Ticks, and mosquitoes for that matter, never seem to bother me. I don’t know what it is. Maybe my crusty old blood isn’t to their taste? But I can be pulling ticks off the dogs or kids throughout a season without one ever attempting to feast on my vein’s offerings.
So when I tell you I found three ticks on myself in the past day, it’s a big deal. In one day? That’s more ticks than all of last year! I sit here distractedly typing with a certifiable case of the hebbie-jeebies.
Yesterday, I spent the lovely, warm, spring afternoon working up a glorious sweat while combining burn piles of scrap lumber leftover from when we sided our home four years ago. After not finding a use for the imperfect pieces after all this time we had a bonfire one winter evening. The pine wood, starting to decompose, didn’t fully burn so it’s going to take another try. The area where I was working was mostly dirt and ash. Ticks were the least of my concerns. Once, I took a break and sat chatting on the lawn with a couple of my daughters for a spell. Tick number one joined us, marching up my pant leg. Slightly paranoid about ticks, I changed my clothes when I went indoors. But that wasn’t enough for I found one cemented into my knee this morning. (They spend the first day literally creating a chemical reaction to cement their head into the skin… that’s why you’ve got a day to get it out before the risk of Lyme disease happens while they feed. And why it’s so darn tricky to pick one out like a splinter when it’s left behind.) A third, crawling through my hair at dinner tonight, was likely picked up while cleaning up the beehive this morning.
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Since moving to the woods, we’ve all become pretty sensitive to feeling ticks crawling around. I can’t recall ever having removed one that had already begun to feed and engorge. Regardless, it’s worrisome… and frustrating because I grew up on a heavily wooded lot and ticks weren’t even on our radar, let alone the increasing problem we face these days when our kids go out to play.
Whenever a tick is able to find its sweet spot and dig in during our sleep, the first order of business, after removing the little devil, is to bust out the Black Drawing Salve and a bandaid. Not only does the salve help remove the head, often within hours, but the intention is that it will also draw out any secretions the tick released, while at the same time healing the skin. Sometimes we reapply a few times over the course of the next couple of days if the skin seems particularly irritated. We also give the immune system a kick in the pants with a couple of Astragalus capsules.
Drawing Salve is one of my favorite herbal remedies because it works so quickly and effectively, it’s difficult for even the herbal healthcare skeptics to doubt it!
Drawing salve has saved the day in numerous other applications. Whether exploring the woods or moving a paddock in the pasture, Drawing Salve is a must-have for the homestead or homeschool family where so much time is spent among nature. We grab it for every bee sting… and my daughter who used to have a fairly hearty response that lasted for days each time she was stung, is hardly bothered now. It’s used for splinters or any other tiny fragment of a foreign object stubbornly stuck under the skin. It could also be used for a painful blind pimple or any skin condition where you would want to draw impurities out of the body and up to the surface.
Notes on Herbal Drawing Salve Ingredients
With the exception of beeswax, which is used to harden the salve, every ingredient is selected for its drawing qualities, though they may bring other benefits to the mix.
Even castor oil works to remove impurities from the body as well as increase blood flow at the site of application.
The simple herbal oil infusion is created from abundant plants found easily sourced in most areas, plantain leaves and comfrey leaves, both of which are drawing and restoring to the skin.
Pine tar is fairly expensive (though it has an indefinite shelf life) so I consider it an optional ingredient. It can also be used in a pine tar soap which is a blessing for those with skin conditions where the pores are blocked.
Black walnut hull powder is also optional if you’re on a budget. Its parasitic, antifungal, antimicrobial, and astringent properties round out the recipe to make it appropriate for more chronic skin conditions like boils, abscesses, or acne. Per Dr. Edward Shook, the husk contains organic iodine and is useful for infections, cuts, etc.
Regular activated charcoal works here or for a more sustainable option try bamboo activated charcoal.
It’s recommended to use glass containers with Drawing Salves so that the metal or plastic doesn’t leach into the product.
Herbal Black Drawing Salve Recipe
Made with organic comfrey & plantain from our farm along with creosote-free pine tar, activated charcoal, bentonite clay, and black walnut hull! This salve will work to "draw" out splinters, stingers, and impurities, as well as emollient properties to soothe many skin conditions.
You’re welcome to download this recipe card to your device to save or print. Enjoy!
Thank you for sharing!!!!!
This will come in handy.