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Tar salve.

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I love the scent of tar.

I've made tar salve several times. It will help local circulation and is nice for abrasions, wounds and the like. A lady wanted loads of it after she'd applied it to a raw heel ... it healed overnight.

So here's how you make it:

Simple Tar Salve

Photo: Waterbath 1. 1 liter oil (about 2 pints) - I quite like sesame, but any organic cold-pressed should do
1 teaspoon tar - it doesn't matter if it's pit or barrel tar
130 g (about 5 oz) beeswax

Set up a waterbath. Pour the oil into the top part, add the tar, add the beeswax. Our beeswax usually comes in sheets, which are easy to tear into strips. I've seen mercan-style beeswax buttons - they take a bit longer to melt than the thinner sheets, but shrug.
Bring the waterbath to a full boil and leave on full boil until all the beeswax has melted. The wax will just sit there if you leave things on a gentle boil.
Pour your still liquid salve into jars (I use a 50 ml (2 fl.oz.) wide-mouth syringe - very handy, are syringes), let cool and congeal.
Add lids and labels.

There, that was easy, wasn't it? Here's a somewhat more complicated salve:

Calendula Tar Salve

Photo: Waterbath 4. 1 liter oil (about 2 pints)
1 teaspoon tar
dried calendula - petals or flowers, doesn't matter

Stir tar into oil.
Set up your waterbath and pour oil'n'tar into the top part. Add enough dried calendula flowers to make a spoon stand up. (It doesn't make sense to stint on the herb: the most expensive part of any salve is the jar, at least if you use small brown glass jars like I do. If you stint on the herb the salve won't work as well -- and your reputation suffers.) Heat the waterbath, and keep on a gentle boil for 1.5-2 hours.
Strain through a cloth, or pour your herb'n'oil into a sieve and let things drip overnight.
Add beeswax: 100 g (about 4 oz) per 700 or 800 ml infused oil. (100 ml = 1/10 of a liter)
Bring the waterbath to a full boil and let your oil'n'beeswax sit there until all the beeswax has melted.
Pour into jars, let cool and congeal.
Add lids and labels.

Congrats, you're done!


Interesting. What do you mean by tar Henriette? Here tar is something used to seal the road, and I assume that's not the kind of tar you are talking about. Are you making the tar, or is it something you buy in?

Pine tar, that is, Pix liquida. I love the scent of it, and it's been used for healing, up here in Finland, for centuries. Also good to waterproof your wooden boat :-)

The instructions in that link are pretty interesting. I bet it's made differently now, or are there still traditional tar makers there?

Sure, the old way is the pit tar. People take turns watching over the tar pit for days on end (and nights). The fast way is to make barrel tar ... you start by making very pitchy wood, then cut that the following year and load it into a barrel. Put that upside down, make it airtight with clay (except for the exhaust pipe), and fire all around it. That works a treat: you get tar the same day you start firing.
You get barrels of tar from the tar pit. You get gallons of tar from a barrel. The product is pretty much the same.

The picture of tar in the making looks like chow mein or something!