May 8, 2018

How to Make Dandelion Plantain Balm and Why

I have been foraging dandelions for a few days now - just waiting for an opportunity to make my Dandelion Plantain salve and - to share it. Dandelions have many uses for the homemaker and for the homesteader, really for anyone with herbal/ly interests. A simple google search would give you plenty of ideas for Dandelion uses.

But Why Dandelion? {Taraxacum officinale}

Besides being widespread and easy to identify, Dandelions are easy to grow and semi easy to harvest. A win win for the beginner and the expert. All parts of the plant can be used, the root for things like - stimulating bile production and as a liver tonic, the leaf for things like - water retention and kidney problems. The flowers can be saute`d for dinner additions or in our case... used in a balm for sore muscles, chapped skin and stiff joints.

And Plantain? {Plantago major}

Again, plantain is wide spread with multiple uses, and it is easy to identify. Dandelion and Plantain are great herbs for children to learn basic salve making skills with as well as botanical identification. Plantain is my - most used - go to - for skin issues, because of it's ability to effectively nurture the skin as a whole. From fighting infection to drawing out skin toxins and soothing scrapes, bites and stings. Plantain is priceless. Together - they are gift to be reckoned with.

"Plantain also has styptic and hemostatic properties, meaning that it can help check bleeding." - Rosemary Gladstar, Medicinal Herbs - A Beginner's Guide, page 189

How To Harvest Dandelions & Prepare Them for Salve Making:

I simply walk around my foraging area and snap the flower heads off and put them in a bowl or basket. When I get back home, I rinse them quickly and then spread them out on a paper or cloth towel for a couple of days. This allows them to dry out just a bit, as Dandelions are very 'wet' in nature and I don't want my salve to turn rancid because of the excess moisture.

Once the Dandelions are semi dry - they are ready to be used in our balm. I prefer the solar infusion method, but in a pinch I will use the oven or crock pot to create the heat I need for infusion purposes. I fill a quart sized jar half to two thirds full of the herbs I am using. For this balm {or salve} I am using Dandelions and Plantain. The Plantain has already been completely dried.

Then cover the dried herbs with your oil of choice, such as; olive oil or almond... sunflower oil even. Next set the jar in a sunny location and allow the infusion to happen - please see the links below for more method details. After the desired time has passed to allow for the botanical benefits to transfer from the herbs to the oil, drain and remove the spent herbs. Reserving the medicinal oil for your balm.

Basic Recipe Ratio's for Balm/Salve Making: Mix together the desired 'parts' of the medicinal oil to beeswax. Make sure both items are warm, this will help with the blending and thus create a smoother consistency. While in the warm, melted stage, pour the balm into the containers of your choice. Let your balm cool and set, then label and date with the ingredients. I also like to add what the salve, or balm is used for too, especially if I am gifting it.

1 Part Beeswax to 3 Parts Medicinal Oil = firm salve
1 Part Beeswax to 4 Parts Medicinal Oil = soft balm/salve

I am looking forward to using this balm on my - very dry - garden hands and reaping the benefits of Dandelion and Plantain. Go ahead, and give it a try! However, if you are not up for making it yourself or have a desire to support small businesses, please keep this in mind. Our Dandelion Plantain balm will be available in the shop for a short time - while supplies last.

Coming to the shop as part of our business launch, very soon!


Recommended Resources:

April 21, 2018

Homestead Happenings - Watching the Chickens Peck

Today was the perfect day to sit and watch the chickens peck. It wasn't too hot nor too cold, and the wind was actually pretty low on the breeze scale. While I was out I made another attempt to capture the chicken-ness of the chicken. It isn't easy, chickens don't stand still for long...

 But it was relaxing and a great way to rest on Shabbat!

April 14, 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook ~ My April Mid

For Today

Looking out my window... I see the sun setting behind the uplift, on a wonderful Sabbath evening. The rays changing colors with each passing minute and I am reminded of why I love the west. In the yard - the trees are beginning to bud.

I am thinking... about the projects on my list, the painting of two rooms before mama comes to visit. About changing the Highwinds Homestead to it's own blog and about my family goals. I am also thinking about the grandchild due in November.
I am thankful... for Pesach and the Feast of Unleavened Bread that I spent with my husband and our Fellowship family. Such a special time...
One of my favorite things... is to watch the chickens peck.These girls will be in their new coop before the month is over, and I can hardly wait to have farm fresh eggs again.

I am creating... the second sleeve, to this - my knitted sweater. The color is Merlot and I hope to have it finished before our Marriage conference come November. It is from the Celtic Journey through Knit Picks, which contains a few creatives I would like to attempt.

I am wearing... my two sizes too big denim skirt and my "I love my Husband" t-shirt. Total relaxation clothing on my part.   
I am reading... well, trying to read would be more appropriate. But slow progress is still progress.

I am hoping... to have my own homestead someday, surrounded by trees and mountains. But until them, I will live and homestead right where I am... leaving my hope in God.
I am learning... the importance of renewal. The act of renewing; the act of forming anew; as the renewal of a treaty. Renovation; regeneration. Revival; restoration to a former or to a good state.
In my kitchen... the smell of barbacoa beef is filling the air. A Trim Healthy Mama version, and after tasting a little bite, I will need to cut back on the peppers. {Yikes} But Glory to God, I am twenty pounds to my goal weight... which I am so thankful for. Having lost almost forty pounds in little over a year... slow and steady. 

In my garden... the outline of garden beds, and the process of fence building has commenced. This past week I sowed thirty six tomato plants, which might be some what over kill if they all survive. But until then... I have a heart to sow much. In more ways than in the garden.
Post Scrip: I am new to Cultivate What Matters, but I am loving their instagram, their write the word journals and I am really holding out for the new Power Sheets
Shared Quote: “…the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by his letting us have our way in the end, but by his making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly pray what he taught his disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” - Elisabeth Elliot
A moment from my day: admiring dandelions.

May your week be filled with joy, intentional living and purpose. May your nights be filled with laughing, wholeness and heart moments, and may you see the sunrise and enjoy strong coffee each morning.

Shared/Found Here: The Simple Woman's Daybook