I got a call from Lucie the other day. She'd be filming a show up on top of some skyscrapers that were being built in New York City (ah, the glamorous life of a TV producer) and between the wind and the cold, her already Jolie-esque lips looked like she'd had one collagen injection too many. Which, although not such an abnormal thing in Los Angeles, was painful and dry, and on the verge of bleeding. She wasn't happy. Luckily I had some comfrey oil on the stove (actually on the yogurt machine, but stove sounds better), so by the time she got to my house, her new lip balm was solidifying in the fridge.
Winter lips hurt. Luckily, relief is available, if not in your garden then from ingredients found at any health food store. It's so unbelievably easy to make herbal oils and salves, and they are great to have on hand in case you are shooting a TV show up on top of a skyscraper. Or in my case, going skiing in a week ;).
Winter lip stick
To make herbal oils:
Take equal parts plant matter (in my case comfrey leaf and calendula flower) and add to equal parts carrier oil. I use coconut oil most of the time, but lard, and tallow are amazing, and plenty of people use olive oil. So take equal parts (volume) plant matter and oil, and set over a very very low heat for at least 4 hours. If you have a crock pot or a yogurt maker, you can put the whole lot in a mason jar and leave it in that for a while. I leave mine for up to 5 days. When it's ready, strain out the plant matter, and put in an airtight container. You now have an oil that is infused with the medicinal properties of whatever it was you were using.
A few examples of some commonly found plants that make great herbal oils to have around:
Goldenrod: eases muscle pains and cramps, helps to heal injuries, soothes sore tired feet
Comfrey: Good for anything broken. Really lovely and soothing. Key component of my broken bone salve, great for any kind of cut or wound, as long as it's not infected-- it'll heal it over so fast that infections can get stuck under the skin.
Calendula: Great for cuts where there's raised, red skin like a cat-scratch. Soothing, nourishing, great for almost all skin complaints.
Yarrow: Stops bleeding.
Plantain: For bug bites, almost instant relief. For spider bites, sites where it's never quite healed. For skin irritations, rashes, itches, wounds, you name it.
Creosote: Bug bites, infections, fungus.
Horsetail: Joint issues, cartilage issues, goes in my busted knee salve every time.
To make the lip balm:
makes 1 jar, or 3 sticks
1 tsp comfrey oil
1 tsp calendula oil
1 tsp plantain oil
1 tsp beeswax
3 drops geranium essential oil
3 drops camphor essential oil
You can use any container-- I used to save little jars from things like eye cream or old lip balm sticks (you can soak them in hot water to melt out the lip balm, then wash them, and replace with your own!). Or you can buy packaging (and herbs) from places like Mountain Rose Herbs. And you can use any combination of herbal oils. No comfrey? Use plantain and calendula. Experiment!
Over low heat, melt all the ingredients together. Don't let it boil. Remove from the heat, and add the essential oils. Pour immediately into the container, and allow to solidify.