Now is the time to harvest plants that are in the mint family, especially if they have yet to flower. This salve makes use of both peppermint and lemon balm. Lemon balm is a powerful anti-viral when it comes to viruses in the herpes family. Mint clears the heat of inflammation and provides the refreshing “taste”. If you want to sooth cold sore symptoms and shorten the healing time then be sure to have this easily on hand.
Cold Sore Salve
1 cup of infused oil. I use organic US grown olive oil. 1/2 cup each of peppermint and lemon balm if using dried. Pack a 16 0z. jar with clean, dry leaves if using fresh. Do not crush or macerate the leaves during processing to avoid releasing water into your infusion. Fill jar to the rim with oil, make sure no plant material has risen above the oil. Screw the lid on tightly and set jar on a saucer in case there is expansion. Let set 4-6 weeks before straining.
2-3 ounces of beeswax pellets
1 oz of shea butter
5 drop of peppermint essential oil if desired.
Add your strained oil infusion to a double boiler. Heat on medium for 5 minutes. Add in the 2 ounces of beeswax and all of the shea butter. As soon as it is all melted and you see no floating pellets-test consistency by dipping a metal spoon into the mixture and placing it in the freezer for 1 minute. If you are happy with the result remove from the heart. If not, add beeswax and test until you are satisfied. Let cool 2 minutes and then add in the essential oil. Pour into small tubes, tins or jars. Let sit 2 hours before capping and storing.
Mentha is in the mint/Lamiaceae family and includes both peppermint (Mentha piperita) and spearmint( Mentha spicata). Peppermint is a hybrid perennial plant that is most often found cultivated in gardens. This herb is highly aromatic( menthol). It has erect, square, branching, purple stems. It’s opposite leaves are opposite, oval/lance shaped and often serrated. The sepals and petals are united to form tiny purple flower that have 5 two lipped lobes (2 up, 3 down). These are arranged at the ends of axillary and terminal spikes. Spearmint lacks the purple hues in it’s foliage and is a more vibrant green. The leaves are often greater in number, larger and more serrated and “wrinkled”. They are sessile and have a very short petiole where they join the stem. This plant is usually taller than peppermint. The flowers are more numerous/dense on a larger , interrupted spike. Mints can be invasive and spread quickly through their rhizomes. They will tolerate any kind of soil and thrive in both sun and shade. Grow mints near your vegetables to keep them free of insects and other pests. These plants are a favorite of native bees.
Mints are known for their ability to clean damp/phlegm, increase circulation to the tissues and relax blood vessels. Their volatile oils warm the body, open the pores, and encourage sweating. Historically they been used to treat cramps, spasms, colds, coughs, flu, fever, sinus infections, sore throat, headaches, high blood pressure, menstrual problems, painful urination, nausea/vomiting, heartburn, stomach ache/colic, gas, digestive issues, liver stagnation, ulcers, parasites, bad breath, gum disease, nervous disorders and fainting. Externally mint has been used to treat pain, inflammation, rheumatism, bruises, rashes, hives, bug bites, and skin issues. A steam inhalation may help with asthma, bronchitis, chest congestion and laryngitis. Mints improve the flavor of other teas, are used in many culinary traditions, and can be burned as incense. Spearmint tends to have a sweeter, less spicy/hot/medicinal flavor than peppermint.
Parts used:aerial above ground parts
Energetics: sweet, pungent, cool, warm, dry
Element: fire and water depending on variety
Contraindications: Avoid large doses in pregnancy and nursing. Long term therapeutic use can stress the heart.