidewalk in my daily walks.
I choose not to pick those plantain because you never know what is in the soil. Instead I took a hike along our beautiful Yuba River and wild harvested some.
Plantain is a great skin healing herb. It draws out infection and aids in knitting the skin back together quickly. It is a natural analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial, it’s astringent and aids in drying out, but also a demulcent so it is not overly drying. I like to use it for burns, bug bites, poison oak, sunburn, cuts, scrapes, and acne.
I’m going to share with you how to create an herbal oil withplantain follwed by a skin healing balm, to make with your oil, on next weeks blog.
1 cup mason jar with lid
1 cup organic sunflower oil
Plantain leaf, to fill your jar
You can use freshly harvested plantain
or hang it out to dry for a few days to reduce the water content.
Drying your herb will leave less room for bacterial growth.
Cut up your herb,
put into mason jar,
fill with oil just
to about 1/2 inches below the top,
cap, label and date and shake.
I like to leave this in a sunny window sill for a light solar infusion for 1-4 weeks, shaking once a day. Strain your herb out of your oil and save the oil in a clean, labeled container for future use.
Natural Incense has been used for centuries in many a ceremonial and ritualistic fashion, for clearing out bad energy,be it death, sickness, pain, sadness, or just the foul scent of good old fashioned rot.
What plants are used in natural incense will have specific actions, either in creating healing energy or putting a certain affirmation out into the universe, citrus like scents enhance the mood and are uplifting, rose is for healing the heart, lavender is calming, cedar wood expels fleas, and burning most anything can cleanse the air and environment.
Most incense that is for sale is not plant, I mean it starts off with maybe a real stick of bamboo, but the people that produce incense get these ‘blank’ incense sticks and soak them in some paint thinner and artificial fragrance then hang them out to dry, package it and ship it off to be sold in your local head shop, health food store or what not.Now when you burn something like that it actually toxifies the air you are breathing, sending off heavy metals and potentially cancerous chemicals into your environment.I find that rather ironic as it is the complete opposite of what incense was traditionally made for.
Also a common agent used in incense to keep it burning is saltpeter which has many potential dangerous side effects including and not limited to kidney damage, anemia, headache, and upset stomach. I have found that I have never had trouble keeping my natural incense burning so long as I don’t over do the amount of resin I put in my incense, therefore I would never recommend using saltpeter, which can also cause an unpleasant explosion when used in excess.
If you’d like to purchase an easy to use kit go here.
I will walk you through my preferred natural incense crafting steps, although there are many other ways to go about crafting incense.
– Guar Gum
– Warm Water
– Herbs and spices that smell good
Flowers, resins, wood, leaves, etc
I do not recommend using citrus as it has a tendency to smell pretty yucky when burned.
You may wish to test your plants before putting much energy into them, as you may dislike the burned smell, do this by sprinkling a small amount on a burning candle and breathing in, I use this technique through out my mixing process and also with single plants as I go along.
Your going to want to have a little more woody plant than resin, if using resins, to create a good clay like consistency.
WORDS OF CAUTION: PLEASE DONT USE POISONOUS PLANTS
THEY WILL HURT OR KILL YOU.
– A burning candle
– A clean flat surface for rolling your own incense
– a mixing cup for making the incense ‘glue’ and a fork for blending this glue
– and either a mortar and pestle or just a bowl and spoon for mixing
Also a mortar and pestle for grinding herbs or a coffee grinder works great for tougher stuff if using your own herbs, if you are using the recommended kit the herbs come pre ground for you.
– wax paper or parchment for drying your incense on.
BE happy, and joyful, this will make a massive difference in the over all product outcome.
Grind up all your herbs either in your mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder, keep these herbs in separate containers as you may find you don’t like a mixture or herb scent as you go along.
Next blend your guar gum with warm water
using one cup of water to one teaspoon of guar gum, if you are only making a small amount of incense, say 10 – 15 sticks, use 1/4 t guar gum
to 1/4 c of water.Set this aside to set up as you mix your plant material.
Light your candle, this will be used to sprinkle pinches of mixtures on as you go along to see if you like the scent or not.Keep in mind a lot of things will not smell as one would perhaps wish when burned, and you may be surprisingly disgusted.
Now mix your happy blend of plants in your mixing vessel of choice.
Sprinkle the final mix on your candle to be certain you are content with the scent.
When you are happy with the scent of your herb mixture start slowly mixing in your water gum ‘glue’ mixture, which ought to have set up by now into a nice thick syrup.
Mix until you have a play dough type consistency.
Now either start rolling into long worms or little cones or stars or whatever you would like, keep in mind that if you craft something too large it will not dry for a looong time. Also if you make your worms too slender they have a tendency to curve slightly as they dry, which may happen regardless and has no effect on how awesome the incense will be when burned.
Rolled worms or sticks rather will dry within 24 hours or so, cones take longer 2-4 days or so.
When you are pleased with your final result, place it on your waxed paper or parchment paper to dry and leave in a good undisturbed place til dry.