My friend Shauna invited me over the other night for wine and cottonwood salve production. She'd recently stumbled upon a felled cottowood tree with gigantic buds, ripe for picking. (Tip: pick buds before the green leaves appear.) Why should you collect cottonwood buds? Because they can be used to make a healing balm to treat abrasions, inflammation, soreness, and dry skin.
What you will need:
- cottonwood buds
- coconut oil
- small glass jars
- Vitamin E, essential oils (optional)
Once you've finished picking, place the buds and twice as much coconut oil in a double boiler situation (we used a metal bowl over a large pot filled half way with water) over low heat for about five hours.
Your house will smell like sweet, fresh spring!
Strain the bud/coconut oil concoction through cheesecloth.
You will be left with what Shauna calls "liquid gold".
Next, grate a bunch of beeswax. We used a 1:1 ratio of liquid gold and beeswax.
Fill cute little jars with grated beeswax.
Add liquid gold to the top of the beeswax line.
Place jars in a couple of inches of hot water in a large pot. Melt the mixture over medium high heat until only a beautiful amber liquid remains.
Place on a rack to cool and stir in vitamin E and/or essential oils to your preference. I tried a few jars with just vitamin E, a few with lavender, a few with sweet orange, and a few with lemon essential oils; about five drops per small jar.
The salve will cool to a hard substance, and will soften over time. In other words, make in May, and it will be ready to give as a gift in December.
Question: Do you collect any plants that can be used for medicinal purposes?