I was invited to participate in a holiday fair to raise money for a local non-profit. While I had a lot of stock on hand for my crisis care packages, there were no items with a clear Christmas theme. Adapting my go to recipe to create these really cute lotion bars proved very easy to do. After they were packaged up, I added a real cookie cutter which were on sale for $.80 each. I try to include herbs from my garden in everything that I make. Finding an infused oil to use from my apothecary cupboard proved a little challenging at first. An oil with strong color would would darken my “cookies” too much. A strong smell would overpower the sweet scent that I was going for. After removing dozens of bottles in search of the perfect one, yarrow caught my eye. I use yarrow oil in lots of my skin care products. It is almost a popular as calendula in the backyard pharmacy.
Sugar Cookie Lotion Bars
My skin gets so dry in a high desert climate. Lotion bars are a great way to easily restore it to a healthy an happy condition. I like to apply one right as I get out of the shower. It does not leave a greasy residue on my clothing when I get dressed. The heat from the shower allows it to quickly penetrate.
For this adaptation I started with cookie shaped silicone molds. I sprinkled a few holiday candy sprinkles into the bottom
Melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 1 and 3/4 cups of cocoa or shea butter in a double boiler over medium heat.
Add 1/4 cup of Infused oil
Add 1/4 cup of castor oil
Add 1/2-3/4 cup of grated or beads of beeswax
1/2 tsp of nutmeg powder
Once it is all melted, dip a spoon into the liquid and place it into the freezer for a few minutes . Test the consistency. Add either more beeswax or more infused oil until you have what you want. It should not be as hard as homemade soap but it should not be as soft as salve.
Pour into a large , glass measuring cup and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tsp each of almond and vanilla extract. 10 drops of lemon essential oil. Mix really well. Quickly pour into soap molds. I like to use a freezer for setting, 30 minutes should do it. Once fully set, remove bars from the molds and store in a cool dark place.
When rubbed on warm skin it should make it feel soft, smooth, and silky.
Yarrow/Milfoil is best known for lowering a fever. When I was a midwife I had it as a tincture in my birth kit for minor hemorrhaging The tannins in the plant also make it an excellent wound healer which serves to tighten the tissues and arrest bleeding. It has a history of being used for nosebleeds. bleeding hemorrhoids, and abscesses, Other constituents in the plant help with pain, infection, bringing on a fever/sweat, lowering blood pressure, relaxing muscle spasms, strengthening blood vessels, calming the nervous system, opening pores, “cleaning” the blood, toning/stimulating organs or tissues, building blood and reducing inflammation. Historically this herb has been used to treat colds, flu, allergies, headaches, blood clots, menstrual issues, digestive problems, diarrhea, poor appetite, cramps, gas, bloating, rheumatism, childhood illnesses, toothache, earache and ulcers. A wash of the infusion, a poultice, or compress has been used for wounds, varicose veins, bleeding hemorrhoids, vaginal discharge, acne, blood blisters, bruising, eczema, hair loss, chapped skin, and sore nipples in nursing mothers. Dye can be made from the flowers and the essential oils are used to reduce inflammation when used in skin care products.
Yarrow is found all over the world. It grows easily in gardens, meadows, along the road, in the wild/mountains and wastelands. It prefers full or moderate sun, dry soil and very little water. There are cultivars with very attractively colored flowers and textured leaves. Yarrow, as a companion plant, helps its neighbors to resist disease. The shallow growing rootstock allows this plant to spread quickly and become invasive. The majority of the finely pinnately leaflets (sharply cleft) give the dark green leaves (lance shaped and alternately arranged) the appearance of feathers. These are 3-4 inches long and form dense growth near the ground. The tiny ray flowers (5 petals) are typically white (can be pink or pale purple) with the discs being yellow, fading to brown as they mature. These are arranged in a flat or raised compound corymb at the top of a tall stem (1-3 ft. tall). Often the stalk is fuzzy with small leaves arranged alternately with wide spacing up the stalk.
Latin name: Achillea millefolium
Parts used: Leaves and flowers
Energetics: bitter, sweet, pungent, cool, dry
Contraindications: allergy to aster/ragweed family. Sensitive individuals may experience dermatitis or sensitivity to sun.