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How to Make Balm of Gilead Salve

Balm of GIlead

Making Balm of Gilead infused oil

The bud harvest is meager unless you have a huge plantation of Cottonwood trees. But use whatever you do harvest fully.

For 1 cup or less of buds, put the buds in a wide mouth pint size mason jar. If you have two cups to 4 cups of buds, use a wide mouth quart jar. Fill the jar to within 1 inch of the top with olive oil.

Put the jar in a warm spot. I put my jars in a sunny window where the warmth of the sun helps the buds to release their resin. Over a month or so, the resin will slowly move into the oil, giving the golden oil a deep reddish hue.

Shake the jar to distribute the resin, a few times a week, while you are waiting. When it’s ready to strain after a month, the oil will have the pleasant, Balm of Gilead perfume.

At this time, after a month of waiting, strain the oil into a clean, coloured glass bottle. Cap tightly and label with the date and contents, “Balm of Gilead.” You can discard the spent buds in the compost pile.

Making Balm of Gilead Ointment

Balm of Gilead oil is like gold around here. You can’t buy it. It is harvested by hand. The buds aren’t available in any herbal store. So if you don’t know someone who makes it or harvest your own you can get it on Etsy. It takes hours to harvest a small amount of buds, and while the harvest is a pleasant experience, no one does it to make money.

Knowing this, you will want to treat your harvest well, so that you don’t lose a single, precious drop of this healing oil. Add a ½ tsp. of natural source vitamin E oil to your final bottle of oil. This protects the oil from rancidity. If you keep it tightly capped, and in a cool dry place, your harvest should last 2+ years.