California Poppy and a Salve Recipe

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As each new plant springs back to life in the garden, or our surrounding area, I have been researching it to check it’s possible use in soaps….my latest one in California Poppy and I have found some interesting information I thought I would share here plus a recipe I have used it in, a wound balm. I have been using it on a skin irritation I have had for ages and it’s very soothing and gentle, far more so than the lemon balm one which is quite rich.

I am not a herbalist so any info comes from the knowledge of others, this I found on ChineseHerbs.org  “The chemical structure of California poppy allows the plant to influence neurotransmitters in the human brain without depressing the central nervous system. The plant is a mild sedative, and although it is a relative of Opium poppy, it is not an opiate; thus, it does not cause dependence. Such action of the plant makes it safe to be used even in children. Along with the improvements in the physical and psychological state of a patient, California poppy has also antimicrobial properties, which explains its use as a topical remedy in the treatment of various skin conditions. It is said to be very helpful in cases of mild muscle spasms, cramps, pain of different origin, headaches, anxiety, irritability, nervousness and insomnia, may improve intellectual capacity, memory, and concentration, especially in the elderly. Topical poultices of the plant’s leaves serve as effective means to heal cuts and scrapes. The fresh root applied directly to the tooth soothes toothache”

I also found this on drschwaderer.wordpress.com which has some really nice information on it including ” ….California poppy stabilizes the golden light of the heart, encouraging more self-responsibility and quiet inner development”

Now this sounds like something I could use so I am going to start drinking it as tea (in fact I added some to my smoothie this morning)….who knows I could just end up with a lighter heart, better memory and concentration, be less irritable and have improved intellectual capacity!! I need all those things. I haven’t found any contraindications for myself but anyone who does want to try this needs to research for themselves.

I find it useful to know what different herbs and flowers do, it makes sense to me to try what Nature has provided, rather than over the counter drug and I always get a sense of wellbeing when preparing and using herbs, flowers and weeds for different ailments.

Wound healing Balm:

Last year I made a Lemon Balm and Calendula Balm from a recipe I found At Ecocrazymum but her site no longer exists so I can’t give a link of source. I adapted it and used Comfrey, California Poppy and Calendula. Any 1 of these is a wound healing plant and would be fine on it’s own but I had all 3 on hand. Comfrey promotes fast healing, California Poppy is an analgesic and the lovely Calendula soothes, calms and heals.

First the olive oil needs to be infused with the qualities of the plants and this can either been done by heating gently in a double boiler or slow cooker for an hour  then leaving to cool, or by combining both in a jar and leaving on a windowsill in the sun for two weeks…I already had the oils made up. Strain through a strainer then once again through fine cloth to filter any finer particles.

2 cups of plant infused oil (made from 2 cups olive oil, 3/4 cup dried plant)

1/2 cup of beeswax

3 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbspn shea butter

5 drops tea tree oil

5 drops lavender oil

Melt the oils and beeswax together gently until just melted. Add the essential oils and pour into clean tins/jars to set. This will last up to 2 years and make around 3 cups.

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Calendula and Lemon Balm Salve

I found this recipe on Ecocrazymum.com last year and have only just managed to find some beeswax locally. My husband suffers from eczema so I have been wanting him to try it rather than prescribed creams, and it would appear to be a handy salve to have on hand. The list of ailments it is supposed to help is long:

  • Diaper Rash
  • Cuts & Scrapes
  • Minor Burns
  • Bug Bites & Stings
  • Psoriasis
  • Topical Thrush
  • Inflammation
  • Itching
  • Eczema
  • Chapped Lips
  • Cold Sores
  • Dry Skin
  • Athletes Foot
  • Warts
  • Cracked Heals
  • Sunburn
  • Stretchmarks
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Shingles
  • Muscle Aches & Menstrual Cramps
  • And so much more!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Dried Lemon Balm & Calendula (Just throw in a couple handfuls of each until you get 3/4 cup- try to use equal parts of each.)
  • 1/2 Cup Beeswax
  • 3 TBSP. Coconut Oil
  • 2 TBSP. Shea Butter
  • 5 Drops Tea Tree Oil
  • 5 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
*I do not add preservatives. Many of the ingredients contain natural preservatives, so your salve will have a shelf life of 1-2 years.
Directions:
  1. Add dried herbs, olive and coconut oil into crock pot and heat on low for 3-4 hours.
  2. Strain oil through cheesecloth and return to (clean) crock pot on low heat.
  3. Microwave beeswax and shea butter in 1 minute increments until fully melted.
  4. Immediately add melted beeswax and shea butter into crock pot & mix well with wooden spoon. If the wax starts to harden up turn the crock pot up to the high heat setting and stir until completely liquified.
  5. Add in tea tree and lavender essential oils and mix well.
  6. Pour mixture into small containers with lids and keep lids off until salve becomes solid.

This made over 3 cups of salve. I didn’t have shea butter so excluded this. I managed to pick up little blocks of 50g beeswax for 50 cents each from a local apiary which I was really pleased with. I also altered the method – simmering the oils and herbs for 2 hours over low heat in a double boiler, straining then adding the beeswax and returning to heat, adding essentials oils when finished. I will add to this at a later date to say how we have found it

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