Dutch: Wilde/Gewone Liguster - French: Troène Commun - German: Gewöhnlicher Liguster
A long time ago, someone mentioned to me the use of privet flowers for bed sores. I had never heard of such a thing, and became curious. I asked around and looked for more info, but never found out anything that could confirm the information. I never forgot about it though.
Recently, I moved into a house with a privet hedge. Though wild privet is pretty common here, the species most used for hedges is Ligustrum ovalifolium, the Japanese variety. They are pretty much interchangeable though. They are everywhere and no one seems to do anything with them other than pruning, as they are known to be toxic to ingest: the bark, the leaves and especially the berries. But the flowers, oh, the scent of the flowers. Few people seem to get close enough to notice the scent, but it even reminds me a bit of lilac flowers.
And then I found a chapter on privet in Culpeper's English Physician and Compelete Herbal:
(...) that the oil extracted from the flowers of privet by infusion, and set in the sun, is very serviceable in inflammatory wounds, and for the head-ach when arising from a hot cause."
Step 1: First, you steep the herbs/flowers/roots/seeds/bark of choice in oil.
Use any oil you like. Generally I prefer extra virgin olive oil or jojoba oil, because their shelf life is longer than some other oils (like sunflower oil, that easily becomes rancid). For salves, you want to put a layer on the skin, so it's good to use heavier oils that take some time to be absorbed by the skin.
Take a glass jar, fill it with your plant material and cover with the oil. Make sure all plant parts are covered. Screw on the lid and put in a warm (not hot) place. If you have filled your jar right to the top, you might want to place a towel under your jar, as oil expands in volume under warm conditions.
Always, always label your jar, and add the date. Now you need to wait for 6 weeks.
Cheesecloth is excellent for this, because it's very fine and you can wring it out. Make sure to get the last bit of oil out.
Step 3: Then, do the wizard thing, and transform a liquid into a solid.
In a double boiler, heat your oil gently (not too hot is the key here, by no means you want the oil to smoke or boil) and add some beeswax. For every 4 tablespoons of oil, I use 1 teaspoon of grated beeswax. Use more beeswax if you want a firmer product (like a massage bar), less if you want it to be more fluid.
Pour into smaller jars, let your salve cool off. Now is a good time to add a few drops of essential oil if you'd like to do so. As you are going to use this for inflammatory skin conditions, lavender oil would be fine, or geranium.