Today's make it yourself project is a basic herbal salve, or balm. I like to use arnica (great for muscle pain) and comfrey, which has a long history of being known as one of nature's greatest medicinal herbs. It promotes healing of many things, most notably, wounds.
To make it you will need to first, infuse some oil. So grab your small crock pot (the easiest way, but you can use a pan on the stove). Add some dried arnica and some dried comfrey to your crock pot, cover with your choice of oil* and turn on "high" for 15-20 minutes, then turn down to "low" and allow to cook for at least another 2 hours, but I like 4 or more. The biggest thing is that you do not want to allow the oil to boil or to burn, so depending upon your choice of oil and your crock pot, your time on "high" may vary, and possibly even your "low" time. If you use the stove, I suggest keeping your temperature on low all the time to avoid any possibility of burning it. Believe me, burnt oil smells terribly. Um....don't ask me how I know this! Lol
*As for the oil of your choice, I suggest using olive, avocado, sweet almond, apricot seed or grapeseed oil, but really most any other will work. Just do not use hemp or wheat germ oil (in this method), as they break down when heated.
Once you have steeped the herbs for a minimum of two hours, you need to strain it. The easiest way I have found to do this, is to get a cone shaped coffee filter and place that [down] into a medium to large funnel. Then sit the funnel into a glass jar. My medium funnel rests nicely on the rim of an old pickle jar, leaving my hands free, and plenty of space before the tube will be under oil. Pour your oil and herbal mixture into the filter and go gather the balance of the ingredients while it drains.
You will need;
1/2 ounce of beeswax
1/2 ounce of cocoa butter (I get the deodorized, but if you don't mind the scent, regular is fine)
1/2 ounce Mango butter- or the butter of your choice- (remember to temper it first, if you use shea butter)
1/2 ounce of your herbal infused oil
Melt the beeswax, cocoa butter and mango butter in a double boiler, stirring occasionally. Once it is melted, add in the herbal infused oil and stir well. Now you can be done right here, just pour your mixture into a tin or jar and allow it to sit until its set. But, if you want, you can allow it to cool a tad, then add some lavender, tea tree, or lemongrass essential oil, just a few drops will do. Stir well and then pour into a tin and allow to sit until set. Once set, cover when not in use.
This mixture should melt as it warms on your skin, so pop it out of the tin, or dig some out of a jar, and rub over and into your skin. You can use it on rough areas of skin, like knees, elbows, and heels, or for an all over moisturizing treat. Have sore leg muscles? Treat yourself to a massage with this balm and see if you get some relief. I know people who swear by these herbs, but at the least you will get a nice, soothing, moisturizing treatment. And who knows, you may just be one of those that swears by them when it's all said and done!
If when you try it, it isn't soft enough, just remelt it (you can use the microwave on shot bursts of 20 seconds at a time until melted) and add in a tad more oil. If you need it harder, add a bit more beeswax. It's just that easy!