We've been making soap like crazy for a few days and finally I have time to get back to harvesting wild medicinals. Today we harvested poke root and made salve. This is a big seller at my store, especially for those teens that are going through the nasty acne stage.


Poke root salve is an excellent antimicrobial salve, killing off everything from staph to many strains of influenza, to even some food borne bacteria. What I is mainly used on though is acne and abrasions. I usually add some calendula and/or yarrow at the last few minutes of simmering the olive oil and poke root. To make is simple; the poke root in a saucepan and cover with the oil of your choice. I use olive oil because I trade for it but if you have vegetable oil that should work too. If you have animal fat that is solid at room temperature you can skip the beeswax at the end. Heat on low for several hours. If the oil starts to smoke, turn off and cover, come back later and turn on low again for awhile. I usually heat it at least 8 hours if not overnight. Then I strain out the plant material and melt equal parts beeswax to what infused oil you have. More or less as to how stiff of a salve you like. Blend oil and wax, then pour into heat proof containers. Label and you've got poke root salve.


We use poke root internally too, but that must be done in small doses as it can become toxic as it builds up in the body. Externally though it makes a good antimicrobial salve or even a wash. All that and the purple berries make a great ink.