This is part 1 of a 2 part project. Find Step #2 here.
If you’re like me, you’re probably into the local food movement. Eating produce that is in season, finding producers who are nearby rather than having your food shipped halfway around the world. I’m not perfect, but I try to notice where my food comes from.
But what about beauty and health products? Do you have any idea where or how those are made? I certainly don’t.
I try to use ‘natural’ products. But even that can mean having a natural product shipped to you from South America or some other far off location.
Today we’re going to do some beginner’s foraging … and start making a super useful product from it: healing salve for bruises and sprains.
In natural health shops, you’ll probably see Arnica creams and salves for healing bruises. Arnica is brilliant. But it doesn’t grow in England.
What do we have growing abundantly in England that works just as well? Daisies.
Daisies are everywhere. And although they’ve fallen out of fashion in the herbal medicine world, daisies were used for centuries as bruise healers.
We’re going to make a daisy salve for bruises. Salves are one of the easiest herbal remedy preparations to make because it’s just oil and beeswax – no fancy ingredients or equipment. But this week we’re just going to collect the daisies and start infusing the oil.
If you have kids, this would be a great project to do together. They’ll enjoy collecting the daisies, and once you have the finished salve, I’m guessing they’re the ones who would use the salve most often for bruises!
If you’re taking part in Vintage Summer Camp, making this oil will get you the foraging badge.
Note: As always, use common sense with this project. If you or your kids are allergic to the daisy family, this isn’t the project for you! Always test any of your homemade projects on a small patch of your inner arm and wait 24 hours to see if you have any reaction before proceeding, just in case!
Daisies (just the flower heads)
Oil (I used sweet almond oil, but olive oil or sunflower oil will work well too)
A jar with a lid, a size that can hold the daisies
Collect some daisies! Ideally two big handfuls, but don’t stress out about it.
Back at home, get a clean jar that’s about the same size as your amount of daisies. Ideally you want the daisies and oil to fill the jar, but again, don’t stress out about this. Just use whatever jar you have.
Don’t wash the daisies first!! Any moisture in the jar might lead to mold growing (not good!), so they need to be really dry. Put the daisies in the jar. Push down the daisies. Then pour on enough oil to cover them by about 1/2″ inch. Cover the jar and leave it in a sunny window for 2 weeks. It’s really important that the oil covers ALL of the daisies, because if some are exposed to air, they again might grow mold (still not good!). In this picture below I need to add even more oil to cover the daisies.
That’s it! After 2 weeks, strain out the daisies. If you’re feeling ambitious and there are more daisies in bloom, you can go collect more daisies and put them into the same oil and infuse for another 2 weeks. This makes a double-strong oil. But don’t stress about it. In an upcoming post I’ll show you how to do the express infusion version over a double boiler in case you don’t want to wait two weeks to finish the project!
Once you’ve made Daisy Infused Oil, check out the English Daisy Salve recipe here to finish the project!
This project will earn you the foraging badge at Vintage Summer Camp. Summer camp runs until the end of August, come join us!