Chaparral Lavender Lotion

I’ve been pretty absent from this blog due to months of frantic travel, but now I am back home in West Texas to recharge for a month or two and hope to get back in the swing of things. We have a full house: there are three senior citizens, one nearing senior citizenhood, three teenage girls, a doofy dog and me! It can be challenging at times, but you are definitely never lonely or bored and there are lots of people to try herbal recipes on.

This recipe is intended for the senior citizens in our home who suffer from arthritis and/or diabetes and was lovingly prepared by the young folks. I had such a good time taking the girls out to the desert to harvest chaparral and then watching them make medicine for the first time and since we were making this lotion for our viejitos a whole lot of love went into it and if nothing else works hopefully that will.2014-01-05 23.56.46

Creosote (Larrea tridentataor chaparral as it is commonly called is a plant found in the Southwest deserts of North America. It is one of my personal favorites because of its smell; a bit like burning sage, which becomes especially strong when its dainty yellow flowers bloom after the heavy rains of August. It is the smell of home. But don’t let its appearance fool you, this is a tough plant. Its leaves are extremely waxy in order seal in moisture and protects the plant from heat and UV rays and its root system actually blocks other nearby plants from growing in order to perserve what precious little water there is for itself. It is slow growing and long-lived, in fact in California a “King clone” creosote ring has been discovered and is believed to be one of the oldest living organisms on earth! This is a wise old plant with a long history of medicinal use. I’ve heard from old timers that it is a cure-all particularly against kidney stones and cancer and it is apparently one of the best plants to fight infections. It is also being studied as a potential treatment for herpes! I’m not sure if anyone in this house has herpes and to be perfectly honest I’d rather not ask. Instead I decided to try out it out as a topical pain reliever for arthritis, I threw in some magnesium oil for good measure as magnesium deficieny is rampant and there a multiple people with diabetes in our home. **I want to add that there are some concerns about possible liver damage from ingesting Larrea tridentata. My gut feeling is that the reports came after ingesting large quantities and that smaller quantities for a short duration of time should be fine, but as I am new to this I err on the side of caution and will only use it externally for now** Ok on to the recipe.

What you will need:
Adorable assistants (ok not required, but made the job a lot more fun)
Olive oil (If you don’t want to buy all those oils stick to one plus castor oil)
Almond oil
Grapeseed oil
Magnesium chloride oil
Castor oil
Strongly brewed chaparral tea
Borax (I left this out)
Lavender oil2014-01-13 02.23.59


1.In a pan, combine 2 ounces each of olive, almond, and grapeseed oils with 1 ounce of castor oil and 1 tablespoon of beeswax granules.
2. Slowly heat the pan until the beeswax is melted, to about 145˚F.
3. In another pot, combine 2 ounces of strongly brewed creosote bush tea with 1 ounce of saline salt water, 20 drops (I added more) of magnesium chloride oil, and a pinch of Borax.(left out)
4. Once both pots reach a similar temperature, slowly pour the creosote bush tea mixture into the oil, whisking it constantly. Get your adorable twin assistants to do this
5. Pour it into heat resistant glass containers, add lavender oil, seal it, and cool it in a bath of warm water.
6. Spin the bottles periodically as they cool, then store them in the refrigerator.
7. Shake before using. 2014-01-13 05.33.02 2014-01-13 05.40.12

The essential oil really helps cut the strong smell of chaparral and is quite relaxing. I really enjoyed the texture and feel of this cream and have even used it as a deodorant for the past two days with good results. We’ve all been using it and it really is very soothing to the skin.  However, I would not use it on the face if you are prone to acne as it could potentially clog pores. No report back from the viejitos so the verdict is still out on that. If you anyone out there has tried similar recipes or tries this one I would love to hear feedback! I will definately be making this again…perhaps with jasmine oil.

2014-01-15 04.18.23


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