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Roundup Exposure and the Battle for Justice, Part 3: Finding a Roundup Alternative

This is an installment in an op-ed series inspecting the Roundup herbicide legal challenges. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

2019 is a year many people have waited for. For once it appears that a major corporation is paying out compensation to those injured by its product. Another case was recently decided against Bayer’s Roundup product in the amount of two billion dollars (yes, billion with a B). Roundup exposure lawyers have brought over 13,000 cases against the company. Additionally, many cities and communities across the country are outright banning Roundup.

This has prompted Bayer to commit $5.6 Billion into finding a glyphosate alternative. It may be safe to say that Roundup will begin to decline in use. But if Roundup, the world’s leading herbicide is going to be replaced, what will it be replaced with?

Pesticides in Food Production

Herbicides and pesticides are an important part of mass food production, and it’s safe to say they won’t be going anywhere. It is certainly no secret that when you are dealing with chemicals designed to kill living plants, insects and fungi, there are likely going to be unwanted side effects associated with them. It is quite a task to create something which is designed to kill one thing, and not harm another. Not to say it cannot be done, but it is certainly a complex issue.

One possible replacement for Roundup may be fluorine-based pesticides. These pesticides are showing a lot of promise to commercial industries. I first came across this proposal in a report titled Fluoride and Fluorinated Pesticides Market 2019-2024.

The report talks a lot about the advantages of fluorine-based pesticides, mostly in relation to killing insects, and controlling fungus, but there are also fluorine-containing herbicides as well. In fact, the controversy surrounding fluorine-based pesticides is nothing new. In 2011, the EPA moved to begin phasing out certain fluorine-based herbicides.

Why Fluorine Pesticides?

Fluorine-based pesticides are being considered as a better alternative to existing pesticides for a few reasons. Rather than explain the reasons that these types of pesticides are being considered myself I will leave it to those in the industry.

“Fluorine-containing pesticides have the advantages of high selectivity, high suitability, high added value, low cost, low toxicity, low residue, and environmental friendliness, and are the trend of modern pesticide development.” [Market Talk News]

Supposing that all of the above is true, it appears that fluorine-containing pesticides could possibly become one of the leading herbicides to replace Roundup. Though this is not a claim made by the industry directly, Roundup is likely going to be replaced, and these types of pesticides will likely be considered. As one possible alternative to Roundup, it is important to look at the risks which fluorine-based herbicides could pose. Whether or not these fluorine-based herbicides will be the new standard or not, fluorine-based pesticides are already in use, and there is certainly a push to expand their usage.

Are Fluorine-containing Pesticides Safe for Human Consumption?

This is perhaps one of the biggest medical debates that there is today. For the sake of clarification, fluoride is a chemical compound which is based on the fluorine element. Fluorine is the elemental form, fluoride is a compound. In treated city water fluorine is often found in the form of sodium fluoride. Of course, there are subtle differences between the effects of different fluoride compounds, and fluorine itself. Fluorine in its pure form is highly toxic, but the debate begins when talking about fluoride compounds and dosages.

Due to the difficulty in filtering through truth and fiction when it comes to fluoride safety, I asked a professional. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, a nutrition, diet and health expert, helped cut to the heart of the issue.

Here is what she had to say: 

“Fluoride is a poison.” 

Simple and straight to the point! But, she also goes on to explain some of the specific risks associated with long term fluoride exposure.

“Several U.S. and Chinese studies have shown that young children who drink water with fluoride levels >1.0 mg/L have a significantly lower IQ. Learning disabilities, including diminished reading and writing ability are attributed to fluoride.

“Boys who drank water containing fluoride levels, considered to be safe by federal guidelines, are 5 times more likely to have osteosarcoma (a rare bone cancer) than boys who drank unfluoridated water as young children. Research worldwide strongly suggests that fluoride is responsible for other diseases including those associated with kidney, liver, thyroid gland, and reproductive organs.

“Fluoride ion clearly interferes with the biological activity of magnesium ion. And since magnesium does so much in the body, the side effects are often too widespread to recognize or even quantify.” - Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, bestselling Author of The Magnesium Miracle and Hormone Balance.

