This is a wonderful, easy to make base salve recipe. A few added variations to ingredients keep it handy throughout the seasons. Include a little raw honey (vegan substitutes listed) and you’ll have a luxurious, moisturizing lip balm. Add a few drops of eucalyptus & peppermint essential oils, and you’ll make a soothing vapor chest rub. With extra vitamin e oil and vegetable glycerin, you can create a healing remedy for calloused summer gardeners hands.
Prep/cook Time: about 20 to 30 minutes
Makes: about 12-14, 2oz balm tins
Tools you will need:
2oz balm tins – sanitized
Ingredients For Base
3 tablespoons cocoa butter
3 tablespoons beeswax – try candelilla or bayberry wax as a vegan alternative
1/4 cup of apricot oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon raw honey – try aloe vera gel/juice as a vegan alternative
1/4 teaspoon vitamin e oil
1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
In a double boiler, on a medium-low heat, melt together cocoa butter and beeswax. The amounts called for in this recipe are small enough that if you only have large pieces of cocoa butter/beeswax (as I often do because I buy from a local bulk supplier or at the farmers market) you should be able to easily shave off the amount needed for this recipe with a sharp knife. Another option would be prepackaged which offer smaller pellet sizes. Once evenly melted, add in apricot & coconut oil, continue to melt until all is fully liquid.
In a side dish, dilute vegetable glycerin, honey, and vitamin e oil together. If making a vapor rub or adding in any additional essential oils, include them in this step. For example, when making a eucalyptus & peppermint vapor rub (I like to make it a bit stronger) I add a full dropper of each essential oil (about 15-20 drops each).
Turn heat off on double boiler, then pour in vegetable glycerin mix (you can transfer the liquid best by using a silicon spatula). Remove bowl/top off of the double boiler, pour mixture into a Pyrex glass measuring cup. I like to keep the pyrex warm (keeping liquid melted) so one option is to place the pyrex in the pot of hot water to warm it up, or two- simply use the pyrex instead of the bowl to melt everything in.
Line up tins on a cookie sheet or something similar (to catch any spillage) and slowly pour liquid into each tin, filling up just below the top of the tin line. Let stand to cool for about 10 minutes then cap and seal.
Western Nutrient Information:
Coconut oil is a proven excellent example as a topical plant oil for protecting and nourishing the skin. It consists of anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-fungal agents. Cold-pressed coconut oil has greater nutrient properties and is recommended over refined, because cold-pressing procedure does not involve heating or chemical treatments which may alter the therapeutic effects of plant based oils. The potential beneficial effects of topically applied coconut oil on skin pathology are: skin barrier repair, anti-bacterial effect, anti-inflammatory effect, antioxidant effect, wound healing (through faster epithelization) and reduced premature skin aging (as coconut oil resists 20% of UV rays). Coconut oil has a sweet and delicate aroma which is an added benefit to its presence as an ingredient in natural skin care. Coconut oil keeps best in cool, dark places.
Vitamin e oil is shown to walk back the effects of solar radiation as a free radical scavenger. In other words, it’s an anti-oxidant substance that protects cells damaged by free radicals (unstable molecules) which build up damaging other molecules in the body, potentially resulting in cancer and other diseases. It is a frequent ingredient in anti aging skin care products, attributed to its anti-oxidant properties. Vitamin e oil is also commonly used to treat burns and scars, although some studies point out that this may not be as effective a use as previously thought.
Eastern Energetic Information:
Cocoa butter is warm in thermal nature, tonifies Yang (the fire of the body), counteracts Cold in the body, and promotes Blood circulation. Coconut oil is warm in temperature, and tonifies Blood and Qi. There is no word in the English language that can fully communicate the meaning of Qi. One way to describe Qi is as an energetic flowing movement. Author, Qigong teacher & nutritionist, Daverick Leggett, may bring greater understanding to the meaning of Qi by stating “the word Qi is an attempt to name the subtle realm of vibration which is the source and true nature of existence.”
Bayberry is warm in thermal nature, promotes Qi and Blood circulation and counteracts Cold in the body.
Apricot is neutral in thermal nature and tonifies Yin (the water of the body) and Blood. Blood is similar to Qi in that it circulates in the body, nourishing the tissues, but it is considered to be much more dense than Qi, and it is circulated by the strength or power of Qi.
Honey is neutral in temperature, tonifies Yin and Qi. Honey also promotes Blood circulation and removes Toxins. Bees are matriarchal. Energetically speaking – their creations of honey, wax & royal jelly, are all sweet, nourishing, and neutral in temperature, tonify Yin (feminine and moistening), Qi (energy), and Jing (essence). Jing is an inanimate physical substance that can support life through conservation (avoiding that which depletes us) and nourishment (accumulated through quality food/drink/air).
Aloe is cold in thermal nature and counteracts heat in the body. Vitamin e is warm in thermal nature and tonifies Blood and Yang.
Daverick, Jane. Drake, Victoria J. An Evidence-Based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals. 2nd Edition. Georg Thieme Verlag. Stuttgart, Germany. 2012.
Leggett, Daverick. Helping Ourselves. A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics. Fully revised and expanded edition. Meridian Press. Totnes, England. 2005.
Leggett, Daverick. Recipes for Self- Healing. Meridian Press. Totnes, England. 2014.
Pitchford, Paul. Healing With Whole Foods. Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. Third Edition. North Atlantic Books. Berkley, California. 2002.
Tierra, Lesley, L.Ac., Herbalist, A.H.G. Healing With The Herbs Of Life. Hundreds of herbal remedies, therapies & preparations. Crossing Press. Berkley, CA. 2003
Wood, Rebecca. The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia. Fully revised & updated. Penguin Books. New York City, NY. 2010.
Always consult with your health care practitioner before using herbal products. It is recommended by herbalists that you apply herbal based products on a small area of your skin to test for a reaction before using all over. For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.