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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Witches Brew

Sorry, I've been a bit negligent of my blog readers recently - I blame the visitors!  I do have a few projects to show you once I've taken the photographs and got myself organised, but in the meantime here's a little something I threw together in my cauldron today.

This is a very easy to make ointment which is good for all sorts of things - Calendula Balm.  First grow your calendula officinalis flowers!  Then, harvest the flowers and dry them until you have a nice little amount ready to use.

Here's the recipe, and then I'll tell you what it's good for.

Calendula Balm

350ml (12 fl. oz) olive oil
56g (2 oz) beeswax
A good handful of dried calendula flowers

Dried calendula flowers

Gently warm the oil and beeswax in a double boiler and add the flowers.  Simmer for about 10 minutes or so.

Oil, beeswax and flowers in double boiler

Remove from heat and strain immediately through muslin into sterilised pots before it starts to set.
Leave to cool completely, and then put on the lids.

It's amazing how much it makes

OK, so what do you use it for?  Well, it makes a really good lip balm.  I don't know about you, but as soon as the weather starts to get cooler my lips tend to dry out and get a bit flaky.  This stuff is a perfect moisturizer for lips in the winter months.  It's also very good for rough and sore skin and also for scrapes or anything that isn't healing quite as quickly as it should.  Calendula is anti-fungal and once or twice has worked really well to stop the itching caused by athlete's foot when I was stuck without any cream.  The other thing it's been tried on was cold sores.  A friend came to visit us and forgot to bring his medication with him - sure enough, a little way into his stay he started to develop a cold sore.  In the absence of anything else, he used the calendula balm.  It didn't cure it, but it stopped it in its tracks and it didn't get any worse.

The main reason I make it though is for insect bites.  We get a lot of mosquitoes and other biting insects here and I found out quite by chance that if you treat them with the balm they stop itching very quickly.  Magic!  And just in time too - I got three bites this evening while we sat on the patio.

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