By Sharon Wallace, Contributing Writer
Have you been working on your own herbal medicine chest this month?
I’ve been running trials with herbal combinations and other naturally occurring remedies for various first aid treatments that are easy to recreate at home. Some of my favorite herbs for first aid healing include weeds that are growing right outside my kitchen door, like chickweed and plantain. I’ve included them in my recipe for Backyard Healing Salve. Others are Melissa (Lemon Balm), Comfrey, Self-heal, and Yarrow.
Activated Charcoal Drawing Salve
Chickweed is my all time favorite herb, but I’ve been reading a lot about Activated Charcoal as a drawing agent. Activated charcoal has been used since antiquity to deal with many health related issues from whitening teeth to relieving gas, removing toxins from our digestive tract (including those from food poisoning), and pulling bacteria from wounds to relieve or prevent infection.
The way activated charcoal works is by trapping bacteria in the many tiny little pockets in its surface. When used internally, it doesn’t enter the blood stream but passes right through our digestive system taking its unwanted cargo with it. When used topically, as a poultice, it provides amazing drawing properties that pull infectious bacteria from wounds and boils.
How it would work in a salve ? Would the tiny pockets needed to carry bacteria away be clogged with the oils and waxes in the salve ? I did my research and found that many folks are finding that activated charcoal is also effective when used this way ! So I thought…why not add a few herbs with healing properties to provide a little extra healing help to the activated charcoal…you know how I love herbal synergy !
- ½ Cup of Castor Oil- very healing
- ½ Cup of Olive Oil or Herbal Infused Oil- also healing and a great medium for infusing with herbs.
To make your own infused oil, simply add your fresh or dried herbs to the oils and allow them to warm for 2-3 hours. Then strain off the oils and continue. You’re not limited to the herbs I’ve used here. Feel free to use whatever healing herbs you have on hand or even use the olive oil without infusing.
Note : I like to use Comfrey in many of my healing balms but didn’t include it in this one because comfrey speeds cell regeneration and healing which is great but often knits together the skin over a wound before the tissues inside have healed. We want to avoid this until we’re sure the wound is infection free.
Warm the oils in a double boiler over low heat.
- ½ oz. Beeswax
- Stir until melted
- ¼ cup Activated Charcoal
- 1/8 cup Bentonite Clay (also exceptional properties for drawing out toxins)
Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool just a bit so our volatile essential oil doesn”t evaporate.
Pour into sterilized tins or small jars.
Apply as needed to wounds, boils, splinters, insect bites and other infected skin irritations.
Caution: What we’ve prepared here is basically a tarry, sooty, oily treatment that is quite effective but also a bit messy. Always cover the salve with a bandage to avoid staining clothing or furniture.
Have you used Activated Charcoal? What’s your favorite application?