Yarrow Essential Oil and How to make a Balm

Yarrow - painted by Elena Light
Yarrow – painted by Elena Light
Many people are unaware that yarrow, Achillea millifolium, a common plant growing abundantly in British country side, actually produces a very powerful, useful and rather beautiful essential oil.

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It’s an oil that stands out when you see its striking, ink blue colour, which is very unusual for an essential oil. The plant itself is made up of an umbrella of little white flowers, sometimes pink, but during the production process, a naturally occurring chemical component in the plant called chamazulene, turns bright blue.

yarrow flower and blue essential oil

Most essential oils come in tinted glass bottles as they are sensitive to light, so it’s rare to see such amazing colours as in the below photo.

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Bright blue yarrow essential oil.
Chamazulene is also the particular part that makes yarrow so useful as it is anti-inflammatory in effect and therefore useful for any condition where inflammation is present, for example:

Arthritis, allergies, bumps, bruises, breaks, gout, strains & sprains.

Even conditions such as period pain and back ache can be helped by using yarrow because of the presence of inflammation.

Yarrow & Lavender Balm Recipe – for pain and inflammation.

A balm is a very practical method of application for areas of inflammation. I would recommend applying this simple balm, made with yarrow and lavender essential oil, twice daily. Massage in very gentle anti-clockwise circles to the affected area, if the area is too tender to touch, or is an open wound then apply the balm as close to the site as is comfortable.

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Ingredients ~ to make 100 ml pot:

  • 10g beeswax
  • 10g shea butter
  • 80g or ml of base oil, e.g. Olive oil or Almond oil
  • yarrow essential oil – 40 drops (2ml)
  • lavender essential oil – 60 drops (3ml)
  • vitamin E (optional)

Caution ~ yarrow can contain a varying amount of camphor in it, which means it is advisable to avoid with epilepsy, in pregnancy, and could cause sensitisation in ragweed allergy sufferers.

See my blog on ‘How to make a Massage or Body Balm’ for full recipe instructions.

Blue chamomile essential oil, Matricaria recutita (also known as German chamomile) also appears blue in colour, it contains the same anti-inflammatory agent chamazulene and would be suitable for all of the above inflammatory conditions. Click here to purchase this essential oil.

See my blog on Lavender & Chamomile for Hay fever for more details.

How to use Cooling Peppermint Essential Oil for Sun Burn and After Sun Care.

sun burn treatment after sun gel

I once had a peppermint bath, once being the appropriate word here, it was at a friends house and there was a bottle of bubble bath in her bathroom that had peppermint essential oil listed as an ingredient, happy to have found an essential oil bubble bath, I poured some in and lay down into the bubbles. A very strange sensation then came over me. It was a cold tingling sensation, the water was nice and hot but I had this cool feeling all over and it felt really weird, I have to admit I really didn’t like it and haven’t used peppermint in a bath blend since.

However, this cooling effect of peppermint essential oil is extremely useful in many other circumstances, it’s refreshing in tooth pastes, and tingling in lip balms but it really stands out as an effective ingredient in aftersun lotion and for treating sun burn.

This is a simple recipe for a very effective, cooling gel for sun burn. It is blended with lavender, which is very effective for treating serious burns and pain relieving (it is actually used in hospital burns units), as well as German chamomile which has a powerful anti-inflammatory action. These three essential oils blended in a base of aloe vera gel which is hydrating, soothing & helps heal wounds, make for a powerful treatment for sunburn.

After Sun & Sun Burn Gel (2.5% blend strength)

peppermint essential oil for sun burn and after sun

Ingredients:

50ml aloe vera gel

5 drops peppermint essential oil*

15 drops lavender essential oil

5 drops German/blue chamomile essential oil – you can leave this out if it’s just for after-sun, and replace it with Roman chamomile essential oil which is more gentle, the scent is more pleasing and less intense.

Instructions: mix them all together and apply to the affected area.

Cooling Foot Gel

That cooling sensation is also really welcome for tired & weary feet,  you can use the same recipe above as a cooling foot gel.

Refreshing Shower Gel

For a cool, refreshing shower, just add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your shower gel – see my blog: Blending everyday products with Essential Oils for how many drops to use.

It’s also a great digestive essential oil but I will talk about that in another post… in the mean time enjoy the cooling effects of peppermint oil.

*Caution ~ Do not use peppermint essential oil if cardiac fibrillation. Maximum blend strength 3%. Avoid use with babies.

You may also like to read A Pot of Fresh Mint Tea with the benefits of Essential Oils and Soothing Chamomile for Skin Conditions.

A List of Carrier Oils and their Uses

A List of Carrier Oils (also known as vegetable or base oils) and their Uses (in alphabetical order):

base oil vegetable oil massage oil

Carrier oils,  also known as base oils or vegetable oils, are a great medium to use to blend essential oils with since they have their own nourishing properties. They can be used on their own for massage and in the bath, and are essential ingredients in skin care products. Essential oils should always be diluted before use on skin*.

To help you choose which base oils to use, here is a list with some of their most useful properties.

Almond ~ a great general use oil, not too rich or light, and full of nutrients. Caution – avoid with nut allergies.

almond

Apricot ~ A very gentle light oil that I like to use with children, and people with sensitive skin.

Apricot oil

Avocado ~ Very rich and nourishing but still absorbs well into skin, great for dry & mature skin.

Avocado oil

Borage / Star flower ~ a lovely light oil that is particularly good for eczema and those with delicate skin.

borage star flower

Calendula / Marigold oil (marigold flowers macerated in olive oil) ~ if I could only use one base oil then this would be it, the olive oil is rich and full of nutrients and further enhanced with the healing properties of calendula flowers, great for all skin types, especially useful for problem or damaged skin. Watch out for my new blog on how to make your own ~ coming soon!

marigold flowers

Coconut ~ I love this oil as it is so versatile, it is great for skin, hair, and even in food. It is solid at room temperature, but very easily melts in warm hands, if it’s a hot day, or you live in a tropical country, it is likely to melt and be in a liquid state. It has a very greasy feel to it, which makes it perfect for use as a cleanser as it easily removes dirt, grime, and makeup. It’s particularly good for removing eye makeup as it’s so greasy, so there is no pull on the delicate skin around the eyes. If you don’t like the strong smell of coconut, you can choose a deodorised version.

coconut oil

Macadamia ~ Very rich and nourishing but still absorbs well into skin, great for dry skin. If you buy the un-refined version the smell is incredibly delicious. Caution – avoid with nut allergies.

macadamia nut oil

Rosehip ~ this is the best oil I know for helping to heal scars and improving their appearance, a great oil to enrich any blend for skin care.

rosehip

Sea buckthorn ~ I’ve been experimenting with this oil recently on my face, on its own as a night oil and as an ingredient in my creams. It really makes the skin glow and feels lovely.

For more details on carrier oils (including jojoba, blackcurrant seed, raspberry seed & sea buckthorn oil) CLICK HERE to see the range of oils supplied here with details on their uses and properties.

For more help choosing base oils, see my blog on ‘What quality of base oils to choose‘.

This list will continue to expand, if there are any oils that do not yet appear or that you would like more details on, please contact me or make a ‘comment’ and I will add them.

*It is generally accepted that lavender and tea tree essential oils are safe to use neat on skin.