Make your own Kawakawa herbal healing salve
Use gathered kawakawa to make an all-purpose salve for bites, itches (including eczema), and minor burns and cuts. Although there’s no formal scientific research into kawakawa, it has been used by Maori for its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory qualities.
To make a salve, first make a kawakawa-infused oil.
a handful of kawakawa
Harvest the kawakawa and leave it to wilt overnight to reduce the moisture content. The next morning, finely chop the leaves (discard the stems) and place in the top of a double boiler. Pour in enough olive oil to just cover the kawakawa. Heat gently for 4 hours. Make sure the temperature does not go over 60°C or the medicinal constituents will diminish. Stir the oil every half hour. After 4 hours, remove the oil from the heat and allow to cool. Strain through muslin into a large sterilised jar. Squeeze the muslin to extract as much of the oil from the leaves as possible. Discard the leaves.
To make the salve
85ml kawakawa-infused oil
2ml lavender essential oil
small container with screw-top lid
Place the beeswax in the top part of a clean double boiler and gently heat until melted. Add the kawakawa-infused oil and stir briskly until the ingredients are well mixed. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, but not enough to start to turn solid, then add the essential oil – lavender essential oil is antiseptic and analgesic. Pour the mixture into a clean container and allow to cool completely before screwing on the lid. Design and print a label to attach to the container.
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