dignity 101

Turning Herbs Into Bodycare Treatments

June 18, 2017 | By More

This summer, consider turning those gorgeous herbs you are growing into part of your body care regime.

Calendula is one of my favourite herbs. Easy to grow, abundant in blossoms, this lovely little plant has many healing properties. Calendula’s (Calendula officinalis, not to be mistaken for the marigolds we are familiar with) petals are chock full of beta carotene, making it a great anti-inflammatory. Topically it can be used for minor cuts and burns due to its antibacterial properties, and dermatitis including excema.

Lavender is another powerful skin healer. It is also analgesic, so very helpful for skin damage. You can use the buds and leaves to make skin care preparations.
Got peppermint? Energizing, analgesic peppermint can be used in all sorts of skin care preparations, from sore muscle concoctions to sinus preparations. Related to the mints, lemon balm is a lovely little plant that grows in proliferation. It is anti-viral, so helpful as a tea for instances of herpes simplex. Comfrey is another herb that has been used for hundreds of years for its medicinal properties. Externally, comfrey can help with sore muscles, bruising and superficial cuts.
How can you incorporate these wonderful plants into medicine all year ‘round?

If you have an old screen, you can dry them as they become ready: for example, blossoms can be picked in the morning after the dew has evaporated but before the heat of the sun damages the vital oils. Spread them over the screen and place so that there is ventilation from both sides. You want them to dry quickly. You can then package them in labelled sterilized glass jars. You can also infuse them in oil. Taking a sterilized glass jar, add 1/3 plant material to 2/3 oil to top up (olive is my favourite). Tap the jar to remove any air bubbles, and make sure plant material is covered with oil completely. You can leave it in the sun for a couple of weeks, then carefully drain off the oil, leaving the herbs behind (coffee filters work well for this), into another sterile container. Label accordingly. This will form the base of any cream or lotion you make later on. You can use the dried herbs in bath or compresses.

©2017 Heather Garrod is a Certified Aromatherapist and owner of Planet Botanix at 301 Bank St in Centretown. She gives how-to workshops on making natural products for the body and has been creating natural bodycare for over eighteen years. The shop offers natural alternatives to commercial products and features a holistic therapy clinic.

Category: Articles, Lifestyle & Environment

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