3 C's Hand Salve

I love calendula and chamomile, and combined, they might just be the yummiest smelling thing ever!  And I combined them with coconut oil and some other yummy and nourishing ingredients (namely extra virgin olive oil, beeswax and vitamin E oil) to make my all time favorite  (so far!) hand salve. It’s both soothing and healing, making it possible for me to work in the kitchen right now.  My eczema is quite inflamed at the moment, and I just apply a bit of this after pretty much every time I get my hands wet and it makes it bearable.

Okay, so as promised, here’s a brief how-to on herb infused oil and my new hand salve recipe…

I actually double infused this oil… so just like for the Bum Salve I made the other day, except I took the strained oil and poured it over a fresh batch of herbs. Same ratio: take 1/2 cup of herbs, in this case I did a whole cup, half chamomile and half calendula, and then the same amount of olive oil (extra virgin, cold pressed), or in the case of a double infusion the same amount of the already infused herb oil.  Pour the olive oil over the herbs in an oven proof dish.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees and then turn off. Leave for about four hours. This time I actually re-heated the oven half-way through and left the light on for a bit of added warm because I felt like my oven cooled off too fast the last time.

The oil turns a lovely golden brown:

and then we make the salve.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs Coconut Oil
  • 4 Tbs Calendula/Chamomile Oil (or if you want to infuse them separately for other uses, then 2 Tbs of each oil)
  • 2 Tbs Beeswax
  • 1/8 tsp Vitamin E Oil

Melt the first three ingredients together in a double boiler on medium heat until beeswax is melted.  Remove from heat, dry your measuring cup so no water gets in your salve preparation.  Stir in Vitamin E Oil and pour into sterilized container(s). This recipe makes 4 oz.

And this makes a firmer salve, firm enough you could pour it into lip balm tubes also if you wanted it to be a lip balm.

Don’t forget to weigh in on what next week’s giveaway should be! And stay tuned for a brand new blog feature… shhh… I’m not telling yet 😉

Bum Salve

So a couple of days ago I suddenly realized that Eli and I both had an unwelcome guest in the form of a sudden yeast overgrowth 😛 He never developed white patches in his mouth but he got a new form of diaper rash (and we’d just gotten rid of the one caused by his milk sensitivity!) and my nipples got all irritated, inflamed and so forth all over night it seemed. Looking back, there were warning signs, mainly in the form of bright pink nipples, and I should have listened to my lactation consultant more closely 2 weeks ago when she said it looked like thrush could be causing that, but at the time, there were no other symptoms.

Fortunately thanks to her saying that and sending me home with pictures of what thrush irritation looked like on a baby’s bum and a mama’s nipples, I figured it out right away and attacked it with coconut oil.

Coconut oil is a wonderful thing, full of anti-fungal fighting properties. It’s a solid at room temp, but melts at 76 degrees, making it easy to apply to the skin.  I started with straight, unrefined organic coconut oil (you can get it at the grocery store) and put it on my nipples and his bum.  Then I made him a full bum salve to promote healing faster and we started seeing results in less than 24 hours.  the salve incorporates the healing qualities of chamomile and olive oil with the softening, sealing effects of beeswax.  Chamomile is soothing and anti-inflammatory and promotes healing, while olive oil is very moisturizing and beneficial to the skin.  Beeswax brings it all together and also helps seal in the moisture and forms an even better barrier than the oils alone, allowing the skin to heal and protecting it from moisture and, in this case, poop.

This salve is safe to use on cloth diapers, at least on cotton pre-folds. I’ve been skipping using this on my inserts as I wasn’t sure the synthetics would hold up well.  But after several days, my cotton prefolds (speaking of which, I majorly love these heavy duty unbleached prefolds! They are so absorbent and so far, leak less than disposables :-P), are still as super absorbent as ever, so looks like we’re good to go.

And, even though I called this “bum salve,” you can totally use it on your nipples too 😉

So here’s how to make the Bum Salve:

First you need to infuse some olive oil with chamomile.  There are several ways to do this.  The long way is to fill a pint-sized mason jar half full of chamomile blossoms, fill with olive oil (Extra virgin, cold-pressed organic has the best properties and the longest shelf life), and put it in a dark cupboard for 6 weeks, then strain.  This way gives you almost 2 cups of infused oil.  The fast way (and I haven’t actually determined which way gives you the most benefit) is to pre-heat your oven to 300, fill an oven proof dish with a half cup of chamomile blossoms, cover with a half cup of olive oil, turn the oven off, and put the mixture in the heat for about 4 hours, then strain.  To strain, I line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth to catch the smallest bits and strain into a glass bowl or large measuring cup. I prefer the measuring cup, because then I have a pour spout to redistribute later.

Always use sterilized containers to create and store your oils.  (Your dishwasher is fine unless it is very old).

Now, you only need a little of the chamomile oil for this recipe, but the rest makes a good massage oil for you or baby, or you can make other recipes with it.

Bum Salve (makes about 4 oz)

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp chamomile oil (see above)
  • 1 tbsp beeswax
  • 1/8 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional, acts as a preservative)

I used my measuring cup double boiler (measuring cup with the ingredients in it set in a small saucepan of water, see this post for pics of what that looks like) to heat the coconut oil, chamomile oil and beeswax together on medium heat until the beeswax melts.  Then remove from heat, take measuring cup out of the pan, dry the outside (you don’t want water in your mixture, it could introduce bacteria) and add the vitamin E oil.  Stir and pour into sterile containers.

Where to find ingredients:

You should be able to find the oils in any grocery store.  As always, I got my herbs and Vitamin E oil from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Hard Lotion

So thanks to some linkage from Simple Mom, I discovered this amazing site where this gal make hard lotion… as in lotion bars.  She has a DIY section too, where if you want to try your hand at it, you can make it yourself. You can order a kit from her and try it, but since it only has three ingredients, ingredients I already own from making hand salve and lip balm, and then one ingredient I’ve added to make diaper cream (coming soon!), I decided to give it a try on the spot.

But first, why hard lotion? It seems the high beeswax content of this stuff helps seal the skin, particularly if there’s any broken skin, like on my fingers from eczema, or on husband’s elbows, and lets it heal.  And twenty-four hours after making this, we’ve both noticed a difference, so we’ve both become fans of this!

Now, onto the recipe…

It’s just equal parts Shea Butter, Coconut Oil and beeswax.

I melted 3 tablespoons of each in my trusty measuring cup on medium-low heat…

And then poured it into a small loaf pan and let cool.  After it cooled, I popped it into the freezer for about 10 minutes or so, and then banged the pan on the counter until it came out.  (Freezing recommended by its creator, the repeated whacking was necessary probably because I didn’t freeze it long enough 😛 )

I then cut it in thirds to make it easier to handle…

And voila! hard lotion.  Simply rub on skin to apply.

Now if you don’t want to make it, head on over to the MadeOn site and order up some (and no, I’m not an affiliate of hers in any way, I just like to help people find quality wholesome stuff!).  If you do make it, keep in mind that coconut oil’s melting point is, I believe 76 degrees, and thus this needs to be stored at room temp and not put in a pocket or left in your car in the spring/summer/anytime it might possibly get over like 70.  You’ve been warned!

Ta ta for now 😉