*UPDATED: PICS HAVE BEEN ADDED, TO SHOW SALVE-MAKING PROCESS…
One of things we do in the Herbal Apothecary Course is make herbal salves. They are really very simple and easy to make and are extremely effective.
After shoveling snow this past week, I knew that my elbows were going to bother me. I have a tendency for an issue similar to carpal tunnel where the nerve channels in my elbows – the cubital tunnels – get inflamed and compress the nerves. When I came in from shoveling, my elbows didn’t hurt, and I felt good from the exercise, so I didn’t think of rubbing the nervine salve I make on my elbows…
But that night, my fingers started getting the tingling sensation, and my elbows and arms started really hurting. I was not worried though, and I didn’t take a painkiller medication. Instead I grabbed my container of what I call “Nervine Salve” and rubbed it into both my elbows. Within 5 minutes, the pain was gone and the tingling stopped. And it was moisturizing too!
The herbs I use in the Nervine Salve are effective for dealing with all the symptoms of nerve compression as well as healing the nerves and nerve tunnels themselves. And the oil-based salve gets absorbed quickly, bringing the herbal medicine right to where it needs to be.
I can’t recommend this salve enough for any nerve issue. Herbs that are considered “nervines” heal and tone the nervous system. Infused into a salve, they can fix all sorts of nervous system issues like carpal tunnel, pinched nerves, sciatica, etc. They are also used for treating anxiety, depression, and stress related issues of all sorts.
How to Make Your Own Nervine Salve
I start by infusing dried herbs into extra virgin olive oil. I use a double boiler for this.
Herbs should be covered by the oil and able to move freely when stirred.
You want to keep the oil warm, but you don’t want to over heat or fry your herbs.
The temperature should be kept so you can touch the oil without burning yourself. So keep the heat on very low. Put the dried herbs into the top of the double boiler and pour enough oil to cover the herbs with about 1.5 inches of oil.
2 parts St. John’s Wort upper leaves and flowers. St. John’s Wort is one of the most effective nervine herbs. I also add 1 part Chamomile blossoms, 1 part Hops, and 1/4 part Alkanet root.
1 part Comfrey leaves, 1 part Goldenseal root, 1 part Solomon’s Seal root, 1 part Chickweed whole plant.
1 part Meadowsweet flowers
the inflammation causing the compression:
1 part Licorice root.
Most of these herbs can be easily grown in this area. The few that can’t, can be easily found online or at local herb shops or health food stores. I love and recommend Mountain Rose Herbs for organic herbs.
I let those herbs infuse into the oil for about 4 hours. Except for occasionally stirring them, they don’t need much attention.
After that time, you’ll see that the oil has changed color, which indicates that the oil-soluble herbal chemicals are now in the oil. I strain the herbs out (give them to your chickens or compost pile) into a glass pyrex-style large measuring cup.
I usually strain through a wide mesh strainer and then through a fine mesh.
I then add about 1/4-1/3 cup of beeswax to each 2 cups of oil.
I place the measuring cup into a preheated oven at 325 degrees F until the beeswax is fully melted.
At this point, your salve is basically complete – but I do like to add some essential oils to make it smell nice and make use of the benefits they may impart. Lavender Essential Oil is calming and also can act as a painkiller. I have made it a tradition to add a couple drops of Rose Geranium Essential Oil to my Nervine Salve as it is known to relax muscles, which I feel can get stressed when one is dealing with nerve pain. Pour it into little containers and let cool completely before covering.
Once you get your ingredients together and your supplies, it is amazingly easy to create your own herbal salves and I encourage you to try it. Once you go through the steps, you’ll feel more confident about it. And once you try it out, you’ll be simply thrilled at the effectiveness.
In the Herbal Apothecary Course, we make many salves together as well as tincture and teas and more. I won’t just be dictating recipes; the format of the workshop is working together to develop the ways of thinking to build herbal remedies…