Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Decant Herbs + Calendula, Lavender and Shea Butter Balm

     So about one month ago I made a small batch of some calendula infused oil and a herbal liniment. The liniment is a nice mixture of lavender, chamomile, rosemary, sage and a few other herbs I can't remember. They've been hanging out on the windowsill ever since. This is a good place for them--they get lots of sunshine and warmth and I'm reminded to shake them more, which is an important part of the process. 

The calendula oil is on the left and the liniment is on the right.
Calendula flowers!

     Herbal oils and liniments generally need to sit for 6-7 weeks, but since it's been so warm lately, I only had to wait 4. I had this recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs picked out for the calendula oil, since it's good for many summer ailments, such as rashes, bug bites, sore muscles, and in general any skin problems you might run into this time of year. It also smells lovely and will cure dry skin any time of year. I'm going to post pictures of the balm-making process, but you should really check out Mountain Rose Herbs' site as well since they were so kind as to post the recipe.

It's fairly simple to make and I had everything but the cheesecloth lying around already.

To decant the herbs, just cut an appropriately sized piece of cheesecloth. Mine were a bit too small, so if you're using the pictures for reference, keep that in mind. Pour your oil or liniment into the cheesecloth after you've positioned it above a clean jar or bowl, and squeeze out all the excess.

You've waited this long, why waste any? It's the same for both the infused oil and the liniment.
A close up of the calendula flowers. Aren't they pretty?
     Next, balm time!

     Put together a double boiler--my choice bowl was in the wash, so I had to use a metal one. Be careful if you do this, as they get really hot. You probably knew that already.

     Melt all your ingredients except for the lavender essential oil: the calendula infused oil, beeswax, and shea butter. I find it helpful to grate the beeswax.
Melted oils and wax
     After it's completely melted, remove it from heat and stir in your lavender essential oil, about 20 drops. If it smells awesome, you're doing it right. To finish up, pour into a tin or small jar and let sit until hardened. You should have a lovely, healing balm afterwards.
The finished product!
     As for the liniment, I like to store it in a spray bottle, but you can do whatever is convenient. The spray bottle is nice because you can apply the right amount and rub it in quickly. It works very well when your muscles are just worn out completely. I carry both these things in my backpack when I'm hiking in the summer and they are wonderful aids.

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Blogger Robert said...

Since the creation of these goodies, I've used the balm almost everyday in treating bug bites and minor scrapes. It works surprisingly well, has eleventy billion uses and is cheap as heck. Give it a shot in real time!

August 25, 2011 at 7:18 AM  

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