Of course, there is a lot of science to back her statements up too. Fluoride is one of the most “bone-seeking” elements known. According to The Untold Story of Fluoridation: Revisiting the Changing Perspectives, a study on the NCBI site:

“Fluoride is an acute toxin, with a rating slightly higher than lead. It is, in fact, one of the most bone-seeking elements known to human beings. Excess fluoride causes several diseases, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, brittle bones, cancer, infertility in women, brain damage, Alzheimer's disease, and thyroid disorders.”

To summarize, there are certainly long term risks associated with fluoride consumption. Fluoride is already in the water, adding more fluoride to our diets in the form of herbicides and pesticides, is likely not a great idea. But, it is also only one possible Roundup alternative.

Other Roundup Alternatives

Of course there are many, many, many alternatives to Roundup which exist already. Many such as atrazine, have been sparking controversy for years. There are too many possible alternatives to cover in one place. It will be interesting to see which rise to the top, here is an article on Roundup alternatives. With Bayer having slated $5.6 Billion into finding an alternative, it will be interesting and important to see what alternatives are being proposed.

Despite the focus on the victories people are having in court due to Roundup exposure, it’s important to remember that there are many other harmful or potentially harmful chemical compounds in agricultural use. With the likelihood of Roundup being replaced as the world’s leading herbicides, we need to be vigilant that we aren’t replacing it with something much worse. Of course, the simple solution is to buy organic, grow your own food, and grow food with your community.

Unfortunately, avoiding the many chemicals in food production is not easily achieved, especially for those who struggle financially. Awareness and being active in spreading that awareness are crucial as we continue to make it through a society laced with 1000’s of chemicals. Together we can make changes for the better, but it will take time.

Douglas Dedrick is a professional landscaper, and writer on lawn care, plant nutrition, human health, and law topics. His writing can also be found at HealingLaw.com.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Herb Infused Waters for Summer Hydration

Hydration is key when summer hits, and while I love ice water, sometimes a hint of flavor can make water feel a bit more special. Plus, herb infused water is an easy upgrade when entertaining, your guests will be impressed!

You can use any combo of herbs, fruits, and edible flowers that you like, here are some of my favorite combos:

1. Lemon Balm and Mint: lemon balm has a sweet lemony flavor that add brightness while mint will add that refreshing cooling effect. Lemon balm is known to relieve digestive problems, anxiety, lower blood pressure, aid in concentration and is antiviral (1). Mint is known to also relieve digestive bloat, upset stomach and vomiting (1). A lemon balm and mint water infusion would be great on a hot day, when you might need a mood lift or feel extra stressed.

2. Watermelon and Basil: cubed watermelon adds a touch of sweetness while basil pairs well with summer fruit. Basil improves circulation and soothes headaches while being antimicrobial (1). The contrast of pink plus green makes a great spring and summer refresher. Watermelon can also be substituted with strawberries for a fun twist.

3.Mint and Cucumber: cucumber water is classic ‘spa water’. Add sliced cucumbers to impart a touch of flavor and add mint, which can relieve upset stomach and cools you down at the same time.

4. Chamomile: alone, chamomile has a sweet apple flavor, pair it with lavender, lemon balm or stevia leaves for a sweeter twist on herb water. Chamomile is known to promote relaxation and relieve stress, ease stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea (1) and is also loved by children. The cute white flowers will give this infusion a feminine look, great for a girls day or night.

5. Strawberry and thyme: strawberries add vitamins, sweetness and a pale pink hue. Thyme adds a distinct herbal flavor and brings benefits such as soothing sore throats, stimulating the immune system and can help fight urinary infections (1). Together they make a tasty pairing fit for any summer entertaining, or as a treat after an afternoon working in the garden.

Water infused with herbs is a healthy, sugar free alternative for any time of the year, but especially refreshing during the warm months. When infusing waters, roughly chop, tear or bruise the herbs to release their oils and scent. In a pitcher or large mason jar, infuse water and herbs for a least 2-4 hours before serving for the best flavor. Throw in a few edible flowers such as calendula, pansies, borage, rose petals or chamomile for an extra layer of color and interest. There is no wrong or right combination when it comes to infusing water with herbs- use the flavors you like and use the herbs you have on hand!

(1) Chown, Vicky; Walker, Kim. The Handmade Apothecary. Sterling Ethos, 2017.

