Scrapes, bruises, tumbles, and bug bites are all part of the mini traumas of growing up. Many remedies to these minor ailments grow unbidden in yards around the world.
Just a few weeks ago, Rose and Will ran breathlessly into the house and exclaimed, “Mama! Guess what! We found lots and lots of plantain outside! Do you want some?”
I’m so excited to finally harvest the healing powers of the herbs we trample underfoot regularly. This month’s DIY project is to make a Green Salve of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, astringent herbs (and weeds) to replace our almost empty tube of Neosporin.
Making an herbal salve is simple. Deciding which herbs to put in it is more tricky. There are so, so many incredible herbs choose from. Below are just a handful of common choices to include in an anti-bacterial green salve.
Pick at least two or three of the heavy hitters and add in others if you wish.
[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]
What Herbs to Use in an Anti-Bacterial Green Salve
Heavy Hitting Herbal Healers
Calendula flowers: potent but powerful, calendula promotes cell repair. It is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic and aids in healing cuts, burns, bruises, rashes, skin infections and is gentle enough to use on diaper rashes.
Comfrey root or leaf: famous as a “cell proliferant”, comfrey works to clear away diseased cell and encourage rapid growth of healthy cells. Use for burns, bruises, cuts and stings. Some forms of comfrey contain PAs which should be avoided internally by pregnant women and children. If using internally, use Symphytum officinale–which has little to no PAs, and speak with your health care professional first.
Lavender: effective and beautifully fragrant, lavender’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-septic properties are legendary. Use it to fight skin infections, burns, bee stings, and scrapes.
Plantain leaf: last year Rose cut her finger while we were at the zoo. My sis-in-law Amber bent down, picked a piece of plantain that was growing at our feet, smashed it, and tied it to Rose’s finger with a piece of grass. It made a very memorable (and healing) band-aid. Plantain is excellent at drawing toxins from hurts and helps heal bites, stings, and slivers.
Yarrow flowers: this lovely wildflower is a potent styptic [fancy for, “it stops bleeding”] that is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent. Used for healing wounds, bruises, and sprains. Not to be taken internally when pregnant because of its uterine-stimulating properties. Occasionally causes allergic rash.
Clover flowers: Nutrient-dense clover covers our backyard and the bees, bunnies, and birds all enjoy it. It’s good for the skin too and aids in healing eczema and psoriasis.
Echinacea flowers/leaves/stems: this beautiful and powerful flower is one of the best-loved herbs. The anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties of echinacea also make it a good choice for external ailments.
Rosemary: a mild analgesic, rosemary is helpful in fighting inflammation. Plus, it smells amazing.
Most of these herbs you can grow or harvest yourself (not many people plant plantain!) If you don’t have them in your yard or garden, the Bulk Herb Store and Mountain Rose Herbs are very favorite sources for dried herbs.
Pick Your Favorite Herbs
Choosing which herbs to use in your herbal salve is the most interesting part. It’s the hardest part too!
Prioritize herbs that help issues you regularly face. If you burn yourself regularly, lavender is a good choice. If your kids are constantly bruising themselves, try calendula and/or yarrow.
For my salve, I chose four of the “heavy hitters” plus two “additional herbs” for a well-rounded selection.
Once you’ve picked your herbs of choice, the hard part is over. Now it’s time to make a herbal oil (here’s how!).