I have learnt to make all manner of herbal products and remedies over the years, from lip balm to arthritis liniment, to immune boosting sweets and cough syrups. But the one thing that has always eluded me is the herbal cream. To be able to perfectly blend the water and oil together to form a cream that absorbs into the skin well is an art, and one that I have tried in vain to perfect. Many a rainy day has been spent in my kitchen trying to mix herbal waters into beeswax, and no amount of whisking will make the two gel together!
I recently attended a fantastic cream making workshop, by Dawn Ireland, a fellow UEL graduate and a fantastic herbalist. Dawn makes her own products through her website www.greenwyse.co.uk, and also practices as a medical herbalist at the herbs and honey health food shop in Torbay, Devon.
When I heard that Dawn was running a course on herbal cream making I was thrilled, but slightly nervous due to my earlier failed attempts and my allergy to nuts which often excludes me from making herbal creams due to the nut oils that are often used.
Dawn was fantastic and organised the event to be completely nut free so that I could attend. So off I went to Torbay, with my husband and dog in tow, and a fantastic time was had by all.
The course started with Dawn explaining the basic science behind herbal creams and how herbal constituents are absorbed into the skin. The high point of the morning was seeing Dawn make a hydrosol from her still from yarrow leaves.
After a delightful (nut free) vegetarian lunch we moved on to tailor making our creams, one lady made a hand cream specifically for her dry skin, with wheat germ oil and chamomile, another lady made a pain relieving cream from rosehip oil, St John’s wort and chilli, for her swollen knee, and I decided to make an eczema cream with marshmallow and liquorice.
We were all slightly nervous as the cream making process is part science part art and I don’t think any of us were particular comfortable with either part! Dawn was extremely supportive throughout the process but did test us on our knowledge by setting us the task of coming up with a recipe for another cream we would make.
The creams we made came our perfectly and we were all thrilled with the results, unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of my cream but here is a picture of similar creams that Dawn makes so you can get the idea. As I was travelling back from Torbay I met my Mum and my sister, both eczema sufferers so the two jars of cream I’d just made went straight to them before I could take a photo!
I was filled with such inspiration after visiting Dawn that I planned the workshops and courses for 2014, including a winter remedy workshop in January, an evening course in February and March, as well as several others.
As a group we also came up with a fantastic chocolate orange lip balm recipe and that will be one of the lip balms I will be teaching at my natural cosmetics workshop in November.