Nicole Wilkey transitioned from a corporate job to small-scale farmer in 2015. Since then she has run California based Flicker Farm to accommodate meat pigs, mini Juliana pigs, pasture based poultry and sells goats milk soap and lotion on Etsy. Connect with Nicole on Instagram and Facebook


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Growing, Propagating and Using Aloe Vera

aloe vera plant

If you only have a little space in your garden, or perhaps even just a balcony or a sunny windowsill, you should definitely try growing some Aloe vera. Easy to care for, aesthetically pleasing, and very useful, these plants have been a fixture in hot climate gardens for a long time. 

Aloe vera is a succulent perennial evergreen plant that originates in the arid, hot climate of the Arabian Peninsula, which means it is ideally suited for dry, semi-desert conditions, and does very well with frugal watering. Keep your plant in well-drained soil and allow it to drain thoroughly between waterings. Aloe vera does great as a potted plant or planted directly in the soil. You will probably need to water more often if you keep your plant in a pot, though.

Most gardening guides say that aloe vera does best in full sun, but I have found that in a very hot climate such as ours, with many hours of glaring sunlight each day, my aloe plants get burned in full sun and the tips of their leaves dry up. I keep mine in dappled shade underneath a large mango tree, and they thrive that way.

Aloe propagates by offshoots, which means that once your mother plant is big enough, you will have new little plants growing from the bottom. Make sure you have enough room for them all, as they can multiply really fast once they get going! To separate the young plants, dig gently around the roots, reach down and, moving the roots around, disengage the offshoot from the mother plant. If you grow your aloe in a pot and the offshoots are close to the pot’s sides, you might have to remove the whole cluster of plants, separate the young ones, and put the mother plant back in.

You can also try collecting aloe vera seeds. The plant has tall, impressive flower stalks with multiple yellow-orange blossoms. Once the flowers dry up completely, you can collect and germinate the seeds, but I have never bothered, because offshoots are by far the easiest way to get more plants.

A small pot with a young aloe vera plant can be a great gift to neighbors and friends. I like to give mine away to whoever happens to stop by, and always have plants to spare. 

Aloe vera gel has wonderful cooling and soothing properties. Use it on burns or insect bites to reduce itching and swelling. I like to keep a few aloe vera leaves in the freezer and use them as needed. The gel quickly defrosts when applied to the bite or burn, providing the additional soothing comfort of cold. 

Image source: Creative Commons

Anna Twitto’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Anna, her husband, and their four children live on the outskirts of a small town in northern Israel. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. Anna's books are on her Amazon.com Author PageConnect with Anna on Facebook and read more about her current projects on her blogRead all Anna's Mother Earth News posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Dandelion Benefits Biodiversity, Soil and Your Health

Dandelion Field With Blue Sky

Photo by pixel2013

Did you know there are tons of amazing and medicinal actions dandelions can perform for both your health and the earth? Just to confirm, yes you read that correctly: We are absolutely talking about those yellow flower bearing “weeds” that seem to grow just about anywhere and everywhere.

To many people, these highly prolific plants, are often thought of as a nuisance or an eyesore amongst a garden or well-kept lawn. However, if more people knew about some of the incredible actions dandelions can perform, they would likely be welcomed in any garden, lawn, or pathway.

Dandelion’s Benefits to Biodiversity and Soils

Dandelions play a very important role in the livelihood of many ecosystems, as they are one of the first blooming plants in springtime. This makes dandelion an essential food for bees and other pollinating insects in the early spring months, when most varieties of flowers have not yet bloomed. Getting some fuel from dandelions, bees and other insects then go on to do the important job of pollinating numerous plants and crops. In fact, the Urban Pollinators Project housed at the University of Bristol, found that dandelions are the most visited urban plant by important pollinators out of all plants growing in urban settings.

Not only do dandelions help support the pollinator populations, they are also extremely helpful in facilitating healthy soils. One of the ways they do so is by restoring soil mineral content. This in turn produces more nutrient dense fruits, vegetables, and other crops. This is especially important in areas where soil has been degraded of essential minerals from industrial farming practices.

Dandelions have also been found to help create drainage pathways in compact soils. This can prevent the stagnation of ground water and potential puddling in a garden or flooding in an ecosystem. Because of this, dandelions can be highly beneficial to your garden, especially if you’re growing root vegetables (beets, carrots, potatoes, etc.) in dense soil.

