Chaparral salve – a simple soothing blend of chaparral, olive oil and beeswax, wonderful to support minor cuts, scrapes, burns and dry skin.
One of my favorite things about the Arizona desert is chaparral. I know, it’s a weird thing to love, but if you have ever lived in the desert or in a desert climate you probably know this plant very well.
And you might not realize you even know what this plant is.
Chaparral is a plant that is popular in the hot, desert climate – Mojave desert, here in Arizona and even in northern Mexico. It can survive in the harshest of conditions – dry, hot, extreme heat. In fact, the plant is actually known to kill its offspring to reduce growing competition.
In other words, it wants space.
And if something (another chaparral plant) is in it’s “space”, it’ll kill that offspring plant just to keep an even spacing between each other.
The chaparral plant is commonly known as the Creosote Bush – or, greasewood plant. For centuries, it has been a traditional healing herb used for a variety of topical applications.
The stems and leaves of the bush are covered with a sticky resin that screens leaves against ultraviolet radiation, reduces water loss, and poisons or repels most herbivores. This resin is used in herbalism and to protect wood from insects.
The plant itself has some incredible properties that make it wonderful to use for skin support, but also for many other areas of the body.
What makes Creosote (or, Desert Chaparral) so amazing?
Chaparral is wonderful for both internal and topical use. When used as a salve and applied to skin, it can help with cuts, scrapes, burns, and even dry skin/eczema.
When used internally, it is to be taken as a tincture in tea – 1 tsp per one quart of water.
- Chaparral is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory.
- The plant can promote the healing of minor wounds, scrapes, cuts and skin issues.
- Chaparral salve (creosote) is not only good for topical applications, it’s also a great anti-viral medicine.
- Native Americans have used Chaparral to treat a variety of illnesses, including cancer. Chaparral has an ingredient called NDGA – a potent anti-tumor agent (you can read more here).
As helpful as chaparral can be, when over-used (as a tea) it can create problems with the liver and lead to nausea.
That can also happen with plenty of other things too though. We must always keep in mind that although this is an option for many, it takes away from the profitable pharmaceutical companies so it’s best to do your own research.
Making Chaparral Salve (Creosote)
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- 1.5 C olive oil
- 1 C. dry creosote leaves
- 1/4 C. beexwax pellets
Make an infusion with the olive oil and dried herb – you can do this any of several ways:
- Add 1 C. of dry creosote to a mason jar and top with 1.5 C. olive oil. Tightly lid, place a brown bag over the top and allow to sit in the sun for 8-12 weeks. Give it a good shake every so often.
- Or, add 1 C. of dry creosote to a mason jar and top with 1.5 C. olive oil. Place in a crock pot and add enough water to come within 2 inches of the top of the jar. Set on warm for 8 hours if not overnight.
- Instead of the crock pot you can place the jar in a small pot on the stove, and add enough water to come within a few inches of the top of the jar. Turn the stove on low for 2-3 hours taking care not to forget about your infusion.
Strain the hot oil through a fine mesh colander or cheesecloth. Add the beeswax and stir until the mixture is completely and thoroughly melted.
Wait a few hours for the salve to harden up – if you move them, even slightly, during the process, you’ll ruin the perfect tops on your salve.
(If you don’t have cheesecloth, check out some of these other things you can use in place that work just as well).
If you plan on selling your chaparral salve, you’ll want to check out the FDA standards for labeling. The instructions I have directly above do not follow FDA standards, especially if you plan on selling! The FDA requires sellers to adhere to strict standards and you will need to familiarize yourself with those standards.
Enjoy your salve – keep it in a cool place and use topically, as needed.
(Don’t feel like making your own salve? You can find Chaparral (Creosote) Salve in my online shop.