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Archive for the ‘beeswax’ Category

Water, alcohols,vinegar, honey and oils are the menstrums I will be using. Good thing Eric and I just harvested some honey and made vinegar! I have made an infusion in my teapot, to enjoy while working.  Good thing I made it in the bigger pot this time, as my friend Val stopped in while in the middle of all this:)

I am working on different fomentation, ointments and poultices. I chose to try lavender essential oil for a cool fomentation on the back of my neck for a bit of tension and headache-yness I have been having. I could feel the muscles relax and calm down as the herbal constituents permeated my skin. A different kind of calm from simply inhaling lavender! This was a muscle and nerve ending kind of calming:)

For my ointment I used some comfrey oil I had previously infused, some of our own beeswax and followed my lessons formula and directions.

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I hope when you click on the picture and it enlarges, the beautiful green vibrancy of the comfrey oil is evident to you:)

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Of course, I had to set the stage for the these herbal preparations by assembling my recipes I would be working on. See that cute little felt heart hanging from the cabinet door? My sweet friend Rita made that for me and it is a lovely herbal sachet:) So nice to use a clothespin to hold a recipe I am working on:) Each time I clip the pin, scent is released:) The other little hive thing was actually suppose to be a picture display piece, but I find it handy to hold the herbal recipe queue.

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I adore my cast iron melting pot by Lodge, for melting beeswax and working with warming oils. It does retain heat though, and in order to get on with it, I poured the melted beeswax and comfrey oil warm mixture into another pan, to cool enough to be whipped up and then lavender essential oil added it to it.

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I like the consistency of the final product and think the comfrey and lavender will work well together for the purpose of this ointment! When finished, I include these recipes in my little recipe box.

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While I was busy in the kitchen apothecary anyway, I made the Varicose Vein Spray I had in the remedy making queue:)

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Yikes, I need to get in the habit of always including the botanical names of the herbs, as well as these common names! I will make a new label for this while working on the other labels I need to make tonight!

Big hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages

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Washing beeswax

You are probably asking yourself, what in the world is she talking about! Well, let me tell you:) I posted about how I harvest honey in this post. In one of the last pictures I show you that there is a nice big bunch of wax left over from draining the honey. This wax is still quite tacky and sticky to the touch even after being allowed to sit for along time. I am always sooo busy with family that I actually let mine sit in the bucket for two months before I got back to it, and it still was! When the weather is good and the bees are flying, you can set this wax out for your bees and they will certainly go over it and do a good job of getting any residual honey off it they can! But if you still find it sticky or the weather is not such that the bees can help you clean it, you will need to wash it before using it for other things, like making salves. Trust me, I tried a small bit melted down, without washing it, and mixed in a bit of olive oil, as an experiment, and it just doesn’t work right! So… off to washing!

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Get a big bowl or pan out and put the wax in it then add warm, not hot, water to it and swish it all around. I next use one of my honey strainers, but you could use cheesecloth or other small weave strainer, and put that strainer over another container to drain.

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Now make sure and do not put either the first pans water nor this water down your drain! There will be enough of the wax in the water to slow your drains or even plug them!

You might have to do this wash/swish/drain procedure a couple of times to get your wax nice and clean but it is worth it because then you will have nice clean wax to start any of your future projects with!

My next step was to melt the wax. You will need to do this in a double boiler type of arrangement.

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That picture shows freshly washed wax in the upper pot and in the bottom pot I just put a canning ring in the bottom to raise the upper pot off the heat, and then put some water in the bottom pot. Simmer gently, making sure there is enough water in the bottom pot not to got dry (you might have to add some periodically) and watching that it doesn’t go dry, nor bubble high enough to get water into your melting wax.

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(Please overlook the dirty stove! Even when I clean it, I soon do some other thing that messes it right back up! You get to see the good, the bad and the ugly here!lol)

Even after washing the wax you might be surprised at the amount of debris that is still in it! The wax I did looked just gorgeous, but after it was melted, I strained it through cheesecloth and still got quite alot of debris from it! This is the set up I have. I just tie a string around a cheesecloth topped bowl to strain the melted wax.

