Diary - 02/09
Diary - Feb 2009
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February 2009



Discovering essential oils

Infusing alkenet root

Grating beeswax

Adding beeswax to hot oil

February reminded us what winter should be - gales, howling winds and more snow than we have seen for over fifteen years. It seemed right to stay indoors and think of ways to keep warm using herbal oils infused when summer harvests gave of their bounty.


On the television, BBC 2 delighted us with a year’s visit to a Victorian farm. Many recipes of the time were tried including comfrey oil for the carthorse’s sore hoof and an alkenet dyed lip balm. Debs Cook kindly donated some dried alkenet root from her online shop, Moonshadows Realm, so we could experiment with making our own lip balm.


The workshop was again very well attended, with fourteen people gathering in the lounge to watch double infused ginger oil being strained while we talked about the principles of making an infused oil. We then split into two groups, one making a moisturising cream from Christopher Hedley’s basic recipe.



Moisturising Cream

1 heaped tablespoon base cream (Aqueous cream)

1 tsp infused herbal oil

2 tsp infused herbal tincture

4 drops essential oil


The base cream was put into a plastic bowl with the infused oil and mixed thoroughly. The tincture was added and mixed well in, then the essential oil added in drops and the mixture transferred to a glass jar.


There was a selection of oils and tinctures to choose from, including the rosemary tincture we had made during the previous workshop. The group also had the opportunity to test a variety of essential oils to see which one they felt would go with their oil and tincture.


The group in the kitchen had two tasks. To make the alkenet infused lip balm, filling enough jars for everyone to take one home and then to create their own salve mixture using several infused oils.



Rosebud Lips Balm

225ml (9floz) Calendua Oil
3 Tablespoons Jojoba Oil
45g (1 oz) Dried Alkanet Root
30g (1oz) Beeswax
12 Drops Rose Essential Oil


Gently heat both oils in the top of a double boiler for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the alkanet root and steep for around 30 minutes, to extract the colour from the root.


Strain the root from the oils through a muslin cloth. Return the oils to the double boiler with the beeswax. Once this has melted, remove from the heat and add the rose essential oil drop by drop. Pour into small sterilised pots or jars. Allow to cool thoroughly before putting the lids on.



(Thanks to Debs for writing out the recipe. You can see her blog entry about the workshop by clicking here )


It was interesting to see what salves the two groups created. Martin’s group put together an arthritis salve made from ginger, rosemary, meadowsweet and plantain. He gave some to his father, who has arthritis in his hands with the instructions to rub it on at least twice a day. His father reported it was the most effective relief he had used, which was wonderful to hear!


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