Tag Archives: Essential oil

Making Magnesium Lotion

2016-10-22-15-26-39I find that using Magnesium Oil can sting, but transdermal -topical-  magnesium chloride is essential to avoiding restless leg or spasms from Parkinson’s.  It is also good for arthritis, morning sickness, anxiety, headaches, diabetes, hypertension, insomnia and many more conditions including some 300 internal cellular reactions.  It used to be in food, but levels have plummeted according to USDA data. It just isn’t that easy to absorb magnesium from supplements, especially if our digestion is impaired or as we age.    So I make magnesium lotion.

To make magnesium lotion most simply I whip up shea butter with magnesium oil that I have made in a strong solution (1 cup magnesium chloride flakes to 1/3 cup water) or commercially available magnesium oil.  I put a cup of shea butter in a double boiler and melt it on low heat.  I add a teaspoon of soy lecithin from the health food store to help it emulsify, pour in the magnesium oil to warm it up, let sit off of the heat for about 15-20 minutes, then whip it in a blender or mixing bowl.  Using the mixer incorporates more air and makes it softer.

However since I am using the magnesium for an orthopedic condition (and really because I like to play with herbs and oils) I usually make up a more complex lotion.  To do this you will need:

  • 1/2 c. double-strength magnesium oil (1 c. magnesium chloride flakes + 1/2 c. water)
  • 2 tbsp. MSM salts
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. unrefined shea butter
  • 2 tbsp. beeswax
  • 1/2 cup arnica or calendula flowers
  • 10 drops of an anti-inflammatory essential oil like German chamomile, turmeric, frankincense or ginger

The equipment you will need are:

  • Measuring cups and measuring spoons
  • A fine strainer, preferably conical
  • A double boiler or saucepan in a water-filled frying pan
  • A blender (immersion type okay) or mixing bowl
  • A spatula
  • Jars for your lotion

Heat your water with the magnesium chloride flakes and MSM salts until dissolved.  Remove from heat.

2016-10-22-15-18-51Add your shea butter, lecithin, coconut oil and beeswax to the top of the double boiler and melt.  When it first melts you can add in your optional calendula or arnica flowers and let them infuse for 20 minutes over low heat.  Add back the magnesium mix to bring it to the same temperature.  Strain into a mixing bowl, blender or bowl for your immersion blender.  Let cool 20 minutes, then mix or blend until emulsified.

Before you add in your essential oils which can be damaged by heat, take a sample of the cream and stick it in the fridge so it can cool to room temperature.  If you like the consistency, add the essential oils.  If it is too soft (especially in summer when coconut oil is liquid) put back in the double boiler and add a little more beeswax.  If too hard you can use a little more shea butter or an infused oil.  Let cool and re-emulsify, then add the essential oils at the end.

You can use a marble sized dollop of this before bed.  I like to use it on my feet and legs, lower back or stomach, or anywhere the skin is thin. For small children, a pea-sized dollop will do.

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Making Your Own Tiger Balm

Salve ingredientsAs a little girl I loved it when my parents would rub Vick’s Vapor Rub into my chest.  Eventhough my father claimed it was just a placebo, I still insisted he rub it over my congested chest.  I knew it worked, long before the advent of nicotine patches which blasted away the idea that topical medications were ineffective.

Later I graduated to Tiger Balm, especially the red version, redolent of cinnamon and resinous infused oils.  This worked not only on my chest, but also soothed sore muscles.  I also played with the oil versions of Tiger Balm and Po Sum On oil.  And while I prefer the absorption of oils for most muscle pain, there is much to be said for a salve that continuously leaks essential  oils through the skin.  The salve is also less likely to spill and easier to travel with.

The commercial Tiger Balm is made with petroleum jelly and paraffin wax to which essential oils are added.  Different formulations of Tiger Balm have the following essential oils:


Red – Extra Strength

White – Regular Strength

Liniment

Presentation

Balm

18 gram glass jar
(in carton)

Balm

18 gram glass jar
(in carton)

Oil

28 mL glass bottle
(in carton)

Composition

 

 

 

Camphor

11%

11%

9%

Cajuput Oil

7%

13%

7%

Menthol

10%

8%

10%

Clove Bud Oil

5%

1.5%

5%

Mint Oil

6%

16%

6%

Cassia Oil

5%

 0%

 0%

 

I have formulated a salve that lacks the petroleum jelly of commercial salves and can be customized with essential oils for a variety of  uses.  I use coconut oil as a base for its many healing effects and pleasant odor, hardened with beeswax.

To make your salve you will need a stainless steel pan, a wooden spoon, and some containers.  I like to use 2 oz or 4 oz tins or old body butter containers.  Determine how many ounces your containers can take, and adjust the weight of the coconut oil and beeswax accordingly, preserving the proportions.  For instance for three 2 oz containers (6 ounces) you will use 4 ounces of coconut oil and 2 ounces of beeswax.

I use a good virgin coconut oil from the health food store and organic beeswax.  While the beeswax may come in bars, it is easier to melt a shaved  or pelleted version.

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts coconut oil
  • 1 part beeswax
  • Essential oil of white camphor:  5 drops/ounce
  • Essential oil of peppermint: 5 drops/ounce
  • Essential oil of eucalyptus or lemon eucalyptus: 8 drops/ounce
  • Essential oil of cinnamon:  3 drops/ounce

Melt the beeswax and coconut oil over low heat in a stainless steel pan.  Do not burn the oil.  When melted, remove from heat, cool a bit and mix in the essential oils.  The essential oils are volatile and you don’t want to lose them.  Put the container in the refrigerator and it should harden in 15 minutes.  If too soft, remelt and add a little more beeswax.  If too hard (and keep in mind that coconut oil will liquify at 76 degrees) add a little more coconut oil.  If you remelt you may lose some of the punch of the essential oils, so you may need to add more.

Choose essential oils that are good for the condition you are treating.  For instance, if you have a child with asthma, you may elect to use an anti-inflammatory oil like German chamomile along with eucalyptus, clove, mint and camphor.  If you have arthritis that gets worse with cold, you may elect to warm it up with more cinnamon and frankincense.  If you have dry skin with an angry hot rash, you may want to add peppermint, German chamomile and calendula.  Other essential oils that can be useful include tea tree,  myrrh, rosemary and thyme.  You can also substitute infused oils like St. Johnswort, calendula, arnica or poplar bud for a third of the coconut oil.  Don’t be afraid to play with it to suit your family’s needs!

Tiger-balm-s
Tiger-balm-s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

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