I was driving down our Fly Hollow road and noticed these beautiful orange flowers peeking up from the ditch and creek on either side of the road. As I slowed down, I realized it was Jewelweed. I have been looking all over our property for this wonderful flower, with no luck. So, when I saw it, needless to say, I was ecstatic. (I knew it was ok to harvest by the roadside because I know they do not use any chemicals in this particular spot, always be sure where you forage is chemical free.)
So what is this orange flower? Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is an herb native to North America that has been used for many, many years as a natural remedy for poison ivy and poison oak.
Jewelweed loves moist soil and can usually be found in wooded areas near water, like creeks and ditches.
So, I gathered my scissors, bag and went out to gather some jewelweed to make a salve. And here is how I did it. There are links at the end from where I found the recipe.
First, you gather enough of the leaves, stems and flowers of the plant, to have at least 3 cups chopped. I read the best time to harvest is when it blooms, late summer to early fall is it’s bloom time here in Tennessee, so we were all set here.
Once bugs are off, roughly chop the plant and measure to see how much you have. The recipe I used said for every 3 cups of jewelweed add 1 cup of carrier oil (I used olive oil). Then add it to a double broiler. I do not have a double boiler so I used two pots and placed the smaller one in the larger one, with the larger one having water in it. Gives the same effect. It was suggested to use a double boiler to prevent the plant from having direct heat on the bottom of the pan.
Once you have your pot ready and your oil and plants in there, put the stove on low heat for an hour, with the lid off, stirring occasionally.
When the hour is up and the leaves and flowers start to lose a little of their color, turn the heat off and place a lid on top of the pot, removing pot from heat. Let cool. When pot is cool, gather your beeswax, essential oils (lavender, tea tree, orange) and cheesecloth.
Strain the oil from the leaves using a cheesecloth. Compost/discard plant. Measure your oil and use a 4:1 ration (8oz oz oil to 2 oz of beeswax) *some recipes call for 1 cup of beeswax to 2 cups oil, I will try this next time* and add the oil and beeswax to a pot, you can add the essential oils at this point. I had recently made plantain oil so I added some of that to the mixture for added benefits.
Mix oils and wax together in pot over low to medium heat, until wax is melted and all is mixed well. Pour in desired containers and let cool. There you have it! A natural itchy relief salve. Check out the links below. They have a lot of additional information on Jewelweed. I look forward to perfecting this recipe and hearing from you too. Enjoy!