If you've been reading our blog for awhile, you probably already know that I am a HUGE fan of winter. I love everything about it ... the snow, the quiet, the deadness of everything around me, colorful sweaters, snuggles under heaps of blankets, hot tea, movie marathons ... But this past winter was a really harsh one, even for me. I suffered from the worst winter rash imaginable. The itchiness made it hard to fall asleep, and when I finally go to sleep, I wake up in a couple of hours, itchy and unable to fall back to sleep. I scratched, and scratched, and scratched, and I scratched some more. Needless to say, I was a zombie for much of this winter.
Two things became essential to my survival: Mustela balm (thanks, Gillian!), and sea buckthorn oil. Both of these were expensive purchases, considering I would go through one tube/bottle every fortnight. Now that spring is officially here (and hopefully here to stay), I can ease up on my purchases and start making my own infused oils.
Last summer, Zach and I planted 2 boxes of calendula, and I saved the petals off of almost every flower. I was going to make myself some salve, but I kept dragging my heel on that project because I wasn't looking forward to working with beeswax. Making an infused oil is technically the first step to making salve. All you need to do, is to fill a sterilized jar halfway with whatever herbs you are using, and then fill it up with your choice of oil. The possibilities are endless, though you'll want to make sure you pick a rich oil that doesn't go rancid easily.
Here's what I did ...
I gathered the 2 containers of dried calendula petals and combined them in a mason jar (quart size), and used sweet almond oil for the infusion.
You set your jars in a sunny (but not hot) spot for up to 3 weeks, then you strain and bottle.
For my second jar, I used a combination of dried lavender and chamomile in olive oil.
I can't wait to try them out! If these work for my itchy skin troubles, we're definitely growing more calendula and lavender in the garden this year!
p.s. if you'd like more in-depth instructions, visit this site.