I belong to a great group of garden and DIY bloggers called the Garden Charmers. Jan Berry of the Nerdy Farmwife is one of the members and I have been following her blog for quite a while. She lives on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with her husband, two children and a menagerie of farm animals. She has written a number of E-books (which I have purchased), and now has written her own book packed full of instructions and recipes on making your own skin care, health and home care products using commonly found herbs, flowers, oils, and other natural ingredients. An best of all you don’t have to purchase any expensive, fancy equipment, or even have any experience making them.
I have made several of my own products before such as sugar scrubs, lip balms, and herbal salves, so you can only imagine how THRILLED I was to get to review and write a post for Jan’s new book which will be on sale March 29th. I contacted Jan and asked if I could make one of her products for the post and was delighted when she said she would love for me too.
As I looked down the list of the 101 products to make, the Lavender Bug Bite Stick caught my eye. We have had an unseasonably warm and wet weather for the last few weeks. Perfect conditions for mosquitoes, and other biting bugs. When I checked out the ingredients, I was surprised to find I had them all here. Lavender buds, sunflower oil, lavender essential oil, and beeswax, and some tubes I had used for lip balm.
Lavender is one of my favorite herbs. I have three plants in my herb garden, and I can’t resist running my hand over them and smelling as I walk by. Here is what Jan says about lavender, and I couldn’t agree more. “Lavender is one of the most loved herbs around. The sweet-scented plant is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, acts to regenerate skin, soothes inflammation, speeds up wound healing, fights infection, repels flies, fleas and moths and freshens laundry. Lavender can be incorporated in a multitude of products for health and home, including salves, creams, lotions, soaps, cleaners and more.” If you don’t have any lavender in your garden, you need to go purchase some plants now for planting in your herb garden.
Now for the good part: Directions for making your Lavender Bug Bite Stick.
1/2 (125 ml) of sunflower oil
1/4 cup (9g) dried lavender flowers
1 tbsp (9 g) tightly packed beeswax,
grated or pastilles
Few drops of lavender essential oil
Infuse the sunflower oil with lavender flowers, using one of the several methods Jan explains in her book. I chose the sunny window method, because I didn’t have several weeks to infuse in a dark area.
I added dried lavender buds to a small mason jar, about half way full, then covered with sunflower oil. I placed cheesecloth on the top, held in place by a rubber band. Next, it went into my dining room window which is very sunny and stayed there 4 days (3-5 days makes a nicely infused oil, but not the strongest).
I strained it, and placed it back in the mason jar.
In a heatproof jar or container, combine 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of lavender infused oil with the beeswax.
Set the jar down into a saucepan containing 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of water, forming a makeshift double boiler. Place the pan over a medium-low burner until the wax is melted.
Stir in the lavender essential oil, then pour into lip balm tubes.
Note: When using grated beeswax like I did, you need to pack the beeswax into the tablespoon.
Depending on the weather and how you measured your beeswax, you may find that the consistency is too soft or too firm. If that happens, just melt the ingredients again and add more beeswax (for a firmer product) or oil (for a softer one).
Dab on bee stings, bug bites and other itchy spots as needed.
So, I can honestly say, I loved this book and can’t wait to make more of Jan’s great recipes for homemade, all natural, products. It’s not just a book of recipes. It includes information on all the oils, butters, and herbs that you use in your products, explaining the healing properties, as well as tips for drying your herbs, and infusion methods. I can’t wait to get calendula planted in my herb garden so I can make the calendula lotion. You can also buy dried calendula flowers, and most of the other herbs she uses in her products.
You can pre order Jan’s book here: This is an affiliate link from Amazon. I would love if you purchased here. I receive a small commission.