Salves: Cottonwood

Hi, I hope you had a great Labor Day!

Today we’re talking about Cottonwood. Ever see that spring snow of fluff in the air?These trees can be identified by their heart-shaped leaves that have a silvery, almost white underside (they look like they’re shimmering when a breeze ruffles them), and if you smell a young leaf or bud, they have a beautiful honey-like aroma. It smells like perfume. They like water, so look in areas near creeks, rivers, lakes, and wetlands.

The part to use is the bud, which can be harvested in the early spring. You simply snap off the buds on the branches. It is helpful to find a tree that is in a sunny location, because when they are in full sun, they put out branches within reach. If they are in a shady spot, you probably won’t be able to reach many branches. You may want to wear gloves, because the buds release a sticky sap as you pick them, this is the gooey goodness we are after.

This salve is great for cuts, scrapes, bruises, and mildly dry skin. If you have severely dry skin, like I used to have, you might want to try some Calendula or Plantain salve too. Both are healing and antiseptic. Just gently smooth it over your skin and let it soak in.

Cottonwood Bud Salve 

Step one:

1 cup Cottonwood buds

2 cups oil (Olive, Avocado, Sunflower, really any carrier oil works just fine)

Blend the oil and Cottonwood buds together in a food processor until the buds are just broken up. Pour this mixture into a small saucepan and put it over very low heat, turning the heat on and off if needed for at least an hour. Sometimes we let it sit all day. Watch it carefully, you don’t want to deep-fry them :)) . Then let it cool completely and pour into a mason jar with a lid and let sit for 2-3 weeks before use.

Step two: 

Strain the Cottonwood bud oil, and put it in a small sauce pan. For every half cup of oil, you’ll want a half tablespoon of beeswax. This results in a very soft salve, if you want a firmer salve, add another half tablespoon of beeswax. Pour this into tins or jars. Let it harden and label (including the date).

The salve smells amazing!

Have fun! I hope you make this salve. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment. I would be happy to help!

God bless & Happy Salves,





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