It's blustery outside and you notice the common signs of nasal congestion, aches & pains and drowsiness. Although the common cold seems 'not so common' these days, we all inevitably fall prey to its clutches at some point. I find that having a batch of Medicated Ointment on hand makes it much easier to relax and let your body do the necessary healing. Below is a simple recipe that can be adapted depending what you have on hand. The point is that it uses some form of menthol, whether it is dried leaves, essential oils or infused oils. Menthol has the wonderful ability to clear nasal passages and 'heats' when rubbed into the skin. For my purposes I use essential oils and a kitchen scale to make this easier. This recipe usually yields two 2 oz jars with extra left over.
Medicated Ointment Recipe
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 oz. Shea Butter (or non- fractionated Coconut Oil)
1/2 oz. Beeswax (can be adjusted for firmer consistency)
10 drops Camphor, 8 drops Peppermint, 4 drops Eucalyptus, 3 drops Tea Tree
Place the olive oil, shea butter and beeswax in the top of your double boiler over medium heat. I use a heat-proof bowl over a half full pot of water. It works the same. Stir frequently and remove from heat source as soon as all ingredients are melted. Allow to cool for a few minutes before adding essential oils. This prevents them from evaporating off and loosing their effectiveness. Once they have been blended in, pour into a sealable container and store for later use.
Note: If you intend to use herbs, it is best to dry them first. Using a mortar and pestel grind the dried herbs to a fine powder and add to the melted mixture after it has been removed from the heat source. Use a whisk to fully incorporate. You may have to play with quantity until you find the right mix.
Alternatively you can infuse your olive oil with the dried herbs in advance for use in this and many other recipes.
Pro-tip: You may not have the above mentioned ingredients on hand but an easy DIY that allows you to still benefit from the healing properties of peppermint, eucalyptus or camphor are Roller Balls or Diffuser Blends.
For a quick diffuser blend add equal qauntities of Peppermint & Eucalyptus Essential Oils ( usually around 4 drops each) to your diffuser, top up the water level and turn on. Don't have a diffuser? Create your own using an old pot on the stove. Try adding a bit of Lemon for a 'pick me up'. This is a fantastic way to benefit from steam therapy and requires minimal effort.
If you have a Roller Ball, all you require is an essential oil blend of choice (I like Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Tea Tree) and a carrier oil (almond, jojoba, grapeseed, olive oil, etc). That's it. Place the essential oils in the bottom of roller ball vial, and top with your carrier oil, cap and use. These are great on the go!
* If blending essential oils it is key to not over-do it. Suggested doses are as follows:
For 10 ml. vial - 1% = 2 drops (ages 3-5), 3% = 6 drops (ages 6-10), 5% = 10 drops (adults). These are guidelines only and essential oil use is not recommended for enfants under 2 without consulting your healthcare practitioner.
Hope this inspires you to be proactive this coming cold & flu season. A focus on natural medicines and preventative measures is perhaps more important now then ever before, and every little thing helps when you're under the weather.