Self Heal Oil for First-Aid
It’s the perfect time of year to be foraging for herbal first-aid helpers. Many of the most effective plant healers for wounds, scrapes, and bruises are growing abundantly in our own backyards. One of those common plant healers with a long history as a first-aid plant is Self Heal. In addition to the plant’s internal antibacterial and antiviral benefits, Self Heal is an effective topical herb, too.
I consider Self Heal to be a summer herb extraordinaire! Of course, we can all agree that summer is best enjoyed with minimal skin complaints. Bug bites, sunburns, heat rashes, and more can be addressed by Self Heal’s restoring powers.
Self Heal has properties that lend itself to healing damaged skin tissue. In addition, it will draw out infections (much like Plantain), and can halt the bleeding of scrapes and open wounds. Due to it’s cooling properties, Self Heal is a good choice for burns, too. It disperses the heat associated with sunburns and swelling. Self Heal has potential as a skin protector from the sun’s rays thanks to the rosmarinic acid found within the plant.
Although not as popular today as it was in the past, Self Heal is a great herb to know. Upon finding it in the yard, I just knew I needed to make some time for it. The method I describe for making a Self Heal oil comes from the book Backyard Medicine by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal. It’s been my go-to book this foraging season. I really enjoy the creative ways they use the plants profiled throughout the book.
Making a Self Heal Oil
First, collect your materials. You will need a mason jar, an oil of your choice, a piece of clothe, a rubber band, a strainer or cheese clothe, and jars to pour the oil into when ready.
Next, collect the plant leaves and blossoms when the dew of the morning has mostly dried, but before the heat of the day distresses the plant.
Simply fill your mason jar with flower heads and leaves. Take the time to really enjoy the blossoms. Gaze into the ready blooms, and examine the ones tucked inside holding all of that potential energy. Not only will you be displaying respect for the sacredness of the plant, but you will also be more at ease during the foraging process.
The chicks curiously found me collecting the pretty purple-blue blossoms. I think they wanted to help!
Once your jar is mostly filled with leaves and blossoms, you can add the oil. I use grape seed oil because it goes on less greasy than other oils. Equally great choices are coconut, olive, or apricot seed oil.
Pour the oil in to cover the plant material about an inch. Give the oil a stir to work out any air bubbles trapped inside. Next, you will cover the jar with a piece of clothe and a rubber band. This will help any moisture from the fresh plant material to evaporate.
Your jar will need to sit in a sunny window for three or four weeks. You may need to push the plant material down under the oil every few days to keep it covered.
When the time comes, strain the plant material from the oil and allow the oil to sit. If there is any moisture left in the jar, you will want to carefully separate out the oil by pouring it into a different jar.
Finally, label and date your product. It should keep for a year, but always check for rancidity. (The smell will give it away.)
I’m looking forward to turning this oil into a salve or cream for daunting summertime skin irritants. With all of the benefits Self Heal has to offer, I’m sure it will make those itches and burns disappear in no time.
I’m curious! Have you used Self Heal to make an oil before? What kind of benefits have you observed from using it?