Herbs forum: Herbal lotions - homemade

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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Dec 6, 2015 2:15 PM CST
There are many many recipes available online with a bit of searching. I have found Rosemary Gladstar to be my main resource, I really love her books and she is an accomplished herbalist. I use her "Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health" as my go-to start for making just about anything. She actively encourages deviating from a strict recipe to tune in to your own needs. I have been making lotions for about 3 years, and was pretty diligent about keeping track of what went into each batch. Unfortunately, my computer fried itself last spring and I was able to recover most, but not all, of my data. I am still working on data recovery, but haven't yet been able to get my One Note files for Lotions & Potions. In any event, it is good to keep good records of how you make your lotions so you can either replicate good ones of modify ones that aren't quite up to snuff. Experiment with what you have available, or what you like personally.

Here is the basic cream recipe from Ms. Gladstar:

2/3 C rose water, distilled water, and/or witchhazel
1/3 C aloe vera gel
Essential oils of your choice
Vitamins A and E if desired

3/4 C apricot, almond, olive, and/or grapeseed oil
1/3 C coconut oil and/or cocoa butter
1/4 t lanolin
1/2 - 1 oz grates beeswax

Combine waters and set aside. Heat oils and beeswax slowly (double boiler or mini crockpot) until blended well, cool to room temp. Here's the trick part: Slowly trickle the water mixture into the oil mixture at a high speed - blender, immersion blender, or food processor. This will result in a smooth white cream. Pour into small containers and let cool (it will thicken slightly as it sets). Label the jars and keep good records so you can reproduce favorites or modify not-so-favorites.

I usually only use one or two essential oils so as not to confuse the senses. You can research what oils might be advantageous for your particular skin type, or choose ones you just like the smell of. Chamomile and orange blossom is a favorite for me.

You can also steep fresh or dried herbs in the waters you choose, but keep in mind that this may affect the color of the cream.

When my granddaughter became a cheerleader, I made her a real minty cream that would sooth tired feet. I called it Sweet Feet. She likes it, and then I found out that her Dad likes it even better for his icky stinky after-sports feet. He is now demanding his own stash (Xmas gift in the making).

Another favorite is what I call Jelly Belly Rub - specific for pregnant ladies:

1 C coconut oil
1/2 C cocoa butter
1/2 C sesame oil
1 T castor oil
1 T vanilla extract (pure, I use Mexican)

Warm all but vanilla together, cool and add vanilla. Pour into small containers and let set. This is a looser concoction and is used by putting a glob between the hands and rubbing to release the aromas, then massaging the big ol' belly lovingly. Smells wonderful and keeps the skin smooth. I don't know if it helps prevent stretch marks, but it certainly wouldn't hurt.

I have also been experimenting with adding cannabis leaves to many of my lotions - both my husband and I have some major arthritis. As with the mint, I simply infuse the leaves with the waters or oils along with other herbs specific to aches and pains. My first stab at this didn't have enough beeswax to really qualify as a cream, it is more of a liniment. I used mainly olive oil as I recall and I use this daily on my hands. It takes a while to absorb but I think it does help keep my fingers a bit less stiff.

I have found sources for bulk bottles and jars online (Uline is one I use) or often co-op stores will carry small amounts of empty bottles. Or the smallest canning jars also work well for lotions.

Good luck, I am hooked on making my own creams. Please share your experiences as well.

I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Dec 8, 2015 6:00 PM CST
Thank you for the post on making herbal lotions.
I will be coming back to it.

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