Finding leftover marshmallow root capsules in my cupboard I did a bit of research to find a new use for them. One of marshmallow root’s possible uses is to support the healing of old wounds. Consequently I decided to create a salve in the hope of healing my mosquito bite scars. As it turns out the salve is so much more than this.
Amazingly the salve is proving fantastic support for various skin conditions against itching!
If you’re struggling with biting insects too take a look at my “Natural Mosquito Repellents and Bite Relief” post for further natural support;
There are certain benefits to using an ointment / salve which includes;
- Stays on the skin for a long time
- Forms a protective barrier
- Easy to apply
- Useful for delicate skin
- Keeps heat in and water out
- Less invasive because you don’t ingest them
Now lets take a look at the separate ingredients in my creation;
This herb is native to Europe and is also known as Guimauve Tea. This name is due to a sweet dessert called Pâte de Guimauve which is made from whipping the sap of the mallow root.
By applying marshmallow externally as an ointment it may help support the body with regards to;
- Old Wounds
It is also useful externally because it is an emollient which means that it softens and soothes the skin.
As previously mentioned its the applying to old wounds suggestion that attracts me because of the old bug bite marks that I have on my legs. In fact they are unsightly and I feel that using marshmallow as an ointment base is worth a try.
To make the salve I add 5% of powdered root to the ointment base and I choose safflower oil for my ointment base because of its skin benefits too.
The Safflower herb is also known as Hong Hua because this is its name in China.
Safflower oil seems the perfect choice for my salve because eczema and roughness of the skin may also be soothed by its supporting properties.
Safflower oil is high in linoleic acid which is said to be nourishing to the skin. In fact there are many articles suggesting that topical application of linoleic acid helps with acne too.
It was very difficult for me to find safflower oil because I couldn’t find it in any of the supermarkets or local shops. Therefore I ended up buying it online;
Safflower oil does seem quite expensive but I wanted it for its particular properties that are helpful to the skin.
Using soybean or corn oil are other possibilities because they contain linoleic acid too.
Finally I use beeswax when making my salves and ointments because this gives them the right consistency.
I find Fresh Skin yellow beeswax to be good price, quality and melts very easily;
Using beeswax has many benefits because it also adds healing properties to the ointment. These include;
- Forming a protective barrier by sealing in moisture while still allowing the skin to breathe.
- Contains vitamin A
Making Marshmallow and Safflower Ointment
I make the salve as follows;
- Pour 200ml of safflower oil and 17g of beeswax into a Pyrex jug.
2. Add 1000mg of marshmallow root powder. I do this by opening and emptying the contents of two 500mg marshmallow root capsules into the mix.
3. Stand the pyrex jug in a large pan. Then pour water into the pan until it reaches just below the level of the safflower, beeswax and marshmallow root mix.
4. Using a mid heat I slowly bring the water to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer. Stir the mix occasionally.
5. When the beeswax has dissolved remove the jug from the pan with a heatproof glove. Leaving the jug on a heatproof chopping board I allow it to cool slightly.
6. Pour the mixture into pots before it starts to solidify. Using five 2oz / 60ml plastic storage tubs is exactly the right quantity for these measurements.
7. Leave the pots on the side to cool and set.
Take a look at this link for the storage containers I use if you are looking for some yourself. I find the following are a good price and the 60ml pots are the perfect size;
8. When the ointment cools I find that some of the marshmallow root powder pools at the bottom of the pots. Therefore I take a small spoon and stir the powder into each pot more evenly. The ointment is a consistency that allows this to be easily done.
9. Place the lids on the pots.
10. Label the pots with name, expiry date, ingredients and uses.
11. Store in a bathroom or medicine cabinet away from the light.
Oil based preparations can last from 6 months to 3 years. I have decided to opt for an expiry date in a years time because this is usually the advised expiry date for safflower oil.
I use my own common sense and judgement with expiry dates. If a preparation smells wrong, feels different from when it was made, or the colour has changed dramatically then its time to think about throwing it away. If I’m not sure I throw it away just in case.
Review of the Marshmallow and Safflower Oil Salve
Its still early days but the salve is very impressive so far. It is proving itself to be a wonderful anti-itching ointment for different types of skin conditions.
Personally I find it useful on my mosquito bites and their angry redness is reducing a lot quicker than they normally do. I also find that it stops new ones itching too.
With friends and family its also proving extremely useful with regards to the itching associated with eczema, lupus and lichen planus. From researching it appears that many skin conditions will disappear or fade in time, but unfortunately sometimes this can take years.
Therefore stopping the itching seems high priority. Stopping scratching assists the conditions to heal because scratching exacerbates them. This salve seems a little miracle so far in assisting in this way.
I have been told that it is giving more relief than any of the pharmaceutical preparations and suggestions.
To make a basic ointment I leave out the marshmallow root and just use the beeswax and safflower oil. I follow the same instructions as above and just omit adding the marshmallow root.
I find this basic ointment useful for rubbing onto the hard skin of my heels but it can also be used on rough skin found on elbows and feet. Gently rubbing it onto the rough skin I notice the difference almost immediately.
- Ointments should not be used for hot, inflamed or weepy skin conditions.
- Don’t forget to do a small patch test with the ointment to check for intolerance.
Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. Therefore only try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction.
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.
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