I think sometimes that we forget about the bounty that nature provides us.
Jewelweed is a common plant found in most of the USA. It grows about 3′ high and has little spotted touch me not flowers and little pods that explode when touched. For more information and photos on identifying Jewelweed, follow this link. It is found in forests, along swampy edges, and in shady areas. While most people think this is a pretty weed, it actually has wonderful healing and restorative properties. Here are a few:
- Walking in the forest and get bit by a mosquito? Use some fresh jewelweed.
- Picking berries and get scratched by brambles? Use some fresh jewelweed.
- How about that pesky stinging nettle? You guessed it, jewelweed.
I sought to create a salve that could be used year-round that contained jewelweed’s restorative properties. Here’s what I came up with–it works wonderfully on burns, cuts and bug bites!
You’ll need the following ingredients:
- 6 cups fresh jewelweed, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups good quality olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups loosely packed grated beeswax (you can use more or less, depending on how thick you want your salve. If you add more, it will become the consistency of lip balm; less, the consistency of a jelly. This amount is somewhere in between).
- Essential oils: Tea Tree, Lavender, and Sweet Orange (or others of your choice, just make sure they are skin safe; the ones listed have healing/antiseptic properties).
And the following equipment:
- Small pot
- Small containers to put in your finished salve. I like using these from Mountain Rose Herbs.
- Go out and pick your fresh jewelweed. I picked mine just as they were done flowering.
- Once you have picked it, rinse it off, removing any dirt or roots that you pulled out.
- Coarsely chop up the jewelweed and add it to the pot. Add the 2 cups good quality olive oil.
- Bring the oil to a simmer, and simmer the Jewelweed for 1 hour until it is cooked down.
- At this stage, I will cover the pot and let it cool down, then let it sit overnight before finishing the recipe. This allows the jewelweed to be infused with the olive oil.
- Strain the jewelweed from the olive oil. If you have a cheesecloth, this works best. I didn’t have one last time I made it, so I used a metal strainer and a metal spoon. Rinse out and dry your pot so no jewelweed particles are left in the pot.
- Grate your beeswax and measure it out. I suggest adding less beeswax at first so that you can get the consistency of the salve you want.
- While you are grating, heat your jewelweed-infused olive oil back up. Add your beeswax. Stir until the beeswax is melted.
- To check the consistency of your salve, you can put a spoon in the freezer and then drop a little bit of the mixture onto the spoon. It should solidify and then you can see how thick it is, and if you want it thicker, add more grated beeswax.
- Once you are happy with your consistency, add about 20-30 drops of essential oil to make it smell nice and give it additional healing qualities. For my mix, I added 10 drops each of sweet orange, tea tree, and lavender. Stir it up to make sure the oils are all mixed.
- Carefully pour your mixture into small tins. Let set for about 30 minutes, or until cool.
- Store in a cool, dry place and enjoy! Give some to your friends!