Christmas Recipes 2016
Already the shops are filling up with Christmas cards and mince pies, reminding me that its time to start planning for the festive season. In the run-up to last Christmas I spent a happy day mixing essential oils and filling pots with beautifully scented creams, gels and lotions as gifts for my family - they loved their presents almost as much as I enjoyed making them. If you fancy creating aromatic gifts this Yuletide here are a couple of suggestions.
WISE WOMEN HAND CREAM
Good for wise men too! Also gardeners, cyclists and anyone whose hands are regularly exposed to wintery elements.
50ml dark glass jar
20g Cocoa butter
15g Shea Butter
10g jojoba oil
5ml avocado oil
4 drops Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobile)
14 drops Bergamot (Citrus aurantium ssp bergamia)
10 drops Rose Otto* (Rosa damascena)
*Or substitute Rose with the less costly Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum)
Shea butter, extracted from the kernels of Africa’s Butyrospermum parkii tree, is described by aromatherapy base oil expert Jan Kusmirek as a ’noble butter oil’. It takes forty years for the tree to reach its fruiting peak, the butter-rich kernels residing deep within its plum-shaped fruit. A key ingredient in chocolate production, it has a gorgeously smooth, sweet aroma and is a traditional part of many African women’s skin care routines. Its has anti-inflammatory properties; its many traditional uses include treating sprains, muscular pain and massaging into pregnant bellies to prevent stretch marks.
I’ve included shea butter in my hand cream because it’s a skin cell regenerator, so useful for soothing chapped skin (this action is why its often included in wrinkle-fighting products). Shea Butter is well absorbed by most skins and has lovely moisturising qualities. Combined with the emollient qualities of cocoa butter and jojoba oil, with added skin protection from avocado oil, this hand cream will help sooth and protect hard working hands.
Wash and sterilize your jar. Melt your vegetable fats. First, pop the cocoa butter in a bain marie (a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl). Once melted, add the shea butter, then the jojoba oil. When all 3 fats are liquid remove the pan from the heat and stir in the avocado oil. Take care when removing the bowl – it will be hot and the water underneath will still be steaming.
Pour your vegetable oil mix into the jar. Add your essential oils – stir quickly and thoroughly. Cover and leave to set before tightening the lid. It will take a while to set – be patient or put it in the fridge! Then label, wrap and handover your Christmas gift with pride.
CALM & CLARIFY RUB
Rollette bottles (roller ball tops) are perfect for slipping into pockets and handbags, ready to apply to the wrists or temples when needed. Loved ones with busy, stressful lives will welcome this blend.
10ml rollette bottle
10mls Apricot Kernel (or another light base oil)
3 drops Scott’s Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
2 drops Lemon (Citrus limonum)
1 drop Spikenard (Nardostchys jatamansi)
Wash and sterilize your rollette bottle. Thoroughly combine your essential oils with your base oil – I often use a cocktail stick for mixing oil blends. Carefully pour the mixture into the bottle & screw the lid on tightly. Your deliciously scented Christmas gift is ready to wrap and pop under the tree.
If you don’t have time to make your own gifts help is at hand – take a look at Materia Aromatica’s great selection of gifts.
• Bensouilah J & Buck P (2006), Aromadermatology, Abingdon, Oxon: Radcliffe Publishing Ltd
• Davis P (1988) Aromatherapy an A-Z, Saffron Weldon: Daniel
• Kusmirek J (2002), Liquid Sunshine, Glastonbury, Somerset: Floramicus
• Price L (1999) Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy & Massage, Stratford-upon-Avon: Riverhead
• Shea butter information available from http://www.sheainstitute.com/asbi-library/21reasons/#shea_bestfriend, accessed 24/10/16
• Shea butter information available from http://sheabutter.com/blog/traditional-uses-of-shea-butter-in-africa/, accessed 24/10/16