You'll find a list of all my blog posts in the blog archive.

Egyptian salve.


Mmmm, myrrh and calamus and rose.

In early 2004 I made an Egyptian-inspired salve. Here's the recipe, with notes:

  • 3.5 dl cold-pressed unscented oil (I like safflower)
    40 g dried calamus root
    50 g dried myrrh
    Put calamus and myrrh in blender, let whirr until they're broken up.
    Pour herb and oil into top-part of waterbath, let sit for 1.5 hours, strain.

Smell the root'n'resin mess - mmmmm, lovely! Good for another oil, you say? Okay:

  • 3.5 dl cold-pressed unscented oil
    herb mess
    Let sit in top-part of heated waterbath for 1.5 hours, strain.

  • Mix the two oils, one is marginally stronger than the other. Put aside.

  • 1.5 l cold-pressed unscented oil
    100 g dried rose buds, organically grown
    20 g or so dried calendula flowers
    Put dried rose buds into your blender, whizz it into a powder. Pour oil into the top bit of a waterbath, add roses. Add calendula, too, as much as will fit after you've put in the roses - a little calendula never hurt anybody.
    Let sit under a lid (keeping as much scent in as possible - rose is fragile) on medium heat for 1.5 hours, strain. You'll only have 1 l or so oil left, that rose powder really sucks up liquids.

  • 1 l (or so) infused rose oil
    .5 l cold-pressed unscented oil
    100 g dried rose buds, organically grown
    Pour your strained infused rose oil back into the top part of your waterbath, add fresh oil, add fresh powdered rose buds, let sit under a lid for another 1.5 hours, strain.

(Simple infused rose oil doesn't have a scent. Double infused does. Mmm, does it ever.)

Mix the two oils: 1 to 2 parts myrrh-calamus to 10 parts double rose.

Add beeswax (1 part (by weight) to 8 parts (by volume) oil), put on full heat on a waterbath until the wax has melted, pour into jars, let set, close lids, label.


You'll have rather a lot of myrrh-calamus oil left over, I tried 1 part myrrh-calamus to 1 part rose at first, but the rose disappeared completely (it's fragile). The next one I made, with 10 parts rose to 1 part myrrh-calamus, I thought the rose had overpowered the myrrh-calamus, but that was after I had been in the myrrh-calamus scents all day.

It's cool. Sort of spicy, perfumey, rosey. Lovely.

The recipe I adapted this from called for cardamoms and cinnamon, too -- but then, it also called for red wine and lard.

This simpler salve is nice enough. It's not useful for anything in particular, it's just a general scented salve with some healing properties, what with there being just a hint of calendula in it.


Well myrrh is a nice antiseptic resin, i'd put it on scrapes and sores. i like the sound of this salve. it does sound delish, and the possibilities for creativity....
could add frankinsense .... and cardamom sounds nice too.

I bet the infused oils could be mixed and used as is for bath oils, or in skin cream recipies too ...

Oh, so antiseptic? Thanks for that, Darcey!