Making Crafty Magic

Herbal Infusion Offerings

ABM_1388544381I spent New Year’s Day refreshing my selection of olive oil herbal infusions. Below, you’ll find a list of available infusions that are waiting to be used in a salve, lotion, body butter, hair & body oil or whatever else one can dream up. (On board are hops, rosehips and lemon balm…I’m just waiting on some containers to put them in.) They’re ready to use right now and available through this listing as a salve. If a salve isn’t your cup of tea, just ask me to use them in another product; I’m flexible. To reflect these new improvements, the ingredients in my essential oil conditioner will now include chamomile, nettle and rosemary infused olive oils because they’re fantastic for hair (I’m also using nettle extract too!). So let me know if you have any questions.

♥ Burdock Leaf & Root (Arctium lappa): acne & boils and skin rashes. *organic

♥ Calendula (Calendula officinalis): acne & boils, athlete’s foot, insect bites & stings, breast tenderness & sore nipples, diaper rash, inflamed skin rashes, nettle rash, varicose veins and wounds & bruises.

♥ Chamomile (Chamaemelum noblie): headaches & migraines, skin rashes and irritated skin. *organic

♥ Comfrey Leaf & Root (Symphytum officinale): acne & boils, fungal skin infections, healing wounds, inflamed skin rashes, stiff & aching joints and healing bruises & broken bones. *organic

♥ Dandelion Leaf & Root (Taraxacum officinale): acne & boils and nettle rash. *organic

♥ Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia): acne & boils, cold sores, canker sores, insect bites & stings, chicken pox and shingles. *organic

♥ Lavender (Lavandula officinalis): back pain, insect bites & stings, burns & sunburn, headaches & migraines, insomnia, neuralgia and stiff & aching joints.

♥ Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha): acne, boils, canker sores, gum problems and oral thrush. *organic

♥ Nettle Leaf (Urtica dioica): insect bites & stings, diaper rash and nettle rash. *organic

♥ Peppermint (Mentha piperita): digestive headaches, eczema, nausea with headache, respiratory infections, skin pain and neuralgia. *organic

♥ Plantain (Plantago major): healing bruises & broken bones, stops blood flow, encourages repair of damaged tissue. *wild harvested

♥ Red Clover (Trifolium pratense): Used to treat skin conditions, normally used in combination with other purifying herbs such as burdock. *wild harvested

♥ Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): circulation problems, migraines, and tired & aching muscles. *organic

**Herbal info taken from The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Andrew Chevallier.**

Disclaimer: Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease or substitute care by a medical practitioner. All recommendations are believed to be effective, but since actual use of this product is beyond our control and can vary from individual to individual, no guarantee as to the effects of their use can be given nor liability taken.

Tutorials

How to make herbal salves

As a follow-up to yesterdays post on making your own herbal infusions (here), today, I’m showing you how I use those oils to make beeswax (or candelilla wax for the lovely vegans out there) salves and lip balms. So without further ado…balms away!

salves

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Gather all your goodies into one central location because this requires some hustling.
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Portion out some of your infused oil into a measuring cup. I like a 4 to 1 ratio of oil to wax. Some people on the internet suggest 2.5 cups of oil to 1 ounce of beeswax. However, the amount of beeswax depends on how hard you want your salve to be. The more wax, the harder it will be. It’s all a matter of personal preference.
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Create a double boiler by filling your pot with water so it reaches the same level as the oil in your measuring cup. Put the pot on the stove and begin heating your water and your measuring cup.
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Melt your wax or if you’re using wax shavings/pastilles you can skip this step and just throw them straight into your measuring cup with the oil.
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Add the desired amount of wax to your oil and stir like crazy until they begin to melt together. Then turn off your stove.
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Add a couple drops of vitamin E oil.
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Add a couple of drops of grapefruit seed extract. This and the vitamin E oil will help preserve your oils. These are optional steps though.
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Are there any essential oils you’d like to add? Or if you’re making lip balm, now’s the time to add a flavoring oil (you can usually find them in the cake decorating/baking aisle in the grocery store) and perhaps some stevia so it tastes yummy. This is all optional of course. Personally, I prefer mine without all the bells and whistles.
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Add a few drops of essential oil at the very end just before you begin to pour the mixture into the container(s). You don’t want to get your mixture too hot at any point in this process. You just want the oil and the wax to combine. If it gets too hot your essential oil(s) will evaporate.
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This is where the cold spoon comes in handy. Take your chilly spoon and dip it into your mixture. This will give you an idea of the consistency of the salve when it solidifies. Now is the time to tweak your oil to wax ratio if need be.
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Pour your salve into clean, dry containers. Let them sit until they solidify (like the two on the left). Now enjoy! You’ve just made something totally awesome!