Health Benefits of Dandelion

Inflammation. Incorporating Dandelions into your day-to-day can be very beneficial for your health as the functions they can perform when ingested are vast and varying. For starters, this yellow “super plant” is very anti-inflammatory which is extremely important for overall vitality. A 2006 Harvard Health study has stated that chronic inflammation can be thought of as the common factor in causing most illnesses.

Digestion. Dandelions have been seen to help with a variety of digestive disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, heartburn, and constipation. When taken prior to a meal, they can increase your body’s natural production of hydrochloric acid, which in turn aids with protein digestion.

Kidney support. Dandelions are also considered a “diuretic” and support the kidneys in reducing water retention. Believe it or not, dandelions can also help with detoxification and support the liver with the numerous actions it performs to rid our bodies of toxins.

Skin. Just in case you aren’t convinced of dandelions super powers; you should know that even its stem can be useful! Dandelion stems are filled with a substance that can be used topically on unwanted skin conditions such as warts.

So now that you know some of the many ways dandelions are incredibly helpful for both human health and the earth, the next time you see one you might choose to marvel at it, honor it for its amazingness, or pick it to use it. Stay tuned for Part 2 to learn how to incorporate dandelions into your diet in a variety of unique ways such as, your salads, stirfrys, teas, and even baked goods!

Meghan De Jong is the founder of Meg De Jong Nutrition, her personal nutrition platform, which offers tons of seasonal recipes, food growing tips, and nutrition education. She works with clients one on one to provide “garden-to-kitchen” nutrition support, and is the author of e-book entitled Eat to Nourish. She currently is creating a 4-part guide to seasonal eating. Check out the spring edition, then connect with Meg on Facebook and Instagram.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Healing Herbal Salves: Chickweed, Calendula and Cannabis

 

The growing season can provide many different medicines straight from your yard or garden, sometimes wild and sometimes cultivated. Here are a few of my favorites to make for our family from our farm:

Chickweed Salve

Chickweed is a wild, edible "weed" that pops up in the cool weather of late winter and early spring in our area of Northern California. Nutritious {full of trace minerals and vitamins} and delicious in a salad, Chickweed applied topically also has a cooling, drying and healing effect on the skin which can aid in treatment of minor burns, cuts, rashes and bug bites. Also acting as an astringent, a compress of fresh Chickweed is helpful in pulling out splinters. Chickweed can be identified by the single line of hairs that run along the stalk and the cute white flowers that bloom with maturity.

To make a topical salve, cut your desired amount of plant, equal to the volume of oil you will be using, and allow to wilt overnight. Wilting the Chickweed decreases the moisture content, which decreases the chance of spoiling your infusion while still allowing the fresh properties of the plants to be used. After wilting overnight, cover the chickweed in the oil{s} of your choice for infusion. I also like to run this through the blender a bit to really increase the surface area of the plant for infusion. To maximize the strength of the infusion, using a crock pot on the lowest setting {‘warm’ on my model} heat the chickweed and oil mixture until dark green in color, over several hours. Once infused and darkened in color, strain the solids out with a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Mix 1 cup of infused oil with 1oz of beeswax {more in very hot climates} to create a solid salve and store in a glass jar or metal tins.

Calendula Salve

Calendula not only makes for bright and cheery flowers in the garden, the edible petals can add some fun to a salad and make a healing salve to use year round. Calendula comes in a range of colors from yellows, to pinks, to oranges. Calendula has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, a muscle relaxer, antimicrobial, and to promote wound healing. Think of it like a herbal Neosporin! Calendula is very easy to grow and easily reseeds itself for years of harvests. To make a topical salve you’ll want to harvest the flowers just after blooming and before setting seeds, cut at the bottom of the flower head right where it meets the stem. The more you cut, the more will bloom! Dry these flower heads where they have good airflow {to prevent mold} until fully dry, then infuse the oil{s} of your choice over a period of weeks until your infusion is golden in color. Strain the spent flowers through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth and either compost the flowers or I sometimes feed them to my chickens for any leftover nutrition. Mix 1 cup of this infused oil with 1oz of beeswax {more in very hot climates} and store in glass jars or metal tins.

Cannabis Salve

Another favorite topical salve of mine is cannabis salve for pain, healing and more. For more details on the why and the how you can find my article on cannabis here.

If DIY isn’t your thing but you would like the benefits of either chickweed or calendula salve, you can find both in my Etsy shop here, straight from our farm!

