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HOME-MADE HERBAL CREAMS

In a world full of antibiotics and sulphur-based drugs and creams it is easy to overlook the simplicity and effectiveness of Herbal Creams and Ointments.  I love dealing with skin complaints and conditions such as ulcers, dermatitis and eczema, which all respond superbly to an ointment containing a base of the mineral Zinc.  Plant extract ointments have a sound place in the healing of deep wounds such as ulceration as they promote the granulation of the wound which means that the tissue dowin in the base of the wound is able to "fill up" in the wound as it is healing, followed by new skin growth at the upper level.  The zinc component of an ointment will aid healing, relieve itching and help prevent scaring.

If you are dealing with a leg ulcer or deep wound you would be advised to seek the advice of your Health Practitioner as these require specialist attention, not home first-aid, mainly in order to avoid infection or further inflammation which can result in dangerous consequences. 

Always ensure you clean any wound thoroughly before applying an ointment or cream.

For all of these creams you need a base and what you use is up to you and how "natural" you want to go and how much money you wish to spend but suggestions are about 100g of any of the following preferably non-petroleum based:

  • Sorbelene (with or without glycerine)
  • Aqueous cream
  • QV cream for sensitive skins
  • Paw-paw ointment
  • Moo-goo for dermatitis or eczema
  • Vitamin A cream
  • Vitamin E cream
  • Zinc oxide cream

To this jar of base ointment you can add Vitamin E oil (if not already using Vitamin E cream as your base), you can just prick an end of 3 capsules and squeeze the oil out (100iu strength capsules will do).  Add about half a teaspoon of zinc oxide powder and stir the whole lot together till well combined.

 Avoid dipping your fingers into the cream, or getting any water or other contaminant into the cream as this may cause bacteria and mould to grow.  Use a cotton bud or sterile tongue-depressors or similar to stir and apply to affected areas.  I suggest therefore that you follow the following technique when formulating creams:

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water and dry thoroughly before using the cream
  • Use a cotton bud or sterile tongue-depressors or similar sterile instrument to take cream from the jar and transfer to a sterilised container and when applying cream from jar to affected areas
  • Store cream below 30 degrees C and away from direct sunlight
  • In summer, store in a fridge
  • Replace the lid firmly to ensure the contents are sealed after each use

The above recipe alone is excellent as a general multi-purpose cream but to make it more specific you will then go on to add the following tinctures, about a teaspoon of each to the 100mg jar.  A few examples of how to make different herbal creams are provided below, however the possibilities are many.  To each 100g jar, you can also add a few drops of the homeopathic form of the herbs I mention if you have them available.

These creams can be used as often as you like without any problem and especially before bed when you have no external pollutants.  I often have patients come in to my office saying "quick, look at it so I can put some more cream it", before they hastily apply another smear of the cream I have made up for them for their itch!!

FRESH PLANT CREAMS

To make creams from fresh herbs such as Chickweed, Calendula, Echinacea, Comfrey etc the following procedure can be followed.  Juice the fresh plant part using a wheat grass juicer or some other suitable device and filter the juice through a coarse cloth.  Immediately combine 10mls or 2 teaspoons of this plant juice with your base cream and mix thoroughly.  Creams made in this way are often highly effective but have a limited life.  They should be kept in a refrigerator and discarded after 6 months. 

The following creams are made using tinctures and herbal extracts (the same as in the herbal formulas I make up for you - just ask me if you would like some extra to have a go at making your own creams).

Anti-fungal Cream

Tea tree has many properties, it is antibiotic, antiseptic and anti-fungal and when combined with Rosemary which also has anti-fungal properties it is particularly impressive.  So, for an anti-fungal cream for candida, athlete's foot, jock itch, fungal rash under breasts and armpits and nappy rash:

Add 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil and 1 teaspoon of rosemary oil to 100 grams of your base cream.  Stir thoroughly until the oil is incorporated into the cream.

Antiseptic Cream

Use herbal extracts for this one.  Combine 1 teaspoon of Propolis with 1 teaspoon of Myrrh and 1 teaspoon of Calendula with your 100g of base cream.  Stir thoroughly until a smooth consistency is obtained.  As these herbal extracts contain alcohol as a preservative, the resultant cream will sting if applied to broken skin. 

 Cold Sore Cream

Take 100ml of Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) extract and reduce on a low heat (over about one hour) to 15 to 20mls.  Pour this concentrate while hot onto your 100g base cream - I would use zinc oxide cream as the base for this one,  the alcohol is removed during the concentration step.  Mix thoroughly until the resultant cream has an even colour. 

Evening Primrose Oil Cream

This is a great one for skin.  Prick the end or cut the end off five 1000mg capsules of Evening Primrose Oil and squeeze the contents in 100g of Vitamin E base cream.  Stir thoroughly until the oil is incorporated into the cream. 

For Dermatitis or Eczema or any itchy skin conditions, you can add a teaspoon of the tinctures of Calendula for healing and/or Chickweed for the itch.  A few drops of the homeopathic Sulph 30C or lower potency should help with the redness, itch and swelling and I would add the few drops of  Vitamin E oil to prevent and help with any scarring and I find a base of zinc oxide cream to be most effective.

For Bruises add a few drops of homeopathic Anica 30C or lower potency, and for sprains, strains & broken bones you can add Comfrey, either the fresh form, and/or the homeopathic form Symph 30C or lower potency if you have either of them available. 

St John's Wort has good anti-viral properties and is a good herb for healing as is Echinacea for mild infection. 

Witchhazel is an excellent astringent which means it is excellent for haemorrhoids and anal fissures as well as varicose veins when added to your base formula.

As I said the possibilities are many so please, start experimenting and happy cream making!

 

Date posted: 2014-01-01 | posted by: debras




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