Tutorials

How to make herbal oil infusions & tinctures

Unfortunately for me, I lost almost half of my blog posts when I split my two blogs last year. I have no idea where the heck they went but they’re long gone. Most of these missing posts were tutorial in nature and it would be a shame to not repost them. Luckily, I was smart enough to save all of the photos so I can do just that. My first re-do is how to make herbal infusions. Most of the olive oils I use for salves, lotions, butters and sometimes conditioners are made from these herbal infusions. Olive oil is merely one oil option, however, it’s usually the most affordable. Coconut oil would be a fabulous substitute or sweet almond oil or rice bran or avocado oil…the list goes on. You can also follow the same steps below (just substitute the oil with 100-proof vodka or vegetable glycerin for the kiddies) to make medicinal tinctures that can be taken orally to help heal certain ailments. If you want to go a step further and gather your own herbs from mo’ nature, let me direct you to my post on harvesting and drying your own herbs here.

There’s a lot of confusing and sometimes dangerous information on the internet regarding the medicinal uses of plants. I suggest not looking to the internet and instead investing in a few good books. My personal favorite is The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants: A Practical Reference Guide to over 55o Key Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses by Andrew Chevallier. This is, without a doubt, worth the investment. It’s the best book I’ve seen on the subject and I’m pissed at myself for returning it to my former housemate Thom. Sometimes honesty does nothing for you. With that said, let’s get started!

list

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Gather your CLEAN jars. You can use spaghetti sauce jars if you want, it’s all good. Just make sure they’re clean and dry. I either boil mine in hot water or bleach them beforehand. Label them now so you don’t get confused later.
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Procure some herbs. I used a combination of herbs found in the bulk section of a local health food store and some I had gathered and dried from the wild. You can also go out into the garden and pick some fresh stuff. Dry or fresh, it doesn’t really matter just make sure your freshies are clean.
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(Skip this step if you’re making a tincture with vodka.) Start heating your oil. Do not boil, scorch, or super heat your oil to the point of smoking. If you do so, your herbs will be pissed and you can kiss their medicinal properties goodbye. What you want is to feel a gentle warmth when you hover your hand above the oil in the pot. Yup, it’s not rocket science.
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While your oil is warming, place your herbs in the correspondingly labeled jars and get your funnel ready to earn its keep. You don’t need to overstuff your jars with herbs either. Halfway is fine, even less is okay–use what you have. If you’re using fresh herbs, you’ll want to use more.
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(Skip this step if you’re making a tincture.) Add a couple drops of vitamin E oil to your jars. This is totally optional but it helps to slow down the oxidation process. In other words, it’ll help to prevent your oil from turning rancid. If you plan to use your oils quickly, you probably don’t have to sweat this step.
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Pour your warm oil (or room temp vodka) into the jars via the handy funnel.
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Take a break for a second because your arms are probably on fire at this point. Okay, break’s over. Now pour until you can’t pour no mo’!
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Give it a few minutes for your concoction(s) to cool down a bit, especially if you’re using fresh herbs because the water in them needs to evaporate, and then seal em’ up. Now shake!
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Shake your jars as often as possible. Leave them in a cool, dark place (like my heart) for at least a week or two before using. If you’re making a medicinal tincture, I suggest leaving them for three months, ideally six months if you can manage it. Remember to put the date on the label so you know how much time has passed. Enjoy!