It has been far too hot this summer to run my roaster oven to make herb infused oils. Yes I could have made them using the longer method of brewing them for weeks and weeks and shaking them up in between, but I am far too impatient for that nonsense!
Well today, it was still hot, but I decided to go ahead and make the infusions anyhow because I need them for my vacation this week.
I made a few oils yesterday & finished them up today.
- Melissa (Lemon Balm) – Lemon Balm, Comfrey, Nettle, Plantain, Chamomile
- Arnica – Arnica flowers, ginger root, white willow bark, comfrey, rosemary
- Chickweed – Chickweed, comfrey, nettle, plantain
- Mallow – Mallow root, burdock root, elderflower
- Rosehip – Hibiscus flowers, rosehips, calendula, chamomile
I put them into a large heat-sealable tea bag because they are easier to clean up, strain, and leave less mess in the oil.
Because I was going to make something specific with the Melissa oil and the Arnica oil, I infused those into mineral oil. The others are in pure olive oil.
Now many people have heard the mineral oil is bad because it’s made from petroleum and can cause cancer and a whole lot of other problems. I was guilty of believing this too until I learned more about those warnings.
Those warnings are all true — of the industrial grade mineral oil. It is very impure. HOWEVER, the cosmetic and food grade mineral oils do NOT have the same problem. They are highly processed and pure. They have no known problems. They are used in many skin-care products that you already use because they are pure and consistent. Vegetable based oils can be inconsistent. They can have inconsistent fatty acid profiles, smells, thicknesses, and so forth from batch to batch. Mineral oil is always the same — every batch. It is also highly moisturizing and occlusive (which means it sits on top of and protects your skin).
You might have also heard that mineral oil is comedogenic (clogs pores). This is also false. It does not form an air-tight barrier, nor does it clog pores.
So why did I use it instead of olive oil? Well, the Melissa oil and the Arnica oil are being made into a lip balm and a pain massage salve. Mineral oil does not go rancid. It will last a LONG LONG LONG time. It is also very greasy and moisturizing, which is desirable for both of those products.
Melissa Lip Balm
If you are one of the unlucky people who suffer from cold sores, you might appreciate that lemon balm has been studied and has been found as effective as prescription cold sore medications. It both heals and prevents them. Comfrey, nettles and plantain are also well-known herbs to treat skin lesions and promote healing.
I added just 3 drops of peppermint essential oil because it tastes good, but also because it has also been studied and found effective in healing cold sores. (It tastes much better than tea tree oil does).
I have made this lip balm before and it did work wonders! So this time I am trying it with mineral oil so it lasts longer (without going rancid) and so that it is long-lasting on the lips and moisturizing as well.
Arnica Pain Massage Balm
I have also made this in the past and due to the lemongrass essential oil and anti-inflammatory and analgesic herbs, it has worked very well in helping back and sciatic pain, along with massage.
Unfortunately, my old batch got old and the oils started to go rancid after a year, so this time, this was also made with mineral oil. Mineral oil will be very greasy, but that is OK when only rubbed on a small area (lower back, for example) and when you want it to remain greasy while being massaged.
I added a few drops of peppermint and lemongrass essential oils and just 2 drops of ginger essential oil. All are good for joint & muscle pain. Lemongrass is also used for sciatic nerve pain, and it smells great too!
Both are very simple recipes of nothing but the herb-infused oil, essential oils and white beeswax. (1/2 cup oil, 3 tbsp beeswax, varying amounts of essential oils as mentioned above). You could get fancy and add shea butter or other ingredients, but I didn’t want anything in this that could possibly go rancid. Remember, my goal is longevity this time.
So the recipe is very different from my previous batch of these balms. I had previously used different vegetable based oils that had symbiotic properties. Some of them, however, (like Hempseed oil) do not have long shelf-lives.
We’ll see how we like it over the next couple months.