Quick note: This recipe contains comfrey leaf infused oil. There is debate that surrounds comfrey as the FDA banned it's use in internally consumed items (a good article to read that kind of sums up my stance on it can be found HERE). I have read both sides of the debate surrounding comfrey and am still using it, BUT that is me. If you do not feel comfortable using comfrey, I completely understand. If you do not use it, I would just double up the calendula oil or the plantain oil. The salve, while not having the regenerative skin aspect, would work almost as well. I have personally doubled the plantain more than once just to give extra itch fighting power to the salve and it has worked fine. Use your own judgement in this matter. I'm sharing the recipe, but feel free to tweak it however you feel the need. It's your choice.
A quick disclaimer. I do not work for the FDA, I'm not evaluated by the FDA and wouldn't even know where to begin if I wanted to be. I am not a herbalist or a naturpath and the only degree I hold is a marketing degree, so please do not assume by any means I'm an expert in this. This is just something I've concocted through my own need for something to help my son's eczema and the research I've found through various sources.
Now, here's a list of base ingredients for you and why I used them.
1. Calendula (aka pot marigold).
This is the most mild and super moisturizing herb I could find when I researched the heck out of it. I use it constantly in everything from soaps to salves for us around here. Heck, I even made it into herb shampoo. So, yes, I believe highly in this herb :).
One of the most powerful topical healers out there, Comfrey has been known to do everything from help to knit bones to heal bruises faster. It's a big one found in a lot of natural healing products. Use for topical use only and try not to apply to open wounds.
The best anti-itching herb I've found to date. This stuff is used as topical application to help itching from things like poison ivy and poison oak, so I figured it was hopefully strong enough to combat the surface itching with eczema. And it does. So well so that I'm currently letting a 2 cup batch of plantain oil cure and I'm going to add it to a misting bottle to coat my kiddo when he flares.
4. St. John's Wort
A good anti-inflammatory herb, I added this in to help with the terrible red irritated spots that just needed something to help reduce inflammation. And it seems to work, so it's staying in the salve for now :).
And now here's the process to make it...
Step 1: Make your oils. Take 1/4 cup of your herb and place in a mason jar and add in 1/2 cup of olive oil to the jar. Let steep for two weeks, turning a couple of times a week (be sure to label your oils so that you know what they are).
Step 2: Once your oils are done, strain them through a wire mesh strainer (in the case of comfrey and plantain I'd definitely suggest using some cheese cloth to strain out any tiny bits too). I then add the now herb infused oils to pint sized mason jars and relabel them so that I have them labeled for later use and be sure to label the BOTTLE and not the top of the jar...if you get your lids confused it can lead to bad things...not that I'd know anything about that or anything *looks off to side and whistles innocently*. And now we're ready to rock with the actual recipe.
Note: The recipe calls for a small portion of unrefined shea butter. This is NOT shea butter lotion or something from the store. It's like a hard butter consistency. You can order it through Country Soap Shack on Etsy or other places I'm sure, such as E-bay. You can also use any butter really...mango butter, cocoa butter (although this would make your salve smell sort of like chocolate), etc. You can also find a lot of supplies, such as Calendula at All About Herbs, so don't think you have to order this all online if you don't want to.
Eczema Healing Salve/Creme
- 1/4 cup Calendula Oil
- 1/4 cup Plantain Oil
- 1/8 cup St. John's Wort Oil
- 1/8 Cup Comfrey Oil
- 1 1/2 TBSP Beeswax pellets or 2 TBSP grated beeswax
- 1/2 teaspoon (about I just broke off a small chunk that LOOKED to be about 1/2 teaspoon) chunk of shea butter
- 5 to 10 drops lavender essential oil, depending on preference
- 2, 1/4 Pint Canning Jars (at least the stuff I made filled up two of them without any extra)
This is some cool stuff. It goes on super soft and the shea butter makes the salve just have this soft after-effect on the skin. I love how it makes my son's skin feels after I apply it and the salve heals the eczema outbreaks super fast. Now I just need to make an anti-itching tincture to counteract the internal effects of the eczema and I'll be set :).
Here's a picture of my son's foot and ankle 24 hours after I started using this stuff. Picture the "before" picture being the same leg, but with scabs and some open bleeding from him scratching the skin off the top of his foot (mind you I waited until said wounds closed before I used anything on him)...
