Hello My Fellow Health Seekers! I hope everyone is warm and well during this unusually cold winter season! As promised in my last blog, today I will continue with Part 2 in the Aromatherapy Cold & Flu Remedies series of recipes. I will be sharing with you my recipe for Winter Defense Body Oil that comes from my latest book, Hands-On Healing Remedies (Storey Publishing, 2012). I hope you find it useful in your arsenal of herbal cold and flu preventive medicines.
Winter Defense Body Oil
Traditional healers around the globe have used sage for centuries. With sage growing in your garden, you have an elixir of good health right outside your door. Their soft, gray-green leaves will be at the ready for making this potent, aromatically earthy, warming infused oil.
When massaged into the skin from head to toe on a daily basis, sage-infused oil aids in strengthening the body's immune system, supporting its defenses against outside invasion of the three main sources of disease: bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The oil conditions the skin, too, keeping it soft, elastic, and healthy.
I can hear you thinking, "If I put sage oil on my skin, won't I smell like Thanksgiving stuffing?" No worries. The fragrance may be rather potent in the bottle, but it becomes quite subtle upon application.
Note: I prefer to use the stovetop method of extraction (versus the slower, canning jar - solar method of extraction ) for this formula, as I feel that the resinous sage leaves release their best medicinal properties and strongest aroma when processed in this manner.
- 1 1/2 cup dried or 3 cups freshly wilted sage leaves (To wilt fresh-picked sage leaves, you simply spread them out on a clean cloth in a dry, warm, low-lit area for 24-72 hours so that they become limp and soft, but not dry. This process removes a great deal of moisture from the leaves prior to putting them into the oil for extraction.)
- 3 cups extra-virgin olive, organic soybean, or almond base oil (use almond or soybean oil if you want a lighter fragrance and texture)
- 2,000 IU vitamin E oil
Equipment Needed: 2-quart saucepan or double boiler, stirring utensil, candy or yogurt thermometer, fine mesh strainer, fine filter (such as a coffee filter), funnel, plastic or glass storage containers
Prep Time: 4 hours
Yield: Approximately 2 1/2 cups
Storage: Store at room temperature, away from heat and light; use within 1 year
Application: Once daily
Directions: If you are using freshly wilted sage leaves, first cut or tear the slightly leathery leaves into small pieces to expose more surface area to the oil. Combine the leaves and base oil in a 2-quart saucepan or double-boiler and stir thoroughly to blend. The mixture should look like a thick, pale green herbal soup. Bring the mixture to just shy of a simmer, between 125 - 135 degrees F. DO NOT let the oil actually simmer - it will degrade the quality of your infused oil. DO NOT put the lid on the pot.
Allow the herb to macerate (or infuse) in the oil over low heat for 4 hours. Check the temperature every 30 minutes or so with a thermometer and adjust the heat accordingly. If you're using a double-boiler, add more water to the bottom pot as necessary, so it doesn't dry out. Stir the infusing mixture at least every 30 minutes or so, as the herb bits tend to settle to the bottom.
After 4 hours, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. While the oil is still warm, carefully strain it through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a fine filter such as muslin or, preferably, a paper coffee filter, then strain again if necessary to remove all debris. Squeeze the herbs to extract as much of the precious oil as possible. Discard the marc (or spent herbs).
Add the vitamin E oil and stir to blend. The resulting infused oil blend will be a rich medium to dark green in color, depending on which base oil you chose. Pour the finished oil into storage containers, then cap, label with product name, creation date, and ingredients, and store in a dark cabinet.
Application Instructions: For maximum benefit, massage this infused oil into slightly damp, warm skin - fresh from the shower or bath. Apply daily for at least a month prior to cold and flu season, and continue to use it throughout the winter.
Bonus Uses: Sage oil makes a terrific diaper rash preventive and is wonderful added to salves and balms to help heal minor skin afflictions, respiratory infections, and dry rough skin on the feet, elbows, and knees.
Quote: "Why should a man die when sage grows in his garden?" - popular medieval saying
NOTE: The recipe in this blog was excerpted from the book "Hands-On Healing Remedies" (c2012, Storey Publishing, Stephanie Tourles-author) and reprinted with permission from Storey Publishing. The information in this article is true and complete to the best of the author's knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles. She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.