Steps in Making Ointments


Ointments To Suit Yourself

  • There are many formulas for making ointments at home. It is even possible to toss together a fast ointment blended from your favorite unscented hand cream and the herbal or extract of your choice. By researching the many herbal sites and books, and by doing historical research, it is possible to recreate ointments from hundreds of years ago, or to create a formula as new as your own imagination. It is still a good idea to have a classic method as a starting point, however.

Standard Amounts

  • A single batch of a simple ointment will use one pint of vegetable oil (olive oil is a classic, but unless you want the scent to carry through choose a light oil) and 1 to 1 1/2 oz. of beeswax. A larger amount of beeswax will create a stiffer ointment, and a smaller amount will give a creamier result.

Creating the Base

  • Place the oil and beeswax into the top of a double boiler or in a small slow cooker set to the low setting. If using the double boiler, be sure to fill the bottom pan. When the wax is melted, blend the two together well.

  • You will then want to add the herbs. Use four ounces of fresh herb, or two ounces of dried herb. If the herbs are fresh, chop them lightly so that there are no over large pieces and so that the plant matter is somewhat bruised and crushed. Dried herbs can be rubbed lightly between your palms to crush them. Add them to the oil and wax base, and allow to cook on low heat for an hour or more. If you are using the double boiler, be very sure to maintain the water in the lower pan.

Straining the Ointment

  • After the ointment has cooked on low for an hour, the essential oils should be fully dissolved in the vegetable oil and wax base. It is now possible to strain the blended mixture through a sieve or a piece of clean cheesecloth. Squeeze and crush the remains to force as much of the remaining oils as possible from the remains of the herbs. The strained results can be poured or scraped into a small jar or covered dish and allowed to set up. The spent herbs can be thrown away. The cooking pot, the strainer, and any spoons or spatulas used should be cleaned promptly in hot water with soap. If the ointment and wax have set too firmly, you should scrape the tools and set them to simmer in hot, soapy water in a large canning pot. Remove with tongs, place in ordinary hot dish water, and clean with a scrub pad.

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