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Healthy Happenings September 2010

Moonflower Market - Savy Salve Making

working with herbs“Salves are a great way to get herbs close to the skin,” says Sheila Manzagol, owner of Shining Mountain Herbs in Ridgway, Colorado. “The skin is often thought of as the second lung of the body. A lot of herbal benefit can be obtained by putting products like salves directly on the skin.”

Salves allow a marriage between the medicinal properties of an herb and the thick physical characteristic of the salve itself. Salves have the consistency of a thick paste that allows application on the skin to be quick, easy and without much mess. Salves allow herbs to be used topically in a ready to use form. They adhere to the skin because of their oil base and can be used liberally. They are a great addition to any first aid kit, purse or backpack. They are versatile in their use though they are typically used as a natural way to heal cuts, burns, abrasions and other small wounds. Some other common uses for salves are to heal skin after a burn, to ease fatigued muscles and even to help heal the skin after a tattoo.

There are many kinds of salves that serve a variety of purposes depending on the herbs utilized. There are drawing salves, which are helpful in healing boils, blisters and for helping to raise splinters, thorns and ingrown hairs. Other salves are used in healing diaper rash, and chapped or damaged skin. Some salves are also used to relieve nervous tension, in this case they contain soothing essential oils and are applied to the temples to bring on a restful sleep or to ease anxiety. Those salves with anti-bacterial and anti- fungal herbs are useful for mild fungal infections, or to keep a wound from becoming infected. Arnica salves are great for athletes, as they soothe aches and pains and bruised or sore muscles. Salves can also be a vehicle for healing vapors such as camphor, peppermint and eucalyptus and can be used as decongestants. Another use of a salve is to support venous function and to keep varicose veins in check.

With so many uses, salves are a great item to have in your herbal pharmacy. That said, it is important to make sure what you put on your skin is organic, particularly with salves, which are oil-based since toxins can become concentrated in fats and oils.

Salve Making Workshop
Tuesday, September 28th at 6:30pm at Moonflower Market, Sheila will hold a short workshop on salve making. She will discuss the benefits of salves, and do a demonstration. Sheila is the owner and head herbalist at her organic medicinal herb farm, Shining Mountain Herbs, located on the Western Slope of Colorado.

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