My brother (hi) has eczema, and during the winter months, the cold and dry heat inside irritate it. The only cream he could find that works for him smells old lady-ish. At least, that is what I've heard. So I thought, being the nice sister that I am, and because he picked Simon up at the airport after midnight, I would try to make something for him.
Here is the basic recipe: sesame oil, dried calendula flowers, beeswax. Here is why it works: sesame oil (raw, NOT toasted unless you really really want to smell like stirfry) is the most readily absorbed and utilised oil because it is closest to the oil our skin naturally produces. Calendula is great for soothing and healing skin. Beeswax will make it form a thicker, more body butter-like consistency.
What to do:
In a small pot, I poured 16oz organic sesame oil over dried calendula flowers. Through out the day, I would gently heat the oil, then turn the heat off and let it steep. If you have a crock pot, you could probably leave it on its lowest setting. The point is to keep the oil warm, but not to overheat it and cook your calendula. I then let it sit overnight. After a good, long steeping, I strained the oil. Keep the calendula flowers, though, and you can add them to your bath.
In a double-boiler (or, in my case, a small pot in a larger one), melt around 4oz of beeswax. The general rule of thumb for making salves is a 4:1 oil to wax ratio. This works for home made beeswax wood polish, too, for the record. Simply use mineral oil instead of calendula-infused sesame. No magic here.
Once the wax is liquified, pour in your oil and stir them together. If your oil is cooler than the wax, it may look streaky. This is fine, just keep stirring them together until the wax re-dissolves. At this point, you can add essential oils as well, if you like the smell or for additional medicinal properties. I didn't for this, though. Once everything is clear, carefully pour or scoop your salve into clean containers. I recommend using heavy glass or metal containers. Let the salve sit for a few minutes, and it will harden up.
That's it. This was a large batch as I made enough for my brother and our family. You can make it in much smaller batches, as long as you follow the 4:1 oil to wax ratio. And you can infuse different oils with different herbs and essential oils to make salves for various purposes (healing with comfrey/borage/calendula/vit e, cleansing with tea tree/lavender, clearing with mint, warming with cinnamon, arthritic treatment with cayenne, etc). Just so you know, this particular mixture smells a little funky as you apply it, but the smell disappears within five minutes, leaving only the beeswax scent behind. We use it for elbows and lip balm and Ana's hands and feet that are prone to cracking. If you do make large batches, you should keep the pot(s) you aren't using in the fridge so the oil doesn't go rancid. I don't think it happens too quickly, but better to be safe after your effort! The one in use we always keep out so it stays soft for easy use.
I love learning to make simple things like this to help care for those I love. I hope this was helpful-- I wanted to share it because I was so tickled to learn how easy this is myself.