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Herbal Prep - The Fall Medicine Chest 3 - Oils and Butters

ElewMompittsehJun 5, 2018, 10:35:49 PM

Here we will get into a list of various oils and butters, what they are used for, and which are most important to have on hand...

Remember that oils, butters and waxes are separated into 3 categories...Hard, Soft and Liquid. Every recipe blend will utilize these basic properties, which will create the texture and melting point of your finished product.

Our lists will not include All oils and butters, but will show a good variety.

Let us start with Hard butters and oils...

We usually only need 2 hard oils/waxes, but sometimes paraffin comes in handy. Hard oils/waxes will not melt at body temp unless they are mixed into soft or liquid oils. Alone they need heat to melt.

Beeswax (used for most cosmetic and medicinal creams, ointments, salves, balms. I try to have 5 - 8 lb on hand in the fall - 20 lb if it is a candle making year)

Cocoa Butter (used in dry skin creams, balms...cocoa butter is a great moisturizer, so can be split with beeswax, or replace it. I like to keep 4 lb on hand)

Paraffin (is helpful for times when the skin needs to be sealed, you can add to diaper rash creams in a pinch when needed during teething to keep the extra acids off the skin...can be used if someone has allergic reactions to cocoa butter and beeswax, and is always good to have on hand as a prepper for making candles, sealing ropes, waterproofing canvas, and even used as a wax seal in canning in a pinch. I think of it as more of a tool, but like to have at least 10 lb on hand)

Soft butters and oils

These butters typically stay firm or semi-firm at room temp, but melt at body temp.

Coconut Oil (I prefer 92* F melting point, grocery stores usually sell 76*. Nutrient, emollient, nice cream base and has many healing qualities. I like to keep 10+ lbs on hand)

Shea Butter (emollient, moisturizer, replenishes skin elasticity, anti-inflammatory, helps block ultra-violet rays, and on top of all that it is water bonding which makes it an emulsifier. I prefer raw shea, but many people like refined. I like to keep 5+ lb on hand. A little shea goes a long ways)

Mango Butter (emollient, great for damaged skin, and food safe...so great to use in creams, conditioners, balms, salves. and soaps. I like to keep about 5 lb on hand)

Lanolin (weak emulsifier, repairs skin barrier, moisturizer...great in diaper rash creams, lip balms, creams, ointments etc... It is expensive so I try to keep as close to 1 lb as I can. If you have sheep you can render it yourself, I suggest doing it outdoors ;)

Palm Stearic Acid (is used as an emulsifier for making creams, lotions, can be used in soft soaps, shampoos, etc. Emulsifiers allow water bases and oil bases to be combined smoothly. I like to keep 10+ lb)

Palm Kernel Flakes (great to add into soaps and anything you want a nice rich lather with. 5 lb is good to have on hand)

Liquid Oils

This is the most in-depth list, and there are sooo many more. Just do your research to choose the ones you and your family need. I will list the main oils we use.

Olive Oil (most used in soap bases, but is also used in many creams, ointments and balms...not to mention cooking. I like to keep 2 gallons on hand in the fall)

Sweet Almond Oil (the oil we use most for all skin products. It makes a nice light, yet moisturizing base for most skin care. I like to keep 2 gallons on hand)

Apricot Kernel Oil (another nice carrier, and good in most skin products. I like to keep about 1 gallon on hand)

Sunflower Oil (is nice in lip balms and ointments, it is nourishing yet light...and I use it for cooking sometimes. I tend to only keep about a 15 oz bottle)

Wheat Germ Oil (filled with nutrients, and great for the hair and skin. A little goes a very long way so I only keep about 15 oz on hand)

Walnut Oil (can help preserve other blends...and is very good for hair. I like to keep a small bottle on hand)

Vitamin E Oil (super skin healing, great for burns, scars, chapped skin, can be added into any creams, balms, salves, etc... I like to try and keep at least 15 oz on hand)

Argan Oil (I like to add argan to shampoos and conditioners for fine hair...but it has many uses. I like to keep a couple 15 oz bottles on hand)

Avocado Oil (has great nutrients, and is really nice in many skin care products. I like to keep a 15 oz bottle on hand)

Castor Oil (the best laxative in the world...it is always good to keep on hand, especially if you have small children. However it is also anti-fungal, anti-microbial, moisturizing, heals skin irritation, boosts immune function, balances hormones --> induces labor so do not use while pregnant <-- I like to keep about 1 gallon on hand)

Jojoba Oil (I prefer unrefined, but many like the refined. This oil is expensive to buy, so when I have to buy it I only get a 15 oz bottle or so. It is very nourishing and healing for the skin and hair)

Grapeseed Oil (very rejuvenating for the skin...so a few drops in skin oils or creams is nice. This oil can be used on the face usually, so great in face creams too. I try to keep at least 15 oz on hand)

Vitamin B6 and B12 Oil (I add a few drops into most shampoos and skin creams for good nourishment. I try to keep about 4 oz on hand)

There are so many other good oils, each with their own healing qualities...research, explore...don't be afraid of your oils!! :)


Keep an extra cheese grater just for your hard waxes and oils...They are a pain to clean, so this way you can stick it in a pot of hot soapy water and use a brush to clean it...but if there is a little wax residue you don't have to worry about it.

You can use a heat knife to cut your hard waxes and oils if they are in blocks.

If you are just starting out, try small quantities of the oils, enough for the recipe at hand. If you like it, then get more :)

For bulk oils, I find I like to get them from Bulk Apothecary 

There you have the gist of what we do here to get ready for winter...you can find parts 1 & 2 in my blog :) Pretty much anything we need we can make with these supplies on hand, keeping in mind I make herbal remedies for others, often...so my lists may be far more than one needs for a household.