Perceived mistakes can turn out to be some of society’s more beneficial inventions. Take tea bags, for instance. In June of 1908, a tea dealer by the name of Sullivan sent samples of teas to customers in small silk pouches. The customers didn’t understand what to do with the bags, and reputedly dunked them in hot water. Voila! Tea bags were invented! Thank you, Mr. Sullivan. You sure did make brewing tea on the go easier.
Even after making herbal medicine for decades, I’m still learning. That’s a good thing! Late last year, I was looking in my folder of formulas for my whipped body butter recipe to make for Christmas gifts. There are perhaps a couple hundred formulas that I’ve used and reworked over my years of making herbal medicine in that folder. I noticed that I had several versions of whipped body butter. Hmmmmb. They all looked good to me. One recipe called for adding beeswax. Huh. I don’t remember ever adding beeswax to a whipped body butter, but I thought I’d give it a shot, as I wanted a thicker, more-protective-for-winter body butter, and beeswax would surely accomplish that. I did what I know to do to make a fabulous whipped body butter. The beeswax and cocoa butter were melted and put in my trusty mid century Sears and Roebuck mixer bowl along with the unmelted shea, medicinal and essential oils. I turned on the mixer to medium, gradually turning up the speed to whip over a couple minutes as the melted oils incorporated with the unmelted shea. Whip, whip, whip went those beaters for 10 minutes, and no volume was created! Gah! Awesome/not awesome.
I don’t make the amount of medicinal oils anymore that I used to when I made products for sale. I make only what I will use in a year, to ensure not wasting plant material or oils, as medicinal oils will go rancid after a few months to a year. The thought of having to start over with the small amount of oils I had left was not in my plans. I threw caution, or perhaps my frugal nature, in the wind, and poured the resulting mixture into jars. After they cooled and solidified more, I tried some on my winter dry hands. Oh my word! It was THE best salve I have ever made, and that is really saying something. I handed jars out to my family for Christmas, and my oldest niece Beth says she’s obsessed with it.
If you’d like to make my uber moisturizing salve, follow the recipe below. Even though the volume didn’t expand, the next time I make this salve, I’ll still whip it for a few minutes to fully incorporate all the ingredients.
Extreme Skin Therapy
10 oz. shea butter
3.5 oz. medicinal oil, avocado, sesame, almond oils, etc. of choice
1 oz. cocoa butter
1.5 oz. beeswax
1 tsp rosemary extract or grapefruit seed oil
1 tsp essential oil of choice (optional)
Melt the beeswax in a saucepan, adding the cocoa butter when the beeswax is fully melted. When the cocoa butter is melted, take the pan off the heat, and add to the shea, medicinal oil, rosemary extract, and essential oils of choice in your mixer bowl. Whip for a few minutes, taking care to stop the mixer and scrape the bowl several times to make sure all the ingredients are fully mixed. If your salve is thin enough, it can be poured into jars. If it is on the thick side, and doesn’t pour well, spoon into a ziplock baggie, seal, clip off one corner, and squeeze into jars. Enjoy!
For my salve, I used calendula, wild raspberry, and wood violet medicinal oils, and sandalwood essential oil. To learn how to make a medicinal oil and more plant based remedies on your own, click here!