Tuesday, May 7, 2013

garden herbs for healthy skin

My natural inclination is to work with bare hands in the garden, free of the encumbrance of gloves, but my hands can really take a beating. Soil can be drying and abrasive, leaving my skin feeling pretty parched.

This week I felt inspired to finally try making my own healing lotion with home grown herbs. It was a little bit experimental, and I didn't have any particular expectations, but in the end I am beyond happy with the outcome!

I chose fresh calendula, lavender we harvested and dried last summer and fresh elder flowers.

Calendula is supportive to the treatment of almost any kind of skin irritation. It can be used to disinfect and treat minor wounds, conjunctivitis, cuts, scrapes, chapped or chafed  skin, bruises, burns, athlete’s foot, acne, yeast infections, bee stings, diaper rashes, and other minor irritations and infections of the skin.

Lavender has antiseptic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is both soothing and stimulating, and is a great tonic for all skin types.

Elderflower has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, and is also a soothing, supportive tonic for all skin types, particularly mature skin.

I combined the herbs and added organic olive oil to them. I slowly heated the herb and oil mixture over the course of a few hours, to infuse the oil with the healing properties of the herbs.

I then added a bit of beeswax, a calendula infusion, witch hazel and essential oil, and blended the ingredients together until I reached my desired consistency.

It was a rather long, yet very simple process, and in the end it felt a bit like magic. I have been rubbing this cream into my dry skin for the last few days and have been enjoying it so much. It feels like such a luxury! There is something especially satisfying knowing exactly where everything came from, and having harvested the herbs right from our gardens.

My excitement over this project prompted Steven to plant a huge row of calendula, echinacea and sage this weekend, and over dinner tonight we read up on medicinal herbs we would like to start adding to our landscape.

(For anyone interested, I have provided more detailed steps of my process on my blog.)

As you know, it is so rewarding to feed ourselves from our gardens. For me, to also heal and nurture the body in more deliberate, medicinal ways creates a satisfaction on an even deeper level.

Do you grow any herbs for specific, healing purposes? I'd love to know! 


  1. This looks divine. I've never grown anything like this, but just found a copy of The Herb Book at a library sale for $1. Once I'm able to have a garden, I can't wait to experiment with medicinal plants!

  2. wow! abby, i plan on trying this. what a fantastic recipe!

  3. I have several medicinal herbs started this year, as this winter I did a lot of reading and watching videos about herbal medicine. Rosemary Gladstar's books and videos, in particular. It is all fascinating to me- and I know what you mean about the lotion. I made my first lotion about a month ago, and have ben enjoying it ever since.

  4. Knowing each ingredient in the lotion you are putting on your body is a definite benefit, and it looks beautiful.

  5. Which ingredient brought about that nice white emulsion? The steeped oil is such a different colour from the end product and beeswax is not white so I'd love to know what made it turn white and creamy.

    1. Hi, I think it really comes down to the blending. I don't quite know why, but when you blend or whip oil, it turns white and becomes creamy (think of mayonnaise). Between the photo of the strained oil, and the finished product, I added wax and then liquids. It was the blending action that really brought about the transformation.

  6. Wonderful blog and post. I am glad i came across your site.
    I will incorporate elder flower in my cream recipe next time as it is in full flower here in Asturias, Northern Spain.

  7. Great post! These tips are very useful for maintaining skin. I will surely follow these tips. Thanks for sharing with site visitors.
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