Making Herbal Ointments

Herbal ointments are used for their healing, moisturising and protective qualities when applied externally to the skin. They are very easy to make in the kitchen and will keep for several years if stored well (cool and dark).

Ointment bases can vary widely but usually contain a mixture of oils to hold the herbal ingredients and waxes to give solidity. This recipe uses olive oil to absorb the herbs and beeswax to give firmness, other oils could include wheat germ, jojoba, sunflower etc and cocoa or shea butter could be used instead of beeswax.

A good ratio is 350g of olive oil to 50g of beeswax to 300g of dried herb, but I strongly encourage you to experiment as you may only need to make enough to fill one jar!

  1. Place the olive oil and herbs in a casserole or ovenproof dish with a lid and heat on the lowest heat possible for an hour or so. Take out and leave to stand for up to a week, stirring daily.
  2. Heat one more time on the hob before straining the herbs if you need to. You can leave the herbs in if they were in powder form.
  3. Return to the heat and add the beeswax gradually. Test the consistency by adding a drop to a cold plate, allow to cool for a few minutes and test by rubbing between your fingertips – too soft then add more beeswax, too hard means add more olive oil. At this stage you can add a few drops of an appropriate essential oil if desired.
  4. When the desired consistency is achieved, pour into jars and leave to cool completely before adding the lid.

SOME USEFUL RECIPES TO TRY:

Eczema/itchy skin - marigold, heartsease, burdock leaf, chickweed, plantain, golden seal, lavender essential oil.

Wound and abrasions - comfrey root or leaves, marshmallow root, black walnut leaves/powdered husks, burdock root, slippery elm, golden seal root.

Antifungal - black walnut, marigold, pau d’arco, thuja, garlic, tea tree oil.

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