SPONSORED CONTENT / At the center of the Hanukkah story 2,220 years ago was a miraculous cruze of olive oil that burned in Jerusalem for eight nights. In 2020, a cruze filled with olive oil from the Holy Land and a host of organic ingredients can be applied to burning muscles, aches and pains, dry skin and more.
For Rachel and Simcha Gluck, makers of Salves of Jerusalem, olive oil from Israel is “the balm.”
The salves (which are oil based, as compared to lotions, which are water based) use a variety of organic herbs that have been studied extensively for their anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
Salves of Jerusalem’s ‘Magic Muscle Balm,’ according to Simcha, “is used to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and deeply penetrate for quick relief when applied topically to sore muscles, sprains, bruises or injured areas of the body.” The salve harnesses the power of goldenseal, which Gluck says is a “very potent natural antibiotic,” comfrey, which he notes is “anti-inflammatory and good for the immune system, and arnica flowers, which he says are “good for muscle aches and spasms.”
“Athletes love using it to allow their bodies to recover after physical activities,” he says.
Jerusalem’s top athletes
Some of Jerusalem’s best-known athletes have already taken note of the therapeutic properties of the salves, including Olympic-hopeful runner Beatie Deutsch and basketball star Tamir Goodman.
Deutsch, who was born in the U.S. before moving to Israel in 2009 became famous for running the 2017 Tel Aviv Marathon in a skirt and head covering while seven months pregnant. The “marathon mom,” or “speedy Beattie” as she is known, soon became the fifth fastest female Israeli runner of all time. She is currently training for the 2020 Olympics and uses the Salves of Jerusalem’ muscle cream to “soothe my sore muscles,” and as an “essential” part of her recovery.
“I put it on almost every night and love the way it smells, and leaves my legs feeling tingly and relaxed,” she told JNS, adding that she loves supporting Israeli businesses and a wonderful family by using the muscle balm.
Goodman, who appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in February 1999, and dubbed the “Jewish Jordan,” first tried out the salves after he heard Deutsch’s “buzz” about the products.
“I have some old basketball battle wounds from college and career in professional basketball that still linger in my body,” he told JNS, “so oftentimes after a long day of training and coaching basketball, I put the magic muscle balm on parts of my body where I’m sore at night and it starts to feel better five to ten minutes later and carries on through the night.”
Goodman, who similarly moved to Israel from the United States and played professional basketball in Israel for nine seasons, suggested that salve’s possess a “certain energy that comes out of Jerusalem.” He suggested that athletic trainers should become aware of the salves and use them in the rehabilitation process for other professional athletes.
Explaining how the herbs help athletes and families alike, Rachel said, “there is so much divine wisdom in plants and to combine it in the right way makes a huge difference.”
The process of making the salves involves infusing organic olive oil with herbs for months, “so the olive oil can extract and act as a carrier for the incredible medicinal properties of the herbs,” which is then heated, strained and supplemented with organic essential oils, bees wax, shea butter and coconut oil. After being poured into tins and jars, the salve cools and solidifies into a cream with “all principles of essential oils’ stress-relieving properties plus the benefits of the herbs.”
The ingredients used are typically expensive to acquire, but the Glucks insist on using the highest grade, all-natural products in order to “gain the maximal health benefits.”
Their “holy herbal family salve,” Simcha says is used to “soothe, nourish and revitalize the skin while reducing blemishes and wrinkles.” It combines herbs such as chamomile which Simcha says is known for its “anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties” and is “a natural relaxant, easing stress, calming anxiety, that can help promote a regular digestive system and restore hair and skin.” Helichrysum possesses natural “anti-allergenic, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial” properties, and calendula has been found to possess anti-viral, antigenotoxic and anti-inflammatory properties according to studies.
“A lot of the medicinal herbs we use are anti-inflammatory and many illnesses tend to be inflammatory,” he explained. “When you rub the salves into the skin, which is the largest organ of the body and part of the integumentary system, you’re able to give your body all natural ingredients from the outside-in.”
Organic winter rub
A new product being launched for Hanukkah is an “organic winter rub” with eucalyptus, tea tree, ravensara and cardamom that can be put on feet and the chest to help soothe coughs.
The Glucks started to make salves after learning to make the product with friend Devorah Levine, who spent years making natural remedies and herbal medicines in the Amish community. Simcha notes that they began “researching the heck out of health products like supplements” and started juicing in his own kitchen. “If it resonates, I dive in and include it and make it part of our lives,” he says.
And so they did. Rachel says the business “started accidentally” after they began to make the salves for themselves in 2013. The couple started giving homemade salves as gifts to friends and were eventually encouraged by happy recipients to manufacture the salves for purchase.
Healing hits home
The therapeutic and soothing properties of their salves became even more personal than expected when the Glucks’ four-year-old son was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. Rachel recalled rubbing the salves on her son’s feet every night to soothe him.
Following aggressive chemotherapy, a host of alternative treatments and major liver surgery, their son has miraculously been cancer free for over a year. (The Glucks do not imply that their salves cure cancer by any means.)
During their son’s recovery, the Glucks started putting more energy into mass-producing the salves, in part to take their mind off the traumatic experience. The known healing properties of the salve’s natural ingredients plus the harrowing story the Gluck’s nightmarish-turned-miraculous ordeal have resonated with many Jerusalemites who now regularly purchase the salves.
They explain that the antimicrobial properties of the salves are also great for rashes, burns, wounds, bug bites, dry lips, hemorrhoids, eczema and other skin conditions including psoriasis. Their “baby bum butter” is an all-natural aid for painful diaper rash. The oil-based salves can even be used as all-natural, intimacy-enhancing lubricant.
Following Israel’s annual olive harvest just several weeks ago, the Glucks invested in multiple jugs of organic olive oil from the Golan Heights to make salves throughout the coming year. The purchase coincided with the beginning of the Jewish month of Kislev, the month in which the Hanukkah holiday takes place.
In the spirit of the upcoming Hanukkah holiday, the Glucks are offering a special 12% discount for JNS readers, with coupon code: HOLIDAYMIRACLES
In the romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Greek patriarch Michael Constantine suggests a spray of Windex for any and all cures and ailments, “from psoriasis to poison ivy” and pimples to inflammation. Hearing the litany of medicinal properties of Rachel and Simcha Glucks’ Salves of Jerusalem is reminiscent of the Windex solve-all.
Yet with benefits touted by pharmacological studies and Jerusalem’s top athletes alike, perhaps it would behoove Mr. Constantine to drop the spray bottle and pick up a Salve of Jerusalem instead.
Any health claims, implicit or otherwise are the responsibility of Salves of Jerusalem. Publication does not constitute specific endorsement by JNS.