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Botanical Medicine Making: DIY Lymphatic Support Serum and Body Butter

Monday, December 12th 2022 10:00am 5 min read
Dr. Jessica Renfer drjessica.nd

Licensed naturopathic doctor with expertise in lifestyle transformation, healing from chronic disease and natural fertility & preconception.

Botanical Medicine Making: DIY Lymphatic Support Serum

A wonderful way to upgrade our health is to make small changes to our daily health and beauty habits that add extra layers of support! One of my favorites is making facial serums, massage oils and body butters with added herbs to support lymphatic drainage in addition to all the other skin healing benefits. Homemade products always feel like they are extra potent, being fresh, with only natural preservatives and created with love and intention. Additionally, there is less waste, less plastic use so it is part of a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.

A foundational recipe for a decade or more has been an Herbal Facial Serum and Botanical Body Butter, both using a base of herbs infused into a carrier oil, then blended with other oils, butters and essential oils to amplify the benefits! There are so many options for what herbs to choose, so in this recipe I included a few that naturally support skin healing and lymphatic drainage.

Supply List

  1. Sterilized Glass Jars (Can sterilize with boiling water)
  2. Carrier Oil(s)
    • Organic Olive Oil or Avocado Oil are good options as they are liquid at room temperature and also don’t spoil easily like some others. Olive Oil is traditionally used in herbalism.
  3. Dried Herbs (Need about 1/2 cup of each)
    • My go to supplier is Mountain Rose Herbs for bulk dry herbs, however most of you will be able to find a local apothecary which is ideal as you are supporting local business. Otherwise Starwest Botanicals and Frontier are also good options.
    • Organic Green Tea: The caffeine stimulates the lymphatic system and the high antioxidant levels support reducing inflammation, and supporting health of skin cells as well as deeper.
    • Organic Calendula: Classic herb for skin health, supports skin healing, is high in carotenoids (antioxidants), and also has skin clearing and lymphatic drainage support qualities (more so when drunk as a tea, however it has so many benefits that I always include it in my beauty products)
    • Gotu Kola: Herbs for tissue integrity, reduces scar tissue and such. Great herb, a little harder to find so if you can’t its ok!
    • Organic Dried Ginger: Ginger massaged onto the skin is warming and definitely supports lymphatic drainage.
    • Other Herbs to Consider: These are herbs I included in a product I used to make for lymphatic drainage: Galium (Cleavers), Rose Petals, Yarrow, Mugwort
      • When choosing herbs, see what you are intuitively drawn to!
  4. Phytolacca Oil (Wise Woman Herbals makes this and you can order it on FullScript)
    • Phytolacca (Poke Root) is an amazing herb for supporting lymphatic drainage topically, it is toxic when taken at high doses internally (it can be used with great effect when under the direction of a qualified herbalist).
  5. Essential Oils: Frankincense for sure, other ones I like to add are Copaiba, Vanilla, Nutmeg, Lemon and Geranium, all of these have benefits for lymphatic drainage among other things! Also it’s nice to make sure it smells good to you so you are excited to use it!

Step One: Making an Herbal Infused Oil:

How to infuse the herbs:
There are two methods:

Both begin the same:

  • Put the herb in the jar and cover with oil. You want to make sure that oil level is above the herbs, otherwise there is a risk for mold.

Method 1:

  • Place the jar in a cupboard with no direct sunlight. I do like to bless the infusion with the sun after mixing together to add the solar magic as sunshine is so supportive for the lymphatic system.
  • Swirl the jar every day.
  • Allow to infuse (macerate is the proper herbalism term) for at least 2 weeks, up to 6 weeks for maximum potency.
  • When the oil is ready filter it into another clean jar with cheese cloth or other thin clean natural fabric. Often it helps to filter multiple times to remove all the plant material.
  • Store the oil in the fridge until you are ready to blend. I also like to store the extra in a cool place for future projects.

Method 2:

  • Use a double boiler set-up:
  • Glass bowl over a pot of simmering hot water on the stove. OR
  • Glass jar in a pot of hot water on the stove (easiest and safest)
  • Heat oil for 2-4 hours over low heat. Keep the jar covered, good method is a piece of cheese cloth with a rubber band around the top, this allows heat to escape but keeps bugs and other things out 🙂
  • Stir every 10 minutes or so. Don’t use plastic stirring device.
  • Turn the heat off and allow it to sit until the water is cool.
  • You can leave this for a few days for added infusion or else use once it is cool enough to pour.
  • When the oil is ready filter it into another clean jar with cheese cloth or other thin clean natural fabric.
  • Store the oil in the fridge.

Offer the herbs back to the earth, honoring the medicine and the earth for her blessings.

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