Wondering where I buy my herbs and stuff so you can make your own? Well here you go...
- Calendula: You can purchase this by the pound, but only the full flowers (least that I found) at All About Herbs (a local Alaskan store). I order mine online through Jen's Enchanted Garden on Etsy right now. I love that she goes by weight, not volume, so even 1/4 lb is a REALLY nice amount of calendula petals. AND it's the petals, not the full flower, so you end up with more petals that way :).
- Comfrey, Plantain, St. John's Wort: I ordered mine through The Bulk Herb Store. Love that place :). By the way, 1/2 lb of Plantain? Will last you forever. Awesomely huge amount :).
- Shea Butter, Beeswax beads: Country Soap Shack on Etsy, but I know you can find them other places as well. I know for sure that the Bulk Herb Store also carries the beeswax. Country Soap Shack, I've found, just has great quality products and their beeswax is pretty darn cheap (1 lb of the stuff cost me 12.00 shipped and that'll be enough Beeswax to last me a long time :).
- Lavender Essential Oil: Cheapest place I've found essential oils, now that Fred Meyer stopped carrying them (I miss the sales on those oils *sniff*) is Amazon.com. In SOME cases, such as Sweet Orange Oil, it seems like All About Herbs isn't too bad, but I've found that even through Marketplace sellers on Amazon AFTER shipping the oils are many times much cheaper than buying them through All About Herbs.
EDIT: Just a couple of answer to some quick questions I've gotten from people about the instructions.
1) The olive oil used is just good old olive oil you buy at the store...nothing special about it. I just buy mine at Costco or Three Bears in the big mondo jug as it's more cost effective. Olive oil is used because it's like the only oil that naturally doesn't go rancid on you, thus is good for making health and beauty products out of. It gives you a long shelf life.
2) When I say, "turn the jar a couple of times a week" I don't mean to turn it over and leave it. Sorry about that. If you do that you're going to end up with oil all over your counter as mason jars do NOT vacuum seal unless you can them. Just swish the contents in the jar enough to get the herbs and oil moving around and then put it right back on the shelf to steep some more :).
3) YES, if you lose track of time you can steep the herbs and oil indefinitely. Some people were concerned with the 2 week thing. That's just a minimum amount of time you're going to want to steep your oils for so that they're effective. Honestly the St. John's Wort oil and the Calendula oil I'm using right now *coughs* got strained at about a month because I didn't need them right away and lost track of time. I, like you, am human, so don't sweat it :).
4) You can mix the salve with metal or wood utensils, yes, but NOT plastic ones unless you want one heck of a oily coating on them. I use the chop stick to mix because it gets into tight areas without issue and trust me you make salves a couple of times you'll learn to love the chop stick (once you try to stick a teaspoon into a thing of newly formed salve to mush it up and you'll quickly see what I mean :). Just pick up some throw away sets at your store's sushi counter or ask for a couple of extra pairs the next time you get chinese food. They come in very handy.
5) 1/4 pint mason jars are found at the grocery store. You don't have to order them online or anything. I was in this phase where I thought you needed "lotion" containers and ordered them online. They were double walled plastic deals and were expensive. They're nice containers, don't get me wrong, but I didn't like the cost involved, especially after handing out a couple of jars of salve to relatives and realizing I was going to have to reorder them. I found that you can get 12 1/4 pint mason jars, even in off season pricing, at Fred Meyers for about 10.00, which was a LOT cheaper (I was paying that for 4 of the double walled plastic ones after shipping). And the nice part about the mason jars if that you won't feel badly if you end up giving a couple away for people to try your new salve. Just make sure you label your jars (labels come with the jars) so that you know what is in them as beeswax makes pretty much everything turn yellow, so it all tends to start looking the same.
If you have any other questions, feel free to e-mail me, Facebook the question or post it here (if Blogger will let you :).
NOTE: This post is linked to Gluten Free and DIY Tuesdays on Allergy Free Alaska
Note: This post contains affiliate links. I am a proud Amazon.com associate, and if you order through the links on this post I get a small amount of money from Amazon as a way to thank me for spreading the word about their products. The opinions and feedback about said products, however, are entirely my own.