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How-To

How to Make a Moisturizing Herbal Balm

An easy-to-make gift idea from the garden

After the long gardening season begins to come to a close, and the cool season begins to set in, many a gardener may look down to find that their hands have taken the brunt of abuse from all that digging, plucking, pruning, and harvesting. Fall is a great time to not only harvest and dry herbs and flowers, but also to begin crafting items with them. In this video,  you’ll learn how to make a moisturizing herbal balm from the garden with senior editor Danielle Sherry. This easy-to-follow recipe results in a wonderfully fragrant salve that makes a great gift for yourself, a friend, or a family member. What’s better, you can modify it using your own favorite herbs. To start, you’ll need to harvest and dry your herbs. Once that’s done, you’re ready to begin making your balm!

To read more about this process, and see step-by-step instructions for making an herbal balm, see “Heal Your Hands with Herbal Balms” from Fine Gardening issue #130.

To a diehard gardener, rough, beaten hands are a badge of honor. But by the time fall rolls around, enough is enough. The garden is put to bed, and your body is tired. It’s time to rejuvenate, and what better way to soothe your battered skin and chapped lips than with a homemade herbal balm scented with herbs from your garden? Read more.

 

How to Make a Moisturizing Herbal Balm

 

Materials Needed

  • About ½ to 1 cup of your favorite dried herb. In the video, Danielle uses lemon verbena. The more you use, the more fragrant the balm will be.
  • 2 cups of olive oil
  • Double boiler
  • Something to stir with
  • Strainer
  • About 1 cup of beeswax
  • A cheese grater (nice to have but not required)
  • Glass jars (recommended: something short with a wide top so it’s easier to access your balm)

 

Instructions

1. Gently heat the olive oil and herbs in the top of a double boiler over simmering water for about 15 minutes. For this batch, we’re using dried lavender and chamomile.

2. Strain the oil into a small bowl, and discard the herbs. Return the oil to the double boiler.

3. Add the essential oil. Lavender oil will give this blend a pungent kick. The oil you choose, however, doesn’t have to match your herb.

4. Melt the beeswax in the oil mixture until it disappears completely. Grating
the beeswax first makes this step lightning fast.

5. Test the consistency by dipping a spoon into the mixture and letting it set away from the heat for a few minutes. If it’s too soft, add more beeswax; if it’s too hard, add more olive oil.

6. Pour the warm balm into clean jars, and let it harden. Cap the jars after the balm has cooled. Enjoy!

 

Note: It only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to make your herbal balm, but it will need to sit for a little while in order to harden. If you’re giving a gift, plan to make your balm at least a day in advance.

 

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