Maggie Pope
is a Medical Herbalist

Practising in
Bridgwater, Somerset

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March, 2013

Itchy skin cream

Sometimes, when a rash of itchy spots springs up your first concern is not to get a correct diagnosis but to STOP THE ITCHING.

 

You can find out what the cause is later, but if you just want to stop being driven crazy by constant itching, and if you have a patch of chickweed growing near you [lets face it, we all have…] then you can deal with the itching while you wait for an appointment with your GP [or a medical herbalist] for a diagnosis if necessary.

Lots of rashes and spots come and go, and I’m not suggesting that you need a check up. If the spots bother you and they last a good while then mebbe you could get them seen to, especially if you feel ill and/or are running a fever.

HOWEVER, back to common itchy spots and rashes caused by bites or cysts or eczema or something you touched that didn’t agree with you…

First, the chickweed Stellaria media.  Grows everywhere – except, annoyingly, not in my garden – so I have to visit my daughter a 10 minutes walk away to gather what I need.

Chickweed Stellaria media

 

This is the stuff. A low-growing, sprawling plant with lots of tiny tiny white flowers. If you are not sure if your weed is Stellaria then pick a stalk and look closely at the stem. Chickweed has one line of fine white hairs running down one side. Just a line of hairs, not all over the place and the line moves round 90 degrees on the stem each time it is bisected by a pair of leaves. If you see this line of hairs, you have Chickweed.

BTW, if you are hungry you can eat it. This was a healthy addition the the Victorian salad. Wash it thoroughly [think dogs and cats].

If you are still itching you can chop up the washed and drained weed and squeeze the juice out into a bowl with your bare hands and just wipe it on. Even better, you can make a cream to carry around with you, keep in your bathroom or by your bed, or have in your first aid kit.

You will need:

50ml oil. Any cold pressed oil should do. Sweet Almond Oil, Grapeseed, Virgin Olive. [I used a Ribwort infused oil which I had already]

15g beeswax. You can buy pellets from places like Neal’s Yard, Baldwin’s, or www.aromantic.co.uk

50ml chickweed juice

Fresh Chickweed Juice

 

This is the measured out fresh chickweed juice. Look at its vibrant colour! You have to measure very carefully, this isn’t a Jamie Oliver bung-it-all-in cake recipe. When you have measured out the juice you put the dish into a bowl of very hot water to heat it up. The juice and the oil have to be combined at the same temperature.

Tip the beeswax into the oil and heat in a pan of water on a hot plate. Don’t mess with just bowls of hot water here or you will be waiting all evening for the wax to melt, trust me, go in with the big guns…

Bees wax pellets melting in oil

 

When the wax has melted and the juice is hot, start to drip the juice into the oil with a pipette or similar and take an electric whisk to it. You are whisking the juice into the oil slowly, till it’s gradually all incorporated. Use the slowest speed, but please, use an electric whisk or it will never come together…

Pipette the juice into the hot oil drip by drip

Keep whisking till it is thick and creamy. Difficult to describe, but  when you see it you will know. Now, I should have taken a photo of the whisking process, but I was on my own and didn’t have enough hands. I did however take a pic of the finished cream in jars:

Finished cream in jars

 

This, my friends, is fresh Chickweed cream. It should keep 6 months in the fridge, or even longer if you add a preservative like Borax etc. Look up preservatives on the aromantic website and choose a suitable one.

I will just add that a few days after making this cream an elderly woman came to me with an itchy cyst on her back. ‘Do you have anything for itchy spots?’ she asked. You betcha! She told me it took less than 5 minutes for the itch to disappear. Satisfying.

 

For comparison purposes the picture below is of a commercially produced chickweed cream: I prefer the greenness of the fresh juice myself..

Bland commercially produced chickweed cream

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