Recently, while we were playing with her favorite mouse toy, my frisky cat scratched my hand and drew blood. After I washed the wound with soap and water, I looked in vain through my medicine cabinet for some Neosporin®* ointment to help keep the area germ-free. I thought how nice it would be have a healthier, non-petroleum based ointment that’s similar to Neosporin®, but had no idea how to go about making one.
Later that day, I saw that an aromatherapist friend had passed on a recipe she’d seen on the Internet– for exactly the kind of base product I was looking for! I was excited to see that the ointment had only three ingredients (and one was optional!), so I set out to replicate it.
The original ointment recipe made a whopping 17+ ounces (500 grams) and I didn’t need nearly that much. So I reduced the amount by three-quarters, tweaking the recipe to end up with a bit over 4 ounces. When changing the original recipe, my calculations called for about 0.3 ounces of beeswax (10 grams) but I found the consistency too “runny”. I re-melted the ointment, adding 0.1 ounce more beeswax for a total of 0.4 oz (11.3 grams), and I got the desired jelly-like texture I was looking for.
For a fantastic alternative to petroleum-based Vaseline®* jelly, the plain base is made without essential oils. It’s perfect on chapped skin where a moisture barrier is required (like the diaper area or winter-ravaged skin). This ointment is purposely very heavy; it’s not a lotion or cream which will absorb readily into the skin. It worked great on a raw, chapped spot I’ve had on my foot!
I made a second batch of ointment, this time using child safe essential oils (listed below in the recipe) that can help keep minor wounds “clean”. You can also make an ointment using essential oils that are helpful in softening rough, red, chapped skin, like Plant Therapy’s KidSafe synergy Silky Soft. To avoid ruining good clothes or linens, I’d wear old clothes or cotton gloves after applying the ointment to hands or body.
I used a 1% dilution (36 drops total) of essential oils, which is safe for most children and adults. For very small children, halve the amount of essential oils to 18 drops total for a 0.5% dilution. For infants, I would leave out essential oils altogether.
The low percentage of lemon essential oil will not cause a phototoxic reaction should you apply the ointment to skin and then get exposed to the sun’s rays. Or, to be extra cautious, you can use Plant Therapy’s new Steam-Distilled Lemon Essential Oil, which carries no risk of phototoxicity.
Here is what you’ll need to make this recipe. A weighing scale is necessary, as exact proportions are needed to achieve the right consistency. You can find very reasonably priced scales online at Amazon.com (I found a company called MeasuRite that carries good quality, inexpensive scales.)
Natural Multi-purpose Ointment
- Weighing scale
- Small kitchen hand whisk
- 4.1 ounces castor oil (116.2 grams)
- 0.4 ounces (11.3 grams) Beeswax Pearls
- 2-3 drops of Vit. E liquid (1.25 grams)–*optional*
- 36 drops (total) of child safe essential oils: Palmarosa, Lemon, Tea Tree, and Lavender.
For this recipe I used 12 drops Palmarosa, 10 drops Lavender, 8 drops Tea Tree, and 6 drops lemon. It smells amazing!)
Heat the beeswax in a double boiler, microwave, or Wilton candy melter pot®* until melted. Separately, heat the castor oil until slightly warmer than body temperature (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius).
Mixing with a small hand whisk, slowly drizzle the warmed castor oil into the melted beeswax. The beeswax may start to immediately cool and harden. If so, re-heat until completely melted; then remove from the heat. As the mixture cools, continue to gently whisk until it reaches a jelly-like consistency (this can take 5-10 minutes). After the first few minutes of whisking, you can set the container in the fridge to speed cooling; thoroughly whisk after removing from the fridge.
*Optional step: Once a solid mixture starts to form, add the essential oils and Vit. E; continue to whisk until completely incorporated. Spoon the cooling ointment into a small container (I used a 4 oz. “jelly” sized canning jar). Let stand overnight. The next day, if you find the consistency too “runny” after the addition of the essential oils, it’s easy to re-melt both the ointment and a bit more beeswax and whisk again to firm up the texture. Since some of the essential oils may start to evaporate when re-heated, you might need to “top off” by adding a few more drops of essential oils.
It’s been 10 days since I made the ointment and the texture has held up beautifully without any separation. Enjoy!
As always, we want to hear from you! Contact us by emailing Aromatherapist@planttherapy.com for any questions, concerns or comments that you have. Also, you can join our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes and participate in lively conversations with other essential oil users. We have your safety in mind – so come hang out with us to learn even more! We look forward to seeing you there!
*Neosporin® and Vaseline® have registered trademarks of Johnson and Johnson and Unilever, respectively, and have no affiliation with Plant Therapy. The Wilton Candy Melter® pot is a product of Wilton Industries and can be found in most arts and crafts stores.