Category Archives: Boreal Forest

Winter Solstice Sore Muscle Salve


artwork by Nathalie Parenteau, Cranberry Picker

I have been growing a lot in my knowledge of plants and preparations this year. It truly is a magical experience in every way. I find it incredibly soothing to commune with the plants while making medicine. I must say, it is one of the most empowering experiences I have participated in. To see others as well as myself experience the healing benefits of the plants, roots, barks, flowers and fruits. All these magical parts, willingly working together to give us assistance in our struggles here in a broken world.

I was privileged this summer to go up to the Boreal forest and gather my own Labrador tea leaves, willow and a few juniper berries. I have yet to collect my own crampbark. But I now have a place to go for next year.

There are so many anti-inflammatory plants. I keep my eye out for them since I have struggled with joint pain and many other pains throughout my life, especially in the last few years.

This infusion recipe comes from the incredible herbalist, Beverley Gray from the Yukon. Her book, The Boreal Herbal has been just what I hoped for in a resource book. Teaching me about each plant, it’s growing habits, it’s incredible health and medicinal benefits and also it’s historical and cultural relevance to the Indigenous people. I am so grateful for the work she has done and many others in recording this knowledge for others to learn from. What a gift. And here I share my adapted version with you!

Boreal Muscle-and-Pain Relief Oil Infusion

  • 1 part willow inner bark and leaves
  • 1 part juniper berries, crushed
  • 5 parts crampbark
  • 1/2 part Labrador tea leaves
  • with Vit E oil
  • 4 drops Peppermint oil


Basic-Salve Recipe

1 cup infused oil

2 tablespoons beeswax

1/4 teaspoon vitamin-E oil (2 capsules)

4 drops benzoin oil (optional)

Essential oils (optional)

Double-Boiler Method

  1. Measure out herb-infused oil.
  2. Melt beeswax in the top of the double boiler, then add the infused oil and stir with a stainless steel spoon.
  3. When the oil and beeswax have melted together add vitamin-E oil, benzoin, and/or essential oils. Pour the mixture into a measuring cup.
  4. Carefully pour into clean, sterilized jars.
  5. Wait until the salve has fully cooled before putting on the lids.
  6. Cap and label your salve.

Boreal Infusion

Willow bark, Labrador Tea leaf, Juniper berries and Crampbark (or high-bush cranberry bark). All excellent anti-inflammatories. Great for sore muscles and arthritis. This is why I made this boreal oil infusion. To make a rub for my back and joints. Plus it smells incredible.

I love plants and their full-body experience. The relationships built with each plant gathered. The time it takes to preserve the plants and learn about the best methods for applying them. The way we are wrapped up into our medicine. What a treasure.

For a sensitive, intimate person like myself, there is no better experience. And I believe more of us would feel the same. Eating the food we grow or forage. Cooking our own food. All the stages of self-sufficiency bring us together in more unity with the earth and each other. img_5334