This time of year I perpetually find myself day-dreaming of all of the lovely herbal concoctions I’ll be making come warm weather. It is in those times I can almost smell the scent of the multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) wafting across Nemeton Hill. To me, their’s is a scent of sweet wild abandon, warm humid starry nights and bright fall-red rose-hips. Rose, together with lavender are one of my all time favorites for nourishing and balancing the skin, especially when combined with witch-hazel!
Rose, lavender and witch-hazel together work quite nicely to create a non-drying liquid that has anti-inflammatory, astringent, cooling and skin healing properties that are ideal for many seasonal uses! In the winter time, think dry cracking skin, dandruff falling from dry itchy scalp and the pain from ingrown toe nails, stuffed into thick socks and heavy winter boots. For the summer time think, annoying itchy bug bites, the annoying rash of poison ivy gone rampant, and the bumps and bruises associated with warm weather adventures. Do you see a trend here? Dry, itchy skin anywhere! Anywhere on the skin that is swollen, reddened and in need of healing. So in that same vein of thinking a few other skin treatments I use this for are: general facial toner, eczema & psoriasis (external support only, must also address internal imbalances), cradle cap, hemorrhoids and child birthing aftercare (think episiotomy…). And for a bit of fun practical use, when extracted, these plants have a beautiful natural scent, making it ideal for men or women as summer cool down spray for face, neck and arms. So many uses for such a simple yet effective plant formulation.
And in case you’re thinking of making it for yourself, here’s a few things you might want to consider…
Which Plants Do I Use?: You can use any number of the rose (Rosa species) and lavender (Lavandula Species), from the kind you might buy in the store to the kind you grow in your garden or find along a country path. Keep in mind, the stronger the scent of the plant, the stronger your concoction will be, as it is mostly the aromatic oils in the plant that contains the desired properties.
What Plant Parts?: For rose, I use only the petals. For lavender I use the flowers and leaves that have been stripped off the stem.
How Do I Make It?: I like to use equal parts rose and lavender plant, (plant ratio 1:1). Once I have my total plant amount, I then use 2x the weight of plant matter to give my desired fluid volume(Plant : Menstruum = 1:2), or you could simplify the process and put your flowers and leaves in a jar and cover them completely with witch-hazel. If you find later down the line you run into more rose or lavender, you can continue to add to the jar, remembering to add more witch-hazel each time to keep it covered in liquid. Don’t forget to label!!! Now leave this jar in a dark cool spot for 4-6 weeks, shaking on occasion or as often as you remember it. Then strain out the plant parts, compost those and use the liquid as desired, spray bottle works amazingly well!
A note on Menstruums: First off, for clarity sake, menstruum is any solvent used for extracting medicinal compounds from plants. In this case, Witch-haze, the liquid not the plant, is one of many menstruums you can choose from. I like it because when I use it is less then 20% alcohol and the rest is water, which is part of why this extraction is so moisture balancing, it neither dries the skin out nor leaves it feeling oily or shiny. It can be made from store-bought witch-hazel or you can use your own pre-made version. (See later post on The Making of Witch-hazel)
This is an external use only formulation.