In the last article we went over some of the cottonwood’s medicinal uses, how and when to collect, and infusing the medicinal parts, the buds, into an oil. In this article we will talk about turning the cottonwood oil into a medicinal salve.
Now that you have created cottonwood oil, you can now use the following recipe to create your own medical ointment. The advantages of an ointment is that the oil is turned into a thicker consistency that better adheres to skin and can be carried easily for first aid uses in the field.
Cottonwood Ointment Recipe
1 cup of cottonwood oil
1/4 cup of shaved beeswax
First, choose a pot or pan that you don’t mind dedicating to salve-making, as the medicine will be very difficult to completely remove. Heat up your cottonwood oil on the stove on low heat. Once the oil has warmed up, slowly add the thin shavings of beeswax into the pot, waiting for shavings to melt before adding more.
You can test the consistency of your medicine by removing a teaspoon of the heated oil/beeswax mix, and allowing it to fully cool. Your goal is to create an ointment consistency. Too little beeswax and the mixture remains as a thick oil, while too much beeswax turns the mix into a hard consistency similar to lip balm. You can adjust by adding more oil or beeswax to gain the desired consistency.
Once you have melted your beeswax into the mix and achieved the desired consistency upon testing, you can allow the mix to begin to cool. Just before your salve begins to firm up, you can pour the warm salve into small containers such as baby food jars or small tins. Your salve will then cool down into place. The small containers of cottonwood ointment make great additions to any bushcraft first aid kit.
You can now use the salve to sooth sore muscles, treat minor burns and scrapes, and soften rough hands. Enjoy!