This simple plantain beeswax-based balm soothes chapped lips, enlivens and perfumes your skin and will even act as a first aid salve for stings and bites.
INGREDIENTS for for 10’ish pots of balm
10 little pots (recommend 15 ml glass or metal screw top pots)
130 ml cold pressed organic sunflower oil
Generous handful of plantain
Small pack of cosmetic grade beeswax pellets (amount used will vary)
Essential oil of choice to perfume
Medium size stainless steel or ceramic bowl
Saucepan that bowl can rest in for bain-marie method of steaming
Tea towel or piece of muslin to cover bowl
Teaspoon and saucer
Pestle & mortar if you have
Start to finish, 24 hours due to overnight infusion. Prep time including foraging & chopping: 15 mins
Blending and pouring time: 15 mins
1. ID your local patch of plantain & pick a handful, not over-harvesting in an area of limited resource.
2. Chop up plantain and bruise in pestle and mortar.
3. Pour oil into a bowl, preferably stainless steel then steep plantain in oil, ensuring that the oil covers the plant.
4. Place a clean tea towel or piece of muslin over the bowl of oil and leave over a very gentle heat (back of wood burner / airing cupboard / under a storage heater or radiator).
Avoid simmering the oil as it changes the chemical composition of the medicinal properties of the plant. If you don’t have an overnight heat supply, you can heat very gently over a pan of steaming water (bain-marie) for a few hours.
5. Next day, filter the oil through a strainer, unless you’re using a very refined filter, you’ll notice that some of the plantain sediment is left in the oil – this is fine, if you’re fine with it! The oil should have taken on a really wonderful green hue.
6. Place the strained oil back in the stainless steel bowl and rest in a saucepan of hot water using the bain-marie culinary method that allows steam to heat but not boil the oil. Place the beeswax into the oil, starting with a smaller quantity to begin with. The rough ratio of oil to beeswax for a lip balm is 1part beeswax to 7 parts oil – so just start with a few desert spoons first.
7. Once the beeswax has melted, test the solidity of the oil by dipping in a cold teaspoon and pouring a tiny bit on a cold saucer. It will solidify quickly and if it’s too moist, add more wax to get a more solid balm.
8. When you’re happy with the consistency add about 20 drops of essential oil. Rose is really nice and soft if you’re going to use on lips. The more oil you add, the stronger the aroma and the more it will become like a solid perfume.
9. Finish by pouring the mix into the pots and allow to cool and solidify.
These little pots of balm bliss are fantastic for friends as presents whether as wedding favours, birthdays or just good old spontaneous giveaways!