Cottonwood Bud Salve
I use this salve for everything from dry skin(feet!) and lips to abrasions, cuts, painful joints - not for deep or puncture wounds, though.
I start by watching for fallen cottonwood limbs in the cold winter months - black cottonwood (Populus balsamifera) is my favorite, but any of the cottonwoods will do. What you want is the plump, sticky buds that smell so wonderful and make your hands gooey. I pick the buds and generally just lay them out on a clean, but old, tea towel for a day or two to let them dry well. It's not necessary to wash them. I put them in a clean glass canning jar, cover with olive oil, and stir with a dedicated chopstick once or twice a day for at least a couple of weeks. Put a dish under the jar, and cover loosely because it might run over the top. I just leave the chopstick in the jar during this time. I generally use this winter's oil in next fall's salve making.
When I'm ready to make salve, I run the oil through cheesecloth in a dedicated strainer into a large, dedicated glass measuring cup. (Everything for cottonwood salve is dedicated. You will NEVER clean off all the cottonwood sap!) I gently heat the infused oil by placing the glass measuring cup into a pot of boiling water (try the pot out for size before you start!) I use roughly an ounce of bee's wax pellets or chopped bee's wax, adding a bit more for a more solid product. After the wax melts, I take the measuring cup out of the hot water and carefully pour into clean jars or tins.
There's no need to add any preservatives. And that's all there is to it!
I add this label if I'm giving it as a gift.
Winter cottonwood buds soaked in food grade olive oil, with natural bee’s wax added.
Use on minor cuts, bruises and chapped skin. Can use as a lip balm and on dry feet, elbows and hands. Do not get near eyes. Do not use if allergic! Do not use on deep or puncture wounds!
Merry Christmas from Linda Bittle!
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