If long hours shoveling, weeding, and hoeing in the garden have left your hands calloused and cracked (and frankly, pretty frightening to look at), you could wear them like a badge of honor—or you could heal them with a nourishing, herb-infused lotion.
We recently visited Linda Shanahan, herbalist and owner of Barefoot Botanicals, at her farm in Doylestown, Pa, where she showed us how to make one of her favorite DIY lotions that you can whip up right in a blender or food processor. (Kind of like these awesome DIY face masks you can make in a blender.)
(See how easy it is to grow your own remedies for joint pain, heartburn, cold symptoms, and 30+ other ailments with Rodale's Grow It Heal It!)
“This blend combines skin-healing and antimicrobial calendula, which promotes wound healing and cell regeneration, along with cooling, anti-inflammatory chamomile to soothe irritated or sunburned skin,” says Shanahan.
To harness the healing properties of these herbs, Shanahan uses a homemade calendula-infused olive oil (here’s how to make a batch) and a chamomile hydrosol in her recipe. Hydrosols are produced by distilling fresh flowers and plants and they have similar therapeutic properties to essential oils, but much less concentrated. They can be found on Barefoot Botanicals’ website or from another reputable herbal retailer like Mountain Rose Herbs.
Here’s the simple step-by-step process on how to make this healing lotion at home.
Pro tip: Before making this recipe, Shanahan recommends disinfecting all equipment—bowls, blenders, stirring utensils—with an alcohol soaked paper towel. This will help prevent spoilage.
1) Place small pot of water over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Nest a metal bowl over the pot—creating a double boiler—and add the oil and beeswax. Heat gently and stir occasionally with a chopstick until beeswax is fully melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
2) Add the hydrosol (or tea) to a blender or food processor and blend on high for about 30 seconds, warming the liquid slightly. Add the oil in a slow drizzle and continue to blend until the texture changes to a creamy emulsion. Stop periodically to scrape down the sides of the blender or processor and continue blending until the mixture reaches the consistency of a smooth lotion.
3) Add your optional essential oil—Shanahan likes lavender, which is antibacterial and antimicrobial—and blend for a few seconds more to combine.
4) Transfer lotion into bottles with pour spouts to avoid putting fingers in the lotion, which promotes spoilage. Store your lotion in the refrigerator for up to a year.
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