Soothing Skin Cream
Soothing Skin Cream
Made a lovely soft soothing skin cream on Saturday. Having made ointments and balms before for different ailments I decided to try my hand at making an around cream for the skin. The herbs I chose to blend together were Comfrey, Marshmallow and Plantain.
Comfrey: (Commonly called Knitbone – a reference to its use in healing fractures) Comfrey contains allantoin, a substance known to aid granulation and cell formation . . . which is what the healing process is all about. It is high in Calcium and Vitamin C and simulates healing activity. In folk medicine it was referred to as “knitbone” for its ability to speed wound healing. Externally, it is said to be anti-inflammatory and speed wound healing due to its natural concentration of the allantoin compound. Comfrey cream can be applied to the skin to help with ulcers, wounds, joint inflammation, bruises, rheumatoid arthritis, swollen veins (phlebitis), gout, and fractures.
Marshmallow: References to Marshmallow root as a healing herb are found in Homer’s Iliad, written over 2,800 years ago. It has a soothing effect due to its high mucilaginous content. It also is renowned for its anti-inflammatory actions therefore Marshmallow root is added to creams and used to treat inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema and contact dermatitis. Marshmallow works as mucilage, producing a thick sticky substance that coats membranes. Marshmallow extract contains flavonoids, which contain anti-inflammatory properties. The flavonoids are able to reduce inflammation while the mucilage holds them in place and prevents further damage. The extracts also induce phagocytosis, which is the process in which certain cells engulf bacteria, dead cell tissues or other solid particles. This helps speed up the healing process.
Plantain: This herb is used as a vulnerary to heal wounds, cuts and scratches. It can be applied to a wound to stop minor bleeding. It is very soothing and cooling as it heals. James Duke in his book “The Green Pharmacy” explains that Plantain has been one of the most popular folk remedies for burns on the skin. Plantain does an excellent job as a deobstruent- removing (Drawing out) foreign objects and particles from the body. Plantain’s refrigerant qualities soothe and cool sores and ulcers. Studies have shown that plantain has anti-inflammatory effects, and it is also rich in tannin which helps draw tissues together to stop bleeding and allantoin a compound that promotes healing of injured skin cells. It can be applied topically to swollen joints, sore muscles, sprains, and sore feet.
How to make the Cream
I first made an infused oil of Plantain & Comfrey. To do this I used the ‘hot method’. In a glass bowl I covered the dried herbs with olive oil and heated it for two hours in a double boiler. This way the heat from the steam indirectly heats the oil.
While the herbs and the oil were infusing I then made a decoction in water of Marshmallow Root. A decoction is like an infused tea but this method is used mainly for roots and barks to extract their medicinal properties and the longer you leave it simmer the stronger the decoction.
Once both preparations were ready they were strained through a muslin cloth to leave only the liquids.
Next step was to mix both. As oil and water don’t mix I had to use an emulsifying agent- bee’s wax, to help combine both. First I add some essential oils of lavender, tea tree and myrrh to the infused oil.
Again the infused oil was placed in the double boiler and the bees wax added, it was heated until all the wax melted. Then using a blender, the herbal oil mix was blended and as it was been blended, the decoction was slowly added. The more decoction that was added the creamier the mixture became.
Once the right texture was achieved the herbal cream was transferred to clean air-tight jars for storage in the fridge. Once kept in the fridge you can last up to a year.
This cream could be used on most skin conditions to help soothe and heal them