How to make lip balm out of your pine tree.

How to make lip balm out of your pine tree.

evergreen scented

Did you know you can make lip balm with pretty much every type of pine or fir tree?

Your friends and
family will LOVE this totally unique herbal gift.

This lip balm uses nourishing oils, butters and waxes to protect your lips from harsh winter elements.

The recipe is from Learning Herbs.

by Rosalee de la Forêt 

Our cabin is on the edge of the wilderness, nestled in an
evergreen forest. In the spring and summer, the forest floor is covered in
native medicinal plants and just outside my door there is an abundance of
Arnica, uva-ursi, wild roses, and red root.

But the warm weather is long gone in these woods and winter
time provides a stark contrast to the diversity of summer. The forest floor is
now covered in snow. The woods are quiet. Shrubs like elder and chokecherry
poke out from the snow, sometimes dripping in icicles or with a carefully
balanced layer of snow on their branches

It would be easy for me to whine and complain about the
scarcity of plants during these frigid months (…in truth, I sometimes do). So
instead, I try to mimic the plants and their slumber. Now is the time to slow
down. This time of year also gives me the opportunity to revel in the gifts of
the one medicinal plant group that continues to shine: evergreens.

Aptly named, evergreen trees retain their green needles
throughout our winter. In my forest we have an abundance of ponderosa pine
(Pinus ponderosa) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). Both of these trees
offer many gifts. Their wood keeps us warm through the winter and many trees
from this property were used to build the cabin that we call home. Evergreen
trees can also be used as medicine. When the tree is wounded, it exudes a thick
resinous pitch which makes an antimicrobial and pain-relieving salve that is
also reputably good for drawing out splinters.

In this recipe we are going to be using the green needles.
High in vitamin C, they make a delicious fresh tea (I am partial to Douglas-fir
tea) that is also a great stimulating expectorant for congested mucus in the

They also simply smell wonderful. Because of holiday wreaths
or Christmas trees, you may equate the resinous balsam smell of conifers with
the season. For me, it’s simply the smell of home and the forest that has
surrounded me for the past decade. The festive homemade lip balm in today’s recipe
is attempting to bottle up that heady scent so that you can slather your lips
in it any time of year.

You can use practically any evergreen needles for this
recipe, with a few cautions. While most evergreen needles are safe to use, the
needles from the yew tree (Taxus spp.) are not. Be sure to know the identity of
your needles to make sure they are safe. If you would like to use the needles
from your Christmas tree or holiday wreath, check with your supplier to make
sure the trees or boughs weren’t sprayed with any strange chemicals.

Evergreen Homemade
Lip Balm

Nourish your lips with this festive holiday homemade lip
balm. It will protect your lips from the harsh elements of winter while
smelling like the rich and resinous boughs of an evergreen tree. For the
carrier oil you can use jojoba oil, almond oil, grape seed oil, or apricot
kernel oil.

What you’ll need…

4 ounces carrier oil (measured by volume)

1/2 cup chopped evergreen needles

30 grams shea butter (roughly 1 ounce)

45 grams beeswax (roughly 1 1/2 ounces)

40 drops peppermint essential oil (optional)

Place the carrier oil and evergreen needles into
a double boiler (or a pot with a metal bowl sitting on top of it).

Heat the ingredients until they are fairly warm
to the touch. Turn off heat and let stand. Every couple of hours, re-heat the
oil, and then let stand. Continue this for 24-48 hours. When the oil is
finished it should smell like the the evergreen needles you are using.

Strain off the evergreen needles from the oil
using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Compost the needles.

Place the shea butter and beeswax into a double
boiler and melt until completely liquified. Add 3 ounces (by volume) of the
evergreen infused oil. (If you don’t have enough infused oil then add more
carrier oil.) Heat slowly until the butter and wax melts again completely.
Remove from heat. Add the optional peppermint essential oil and stir.

Immediately place the mixture into something
with a spout (such as a glass measuring pan) and carefully pour the mixture
into lip balm tubes or small glass jars.

Let stand to cool.

Label and enjoy.

These make a great gift! This recipe makes approximately 3/4
cup, which filled approximately 32 lip balm tubes.

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