This is super-dee-duper-dee simple. It's so simple I can do it with both hands tied behind my back. Okay. I can't do it with my hands tied behind my back, but it is simple. You can easily transfer all the wonderful and healing properties of herbs to the oils you use to make your Skin Salve.
What You Will Need:
Herb(s) of choice -- more about this later
Oil(s) of choice
Pint size jars with lids
How to Make an Infused Oil:
First, you need to choose the herbs you will be using. You can use a single herb -- Lavender or Calendula are nice ones to start with. They are very gentle and nourishing. Or you can blend together a bunch. I use a bunch. Here are a few herbs you might be interested in trying:
Rose Petals -- Used in skin care products for tender, dry, sensitive skin. Rose petals have a cleansing, astringent, toning, moisture retaining, stimulating, antibacterial, healing and soothing effect. No wonder we ladies like roses so much. Rose protects the skin, while moisturizing, hydrating and balancing it. It gives a boost to all skin types, and is particularly beneficial to dry, mature and sensitive skin. It helps reduce redness, fight inflammations, and helps fix broken capillaries on the skin. It also acts as a general skin tonic with its astringent properties. Rose petals have long been used for softening and rejuvenating the skin. Rose petals are also excellent for treating acne and blackheads.
Lavender -- Lavender has excellent soothing and healing properties. It is a natural antiseptic and antibiotic. It is applied topically to treat cuts, scrapes and other wounds. It is a gentle and effective remedy for acne, burns and other sores. It even helps prevent scarring. While it is especially good for normal to dry skin, it is used for all skin types. It is safe and effective for a wide variety of skin complaints and gentle enough for babies.
Calendula -- Calendula provides effective treatment for most minor skin problems. It is used for cuts, scrapes, wounds, red and inflamed skin, including minor burns and sunburn, for acne, rashes (including diaper rash), and fungal conditions. It has healing and tissue regenerating properties for all skin types and conditions, including sensitive skin and for babies.
Yarrow -- Used as a universal remedy in the treatment of a wide range of wounds, sores, bruises, swelling, cracked skin, boils, small burns, and varicose veins. Its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties are used to tone the skin. It can be used for oily skin, acne, large pores, wrinkles and eczema. Yarrow is often an ingredient in certain products for dandruff, itchiness, sores of the scalp and eczema-type rashes.
Rosemary -- In skin care, rosemary is believed to stimulate blood circulation and to restore elasticity to the skin. Rosemary is also effective for lifeless and oily skin. Its astringent properties are useful for blackheads. Apply rosemary to insect bites, burns and eczema. It is used in hair care products to counteract dandruff, hair loss and for oily hair.
Comfrey -- Plants like comfrey, which have hight carbohydrate content, are considered to rejuvenate the skin and to have healing, soothing and moisture retaining properties. They are good for rough, damaged skin and can, with time, alleviate wrinkling and enable skin tissue to regain its youthful elasticity. Comfrey is a special beauty herb due to the high content of the phytochemical Allantoin which promotes skin cell regeneration, stimulates growth of new skin cells and helps sensitive skin to become more resilient, counteracting dryness and cracking.
Plantain -- Don't confuse this with the edible plantain fruit. This is a common herb that most people think of as a weed. They spend a lot of money on broad leaf herbicides to get this herb out of their yards. Plantain is a wonderful "first aid" herb, Simply crush a few fresh leaves and apply to insect bites or stings to draw out the poison and relieve pain. It is also useful for poison ivy. Plantain is used as an astringent and draws out impurities from acne, insect bites and stings, infection, etc. It is also very helpful for minor burns. May cause sun-sensitivity in some individuals. Use sunscreen if necessary.
Chamomile -- Chamomile reduces inflammation and aids in the healing of wounds. It is used for acne, boils, cuts, chilblains, dermatitis, eczema, rashes, burns and sunburn. It is very good for dry skin, especially when it is inflamed and sensitive. It can reduce the redness of broken capillaries.
Helichrysum -- Helichrysum is anti-inflammitory. It is helpful in healing scar tissue, reducing inflammation and is good for sensitive skin. It contains a high percentage of di-ketones which signal tissues to regenerate.
**As always, do your research. While many of these herbs are wonderful and safe for children and pregnant or nursing moms, some of them are not. If you will be using the salve on children under the age of 12, or if you are pregnant or nursing, please use extra caution. **
Here are a couple herb blends to get you started:
Rose & Lavender Herb Blend
1 cup Rose Petals
1 cup Lavender Flowers
1/2 cup Plantain Leaf
Angela's Healing Facial Herb Blend
I use this for my salves, toner, facial steam, facial scrub, etc.
1/2 cup Rose Petals
1/2 cup Calendula Flowers
1/4 cup Lavender Flowers
1/4 cup Yarrow Flowers (or leaves)
1/4 cup Plantain Leaves
1/4 cup Rosemary Leaves
1/4 cup Comfrey Leaves
1/4 cup Chamomile Flowers
1/4 cup Helichrysum Flowers
Any leftover herbs or herb blends can be labeled and stored in the freezer for future use.
Now that you have picked your herb or herbs, it is time to make them into something useful.
Fill your jars 2/3 full of herbs.
Next, pour your oil(s) into the jars, allowing the oil to soak into the herbs.
Leave at least a 1/2 inch headspace. Screw lids onto jars.
These are the oils I use:
Olive Oil-- draws external moisture to the skin while allowing normal functions like sweating, shedding of dead skin, and the release of sebum. It also has antioxidant properties that elevate skin health.
Coconut Oil -- promotes the healing of rashes and abrasions. It is especially effective for rashes caused by underlying yeast problems such as eczema. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Grape Seed Oil -- is readily absorbed by the skin. It is very high in antioxidants and can have anti-aging benefits.
Place a hand towel in the bottom of the crock-pot. Place jars into pot and tuck more towels around jars to prevent breakage. Fill crock-pot with water.
Set crock-pot temperature to low. Cook on low for about 3 days, being sure the the crock-pot doesn't run dry. Add water as necessary.
Your infused oil is now ready. It will look much darker -- that is the properties from the herbs that are now in the oil. Allow the jars to cool completely.
If you are really together, you can strain out the herbs and put your herbal oil in a clean jar. Or you can be like me and just store it as is in a cool, dark place (my kitchen cabinet). Whichever you choose to do, you should definitely label your jars with the date, the contents of the jar and its intended use. Right now, you might think you could never forget what was in that jar, but 6 months from now, you'll be looking at that jar and wondering what strange brew lurks in there. All these herbal concoctions end up looking the same in a few weeks.
When you are ready to use the oil, just strain it first with a wire mess strainer or cheesecloth. After you pour the oil off, make sure to squeeze and press the oil from the herbs. You can get a lot more oil out of those herbs. There. Now your are ready to make some salve salve!