Applications such as lotions, creams, ointments and liniments have been used for thousands of years to treat rashes, wounds, skin conditions as well as bruising, sprains and muscle spasms.
It is very empowering and rewarding to be able to prepare your external preparations when the need arises.
Our skin secretes a mixture of oil and water to protect itself so preparations applied to the skin are better absorbed if they are also a mixture of oil and water (Adams & Tan, 2006).
We need to be aware however that oil and water don’t readily mix so our external preparations need an emulsifier or emulsifying agent to keep the oil and water combined. In effect they’ll sit in suspension together but won’t actually mix (i.e. one is dispersed as small particles throughout the other). Take mayonnaise as an example – we combine oil, vinegar and mustard and use an egg yolk as an emulsifier. The egg yolk allows the oil to be dispersed and stay suspended as tiny droplets in the vinegar.
Lotions, Creams and Liniments can all be made by emulsions. Both the oil and aqueous phase can be made therapeutic with specific herbs to maximise the action you want to achieve.
(reference: Adams & Tan, 2006, “Herbal Manufacturing” pg 80 & 81)
Creams are useful in the treatment of wounds to help them heal and keep them free of infection. We also use creams for sprains and bruises, burns, bites and stings. Creams are also great for skin complaints such as eczema, herpes and tinea etc as well as for dry skin, as they have the ability to keep skin moist by “trapping” moisture in the skin They are made by mixing oil (infused oils are good) and a herbal extract (eg infusion, decoction, tincture) together with an emulsifier. Coconut oil is often the main ingredient of an emulsifying wax which will emulsify both water in oil and oil in water.
Basic Cream Recipe
15 gm emulsifying wax
25 ml infused oil
12 ml glycerine
5 ml herbal tincture
45 ml distilled water
Step 1: Heat the wax and oil over a water bath to combine
Step 2: Warm the herbal extract, water and glycerine also over a water bath to same temperature as the oil and wax mixture.
Step 3: Slowly add 2 to 1 stirring to maintain the emulsion until set.
NB Adding the aqueous phase gradually to the oil-wax mixture allows some control over the consistency of the cream. When the desired consistency is reached, stop adding the watery mixture. The cream may slightly thicken as it cools.
The addition of lavender essential oil (or any other essential oil) gives the cream a pleasant smell and helps with preservation. Essential oils are usually added to creams at a concentration of up to 5%.
The Quick And Easy Way To Make A Medicated Cream
Adding herbal extracts to an unmedicated cream base like Vitamin E cream or Vegesorb is very quick and easy.
Herbal tinctures are generally added to the base cream at a concentration of 10-20%. Essential oils can be at added at a concentration of between 1 – 5%
Great Herbs To Use For Therapeutic Creams
Generally creams are used for soothing and healing and so are often made from herbs like:
Marigold flowers(Calendula officinalis), Arnica flowers (Arnica Montana), Chickweed (Stellaria media), Comfrey root or leaves (Symphytyum officinale, St John’s wort flowers (Hypericum perforatum), Lemon Balm leaves (Melissa officinalis).
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MAKE CREAMS AND OINTMENTS AND WHICH HERBS TO USE THERAPEUTICALLY FOR WHICH COMPLAINTS MAKE SURE YOU DON’T MISS OUR KITCHEN PHARMACY DAY…
You Are Invited To Our Kitchen Pharmacy
Free In-Store Day
Saturday 5th April 9am-1pm
Mammoth Health’s Kitchen Pharmacy Day will show you how to manufacture simple herbal preparations that you can use on yourself and your family for common everyday complaints.
We are very excited about the day and hope you can join us in-store on the day. There’s no need to book, just turn up on the day. For more information on the workshops we are holding Click Here
“BECAUSE IT’S NOT A REHEARSAL”
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