Gypsy Wisdom around Blackberry and Eczema

Blackberry - famed as a key eczema healer by gypsies
Blackberry – famed as a key eczema healer by gypsies

Eczema. It just seems to be everywhere. Fortunately I don’t suffer from it, but as a herbalist I am increasingly obsessed with it. A lot of people have been finding that the Vital Balm I make has really helped ease their eczema symptoms. As a small (but lovingly formed) company handcrafting all my lotions and potions, I can’t afford to do masses of advertising. At present I am relying on word of mouth, the internet and then stalls and markets to get the products known and ‘out there’. Word does seem to be spreading which is just wonderful. And one of the key issues that comes up time and time again is eczema, and another pot of Vital Balm heads off in the post.

Earlier in 2014 my partner’s daughter Kate told me that her children suffered from eczema and/or itchy skin issues. The Vital Balm really seemed to be helping them which was great, but Kate mentioned that she had run out of it.

Just before they turned up to come and stay over the Christmas period, I had been reading about how the gypsies rate blackberry (the plant NOT the gadget!) leaf as a prime plant to use when treating eczema. Cue – Kate arriving and showing me a couple of patches of eczema her gorgeous daughter Zoe had on her face and her arm.

Ah ha, me thinks. Here is an opportunity to try out a bit of good gypsy thinking. So I went and picked some luscious blackberry leaves and then infused them into camellia oil. I thought about other wonderful coolers and clearers such as cleavers, calendula and chamomile and set about creating a salve from these and other natural ingredients.

There really is something particularly wonderful about going out and harvesting the herbs you use for healing. I think it deepens the connection with the qualities of each herb you use and adds to the intent of the final product. I also love how herbal knowledge changes the way you look at the world around you – I mean, blackberry is usually looked upon with frowns and gritted teeth as it is regarded as a bane, cleavers is cursed for growing all through the garden and sticking to your socks…. yet these and other ‘weeds’ are some of the key healers – and guess what, they are all around us! Nature has a knack of putting things you need in reach, if you just know how to look for them.

Chopping the blackberry as I prepared to make the infused oil
Chopping the blackberry as I prepared to make the infused oil

So, back to the salve. I really focussed on the healing aspects of each of the ingredients, and the healing intent of the salve. I gave all this an extra boost by putting a quartz crystal in my glove while picking the blackberry leaves! I am not sure if this is the most elegant of quartz healing rituals, but it did seem the most practical for the occasion! For those that may not know, quartz is regarded as a ‘master healer’. Kirlian photography has shown that when held in the hand, the strength of energy fields is at least doubled. It is said that quartz clears blockages and balances the spiritual, physical, mental and emotional planes as well as giving clarity and bestowing energy.

Zoe and Kate loved seeing the herbs gently infusing over a very low heat. I then strained the oil and added some beeswax and finally some vitamin E and essential oils before pouring the warm salve into aluminium tins. Et voila!

Kate started using the salve on the weekend. After 2-3 days of use, Zoe’s face had completely cleared up and looked positively cherubic. The patch on her arm had almost disappeared as well. Kate couldn’t believe it. Zoe was happy and I was elated.

Zoe's Blackberry Eczema Salve #1
Zoe’s Blackberry Eczema Salve #1
Gypsy Wisdom around Blackberry and Eczema