Daisies on lawns and nettles in hedgerows are readily available during lockdown to pick and utilise in this balm making recipe. You can use it to rub into bruises and bumps and nourish sore, dry skin on yourself and on those little ones that may be around you for 24/7 currently. If that's the case, they can easily get involved in making this!
Daisy & Nettle Balm and Melt
So, this has to be the easiest balm recipe I think you will ever find.
Its designed to be 'Lockdown friendly' and the only things you need are a pot of coconut oil - ideally organic and virgin – but just use what you have available and some flowers and herbs from your garden, local hedgerow or park, (but do take care to avoid contamination from pesticides, herbicides and dog poo) and a few drops of essential oil if required.
Coconut oil and dried herbs
Usually, I make our balms using beeswax or a vegan wax and just use shea butter with oils to make body butters, but these aren’t so simple and quick to make and harder to remelt if things go wrong or it hardens too quickly. Beeswax can be tricky to work with at home (especially with little ones) and can prove challenging to clean off utensils.
I’ve chosen daisies and nettles as they are easy to come by this time of year. Daisies have long been recognised to reduce bruising and nettles are a wonderful anti-inflammatory herb that we use in our muscle and joint rubs in the clinic.
You could use so many other herbs available in spring including:
- Peppermint leaves – with peppermint or lavender essential oil to reduce inflammation and encourage micro-circulatory improvement. Nice for feet at bedtime too!
- Lemon balm leaves - with tea tree essential oil for antimicrobial actions Good for shingles, herpes and wounds.
- Thyme leaves– with some eucalyptus essential oil could make a nice chest rub to eaae breathing and congestion. Or put a little around your nostrils to reduce pollen inhalation with hay fever.
Pick daisies and nettle leaves (wear gloves).
About 30 daisies and 20 nettle leaves is plenty – or more but this is a rough idea.
Dry them in the airing cupboard, a warm, dry dark space or use a dehydrator if you happen to have one. It's important not to dry them too quickly or they will lose their constituents.
- 200g coconut oil
- dried herbs / flowers
- clean metal or glass bowl and pan with water to make a bain-marie
- clean spoons / spatula
- 40 drops – 2 ml of essential oil or less or none – as required
- clean jars with lids – allowing extra volume if you whisk the oil to make a butter) as the volume will increase by about 20%)
- (electric hand whisk) – optional for final stage
- Put 200g coconut oil into a metal or glass bowl or jug that can sit over a pan of water to make a bain-marie.
Very slowly warm this and add the dried leaves and flowers. Macerate the herbs to increase their surface area and ensure they are submerged.
- Allow them to gently infuse into the oil for a couple of hours – checking the pan doesn’t dry of water.
- Remove from heat.
- Use a sieve to filter the majority of the plant matter from the warm oil.
- Repeat with finer filter – or a paper coffee filter of fine cloth.
Finished mix ready to be poured into jars
- Add a maximum of 40 drops of lavender essential oil (or another to your preference) to your melted infused oil, mix and then pour into a jar(s) immediately. (20 drops =1 ml and we can add 2 ml to this mixture)
As we have only used coconut oil you may need to cool this in the fridge and remember it will melt very quickly.
To make a creamy melt or body butter:
This additional, final technique will make the oil become less dense and gives it a creamier texture.
To enhance the texture and make it more ‘cream like’
- Allow the final mixture to partially solidify in the fridge – the edges will be solid and the centre still runny (if too solid it will remelt very easily by gently warming the bowl or jug over the pan of warm water).
- Mix the hard edges and soft parts together with a clean spoon then use an electric hand blender to introduce some air, the mix will lighten and become less dense – like a thick mousse.
Mixture being whisked turning lighter and thicker
- Pour / scoop into a jar with a spoon and tap the base and keeping the jar level and on a surface gently move side to side (shake) to level the top.
- Leave no waste, with left over whisked mix. Gently remelt over a bowl of warm water, the solid parts will quickly liquify and immediately pour into a jar.
- You may need to place in a fridge to harden off if the room is warm.
Once you get the hang of making the balms you can adapt them to your needs.
Lumpy surface to balm ?
This usually happens in the fridge (see top left in photo) so if you are patient you'll get a better finish leaving them out overnight to solidify or, you can retain a small amount of balm, remelt and pour a thin layer over the rough surface and leave to cool at room temperature (pictured - bottom jar)
Lumpy surface to whisked butter?
Use the back of a warm, clean teaspoon to smooth over surface and wipe edges with kitchen roll (top right in photo)
(NB coconut oil always does have a more irregular surface than a wax/ oil blend)