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And this is a picture of the debris!

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Since I am just doing this for home use folks, I am sure there are other ways to do big batches. Since I like to leave my honey in the frame until I run out, I was just working with wax from 8 honey frames I had extracted. After it had been melted and strained I poured it into containers to set into blocks I could then use for making healing salves.

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I know the top of the cooling wax looks dark in the mold pans, but that changes as it cools!

So that is washing and melting wax!

Big herbal and honey blessings to all of you who visit Comfrey Cottages:)

 

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Had a simply lovely day! I went wildgathering with my friend valerie, specifically for elderberries. Val had found this lovely stand of them in a nice little spot, so off we went with pruners, scissors, a ladder, gathering basket etc. That was lovely and i will post about the berries soon but for now I want to invite my herbie friends to this hop! To explain further, I am so excited… we found a beautiful wild american hop growing up this tree!! I didn’t know there was anything like an american hop and was so excited. Being an insomnic, i had always read where pillows stuffed with hops were helpful for that condition, but, was very disappointed with the hops i had found at my herb store. Well, now i have a lovely basket full of fresh harvest hops and i am looking for ideas and inputs from all of you seasoned herbalist on how best to use this harvest. and if there are other things i should be doing with them. so…. the herbie hop to me would be a sort of mental dance of all our ideas!

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As you can see Patrick (on the left) and Wisteria (on the right) were quite interested in what i brought home! lol imagine that, a cat interested in a possible intoxicant!lol

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I have been reading where hops are very good for removing pain and inflammations. Also for neuralgic and rheumatic pain, so thinking maybe to oil infuse some for salve making. I am wondering about tincturing some for a time when its sedative properties would be useful. And of course, thinking of the soothing dream pillows. Since this is my first time working with this herb any advice will be welcome. Especially since there is more where these came from and I can try several different things! So lay it on me herbies! What would you do with this lovely herb?

Big herbal and sticky honey hugs to all of you who visit Comfrey Cottages!! 🙂

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Today I decided the time was right to decant the comfrey oil, st. john’s wort oil, and the yarrow tincture. I don’t know why but the picture color is not the color i saw with the st. john’s wort oil and the yarrow tincture! both were a lovely deep ruby color but turned out purplish in these pics!

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trust me, they are a gorgeous ruby color. will have to figure out why the color in the pics are different than in real life. any suggestions?

the comfrey oil was a lovely green shade.

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all of them smelled wonderful! so earthy, and wholesome!

the comfrey oil and the st. john’s wort oil are both going to be used in healing salves. the comfrey for the little scrapes and cuts we all get in are day to day lives. i will add a bit of thyme oil to the comfrey oil salves also. comfrey heals wounds so quickly that if there is a bit of infection present, it could actually seal the infection in, so the thyme will help prevent this with its antiseptic properties. the st; john’s wort oil  will help with the bruises, scrapes, nerve pain, and also for the basis for sunscreen. when i use these in salves i will be using some of the wonderful beeswax from the first honey harvest. this is the large baking dish full i have from the wax that has been draining since the harvest a couple weeks ago. most of the honey is drained out of it now.

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i will gently melt this wax in a pot over boiling water until it is smooth and i can pour it into individual containers. some to mix with the healing salves and then some i am going to try something new. my beautiful daughter michelle is a diabetic and just plagued by dry skin. i am going to try a couple different oils added to the beeswax to see if i can make her a good moisture rich skin salve/ lotion. thinking to see how organic coconut oil mixes with the beeswax for one.

so more alchemy happening here at comfrey cottages courtesy of our bee friends. both for the lovely beeswax and also the lovely plants i am working with. will post more as i work with these things with pictures also.

big herbal and honey hugs to all of you who visit here at comfrey cottages!

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