Thursday, July 25, 2013

Chickweed salve recipe

Here's a recipe for some Chickweed salve I made recently.

I have a friend who has one of the most amazing skin problems I've ever seen.  Whenever I see his hands I just want to cry it looks so painful.  Apparently it feels far worse than it looks, poor thing.

Over the years he tried almost every skin treatment imaginable, from fancy doctor stuff to holistic herbal whatcha things.  Most of them made the hurt and crack and bleed... but a few things worked for him and he gave me permission to make a salve based on that.

I have a theory that there are two main kind of skin problems - keep in mind, it's just an oversimplified theory based on my observation and questioning people I meet.  One kind of skin problem is caused by the immune system not working well enough, and the other is caused by the immune system working too well.  For people with the former, herbal lotions with calendula, honey, lavender, and other immune supporting elements will help, but for my friend, he needs the exact opposite.  It's like his immune system is attacking his skin in some sort of vengeful fit of rage at the world around it.

Chickweed in the past has helped my friend (let's call him Mr Kitten) so I thought I would start with that.  It has a nice soothing quality that doesn't encourage the immune system to take action.

I gathered up a large handful of fresh chickweed from the garden (it's a weed so I was 'gathering' it anyway), washed it well and chopped it medium fine.  Then I added it to lard and very gently simmered it in the slow cooker for two hours.

Cooking in the slowcooker was a mistake.  The temperature was way too high, so next time I'll cook in a double boiler situation.

When it smelt good and chickweed like, I strained the chickweed, added olive oil and beeswax to make the texture right (depending on where on the animal the fat came from, it may be too runny or too hard for a lotion).  Next time I won't be adding beeswax as I realize now it is one of those immune boosters.  Instead, I'll just use tallow fat which is much stiffer than regular lard.

Put it in jars, letting it cool before putting on the lid.

So far Mr Kitten says it's working well with a bit of a sting at the start.  I might try adding some Dock weed to the next concoction to see if that helps at all.

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