Monday, August 28, 2006

Herbal oil for inflammation & pain

I was looking over my past posts here & realised that I never put in the healing oil recipe that is a companion to the healing salve. The oil is easier to make, although it can still take time if you make your own comfrey infused oil, as I do. I originally made a variation of this oil for sciatic problems when I was pregnant with my son, B, who is now 10. I derived the recipe from research in various herbals, particularly Valerie Ann Worwood's "The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy". Looking through my recipe book (being a former lab tech, I keep notes on practically everything) I don't find exactly when the recipe was refined to what I currently make, but I know that I have been making & sharing this oil for at least 8 years.

What does it do? I developed this oil to relieve nerve & muscle pain from chronic sciatica (due to arthritic degeneration in my lower back), & that's what it does. Based on my herbal research, the St. John's Wort oil & the comfrey are both traditionally used to combat nerve & muscle pain, & the lavender oil is a general pain-releiver. I use it every night after showering, rubbing it into the areas that are currently giving me trouble. Over time, the arthritis has gotten more severe in my knees & hands, so I have been using it to help relieve pain in these areas. I am not able to take NSAIDS (usually used to relieve arthritis) of any kind, so have had to find alternatives. I also use herbal tinctures to help with the inflammation & so far things are kept under control by the combination of tinctures & oil.

I began sharing the oil with friends quite some time ago. I gave it to a friend who had broken her neck in a car accident, & fortunately recovered all functioning but was left with considerable, chronic nerve pain. She found the oil gave her relief, so I eventually gave her the recipe so she could make it herself. My stepfather, who had rheumatoid arthritis, was plagued by intermittent swelling in his wrists & used the oil to relieve the swelling & pain. More recently, I have been sharing this oil with friends from my son's school, who have used it for plantar faschitis, stress fractures, & arthritic knees, with good results. So, without further ado, here's the recipe:

* comfrey infused oil (see below)
* St. John’s Wort infused oil (I purchase this from Mt. Rose)
* lavender essential oil
* clean bottle **
Half-fill the bottle with comfrey infused oil. Fill the bottle (roughly the same amount) with St. John’s Wort infused oil, to within 1/4 inch below the neck of the bottle. Add lavender essential oil to 1/8 inch below the neck. Cap, shake well, & label.

**pretty much any bottle, glass or plastic, will do, but it should be sanitised first. I put them though the diswasher to sanitise, but washing well with dishsoap then pouring boiling water in the bottle & lid will also do the trick.

To use, rub into the area where you are experiencing pain. I have never had trouble with this oil staining clothing, but I also rub it in until the skin is only mildly oily.

To make comfrey infused oil:

* dried comfrey leaf (preferably organic)
* organic olive oil
* clean quart mason jar or similar jar with well-fitting lid **(see above)
* cheesecloth
* clean bottle for finished oil (to hold approximately 16 oz.) **(see above)
Half-fill the mason jar with dried comfrey leaf. Add olive oil to within 2” of the neck of the jar. Cap, shake well, & allow to sit overnight. The next day, top-off the jar with more olive oil (the comfrey will absorb some, so the level will be lower) to within an inch of the top. Shake daily for the first 2-3 weeks. Place in a warm, dark place, if possible. Allow to macerate for at least 1 month, although the longer it sits, the better.

To decant, pour contents of mason jar into a large square of cheesecloth (I put it in a strainer over a quart measuring cup). When it stops dripping, gather the edges together, twist, & squeeze. The leftovers may be composted. Pour finished oil into bottle, label, & store in fridge. It will need to be warmed to room temp before using. (Store St. John’s Wort oil in fridge, too.)


At 12:53 PM, Blogger steve said...

That stuff sounds great.
I often get severe neck pain.
Would you be willing to sell me a bottle, it sounds too hard for my brain to make.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Lady Jae said...

Interesting. I am studying to be an ND. I was making some infused Comfrey oil, and just looking at info online when I ran into your site. I have nerve pain and damage from sciatica. I am trying to avoid surgery for it. I was already thinking about a similar salve, maybe now someone has a positive result I will give it a try


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