Home Remedies for Spring!
Springtime finds us enjoying much more time outdoors; however that also means bug bites, scrapes, cuts, and probably a few bruises, too! In this article, I’d like to show you how to make your own all natural Bug Repellant and Calendula Salve— you’ll be back outside enjoying the season in no time! If you’re like me, you love the outdoors, but bugs, especially lots of bugs, can steal the fun and send me right back inside! Commercial bug repellants are chock full of toxins – not exactly what I want soaking into my skin or my family’s – so, I make my own! It’s easy, and it works great! Let’s make a batch!
Mama’s Bug-Be-Gone Spray
Here are the components you will need to make what I call “Mama’s Bug-Be-Gone Spray”: One six to eight ounce previously unused sprayer bottle, one small funnel, witch hazel, lemongrass essential oil, geranium essential oil, citronella essential oil.
Insert the funnel into the empty spray bottle and fill with witch hazel, leaving one inch headspace. Then add approximately twenty-five drops each of citronella essential oil and lemongrass essential oil, plus approximately fifteen drops of geranium essential oil. Remove the funnel and set it aside for cleaning, replace the sprayer cap, shake the bottle, and it is ready to use!
I recommend trying the spray on a small patch of your own skin first, testing for any allergic reactions, while being careful not to spray this (or rub this) near your eyes. You can find sprayer bottles and witch hazel at any drug store. Essential oils are available from Mountain Rose Herbs: http://www.mountainroseherbs.com. I make up a little label with the recipe on it and place it right on the bottle so anyone can know what’s in it, and make it if they wish to do so.
Mama’s Calendula Salve
Of course, if you spend any length of time in the outdoors, you’re bound to end up with scratches, cuts, bruises, chapped lips, dry skin, rashes, and bug bites – if you don’t make and use Mama’s Bug Be Gone Spray! So, having an all purpose salve on hand is essential! I keep this salve made up and on hand year round, and if anyone in the family has any type of ailment you might hear us say, “Get some salve on it!” Calendula has amazing healing properties and is even great on sensitive skin, so let’s gather up our supplies make some of this wonderful healing salve! Here’s what you’ll need in order to make “Mama’s Calendula Salve”: One quarter cup dried calendula petals, one-half cup extra virgin olive oil, one eighth cup grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles, thirty drops lavender essential oil, cheesecloth, heavy pot and spoon, measuring cup, rubber band, Crock-Pot (paper coffee filters and canning jars, too, depending on preference and on which way you choose to make your salve.
I have made this salve for years, and done some variations (sometimes adding in a handful of plantain leaf, comfrey, or lavender buds, and sometimes amending the preparation method, too. I obtain most of my essential oils at Mountain Rose Herbs: http://www.mountainroseherbs.com. If I have not grown my own herbs, I will get them at Mountain Rose or at More Than Alive: http://www.morethanalive.com. I most often make my salve using solar infusion. I will put olive oil and calendula petals in a canning jar, put the lid on and set in out in the hot afternoon sun. However, there have been times where I’ve run out and need to make a batch faster, or there is no “hot afternoon sun” as sometimes happens here in the Pacific Northwest. In that case I will put my olive oil and calendula petals in a small Crock-Pot and heat on low for approximately three hours.
When either of these processes is complete, I will generally use a canning jar covered with an inverted paper coffee filter, secured with the canning jar band, and slowly pour the infusion in, straining out the calendula petals. I prefer this method for smaller batches, because there is less mess. If I am doing a larger batch, I lay cheesecloth over the top of a glass measuring cup (I use a four-cup Pyrex measure that has a very wide mouth) and secure the cheesecloth with a rubber band. Then I slowly pour the olive oil through the cheesecloth so the petals are caught on top and the oil filters through into the measuring cup.
Next I pour my strained oil into a heavy saucepan and turn the heat on low. I add the beeswax and stir occasionally until melted. Once the beeswax is completely melted, I remove the saucepan from the heat and add the essential oil(s), stirring to distribute these throughout the mixture. Then I pour the mixture into a clean container (I use small tins for carrying in a purse or backpack or inclusion in a first-aid kit, and larger canning jars for general use around the house. I leave it uncovered until completely cooled, label and cap it. Prepared and stored properly it will last upwards of a year – if it doesn’t get used up faster! Just rub on as needed!
- Written by Lisa Barthuly