Growing, harvesting and crafting homemade salves can be a rewarding and easy way to incorporate more of nature into your life.

Nicole Wilkey transitioned from a corporate job to small-scale farmer in 2015. Since then she has run California based Flicker Farm to accommodate meat pigs, mini Juliana pigs, pasture based poultry and sells goats milk soap and lotion on Etsy. Connect with Nicole on Instagram and Facebook.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Roundup Exposure and the Battle for Justice, Part 2: The Battle Continues

 

Read Part 1 to this story, published December 2018.

The weedkiller Roundup has long been a topic of controversy, and cause for concern. More and more, we are seeing that the concern surrounding the weed killer was not without reason.

It’s no secret that there are currently a lot of lawsuits pending against Monsanto. In fact, as of 2019, there are over 11,000 lawsuits pending against the company over its Roundup product. Though these cases have been slow-moving, they are moving, and the latest case is not looking good for Monsanto.

Second Lawsuit is Ending in Decision Against Monsanto

Here’s the deal, on March 19th, 2019 a jury unanimously decided that Roundup was a “substantial factor” in the development of Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).

This lawsuit is set to be the second case ever to be decided against Monsanto over Roundup. Additionally, it has a lot in common with the first case which was decided in favor of a groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson. This could make Edwin Hardeman, a California resident, may be the second individual to be awarded damages over Monsanto’s Roundup product.

Since, the 1980’s Hardeman, who is now 70, has used Roundup to control weeds on his 56-acre property. His life took a turn when, in 2015, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This form of blood cancer was the same type of cancer Mr. Johnson had developed. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a form of cancer which is commonly thought to be caused by the weedkiller Roundup.

The judge in charge of the trial, Judge Vince Chhabria, split the trial into two parts. In the first part of the trial, the jury was to decide whether Roundup was a “substantial factor” in Mr. Hardeman’s NHL or not. To this question, the jury unanimously said it was. Now, in the second phase of the trial, the jury will determine whether Monsanto should be held responsible for Hardeman’s cancer or not.

Evidence Used in the Case

Hardeman’s case relied on evidence from about 30 studies which link glyphosate, the active compound in Roundup, to a range of cancers, and other biological disorders. One study showed that Roundup can disrupt proper cell division in sea urchins. A second study showed that Roundup, in particular, is more toxic to the human umbilical cord than glyphosate alone.

Additionally, the case also relied heavily on the World Health Organization's classification of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen” in 2015. This classification has lead to many lawsuits like Hardeman’s, and many of them will be heard throughout 2019.

Multiple 2019 Studies Link Glyphosate Use to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

More and more information is linking Roundup to cancer. Most specifically, chronic use of Roundup appears to be linked to NHL. With all the publicity surrounding these lawsuits, a lot of new studies are being conducted to test Roundup’s safety.

In fact, recent meta-data research conducted in 2019 found that exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides increased the risk of NHL by 41%.

Another study, published in March of 2019, analyzed farmers from Norway, France, and the US. It was found that risks of NHL were elevated in farmers who used glyphosate-based herbicides.

Lawsuits on Roundup Moving Forward

These types of cases are far from over. Another trial is set to begin in April of 2019, and currently, with over 11,000 cases pending against the company, this will not likely be the last of such cases decided against Monsanto. If you want to follow the lawsuits as they unfold, a great source is the “Monsanto Papers”, by the US Right To Know. Stay tuned, there is a lot more to come.

UPDATE: Within a few hours of writing this article it came out that the jury awarded Mr. Hardeman $80 million dollars for the damages caused by Roundup.

If you are looking for alternative forms of weed control there are plenty of great alternatives to Roundup. There is a lot of articles on natural weed control on Mother Earth News which are worth checking out. Here are a few:

Control Garden Weeds Organically

Horticultural Vinegar for Weed Control

Late Summer and Fall Intercropping

Read Part 1 to this story, published December 2018.

Douglas Dedrick is a professional landscaper, and writer on lawn care, plant nutrition, human health, and law topics. His writing can also be found at HealingLaw.com


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Skin-Soothing Chamomile and Olive Oil Body Butter Recipe

Chamomile Body Butter Recipe Ingredients

Photo ©Michael Piazza Photography. Used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Your skin “eats”. Did you know that?

It sure does!  It “eats” or absorbs up to 60 percent of what you apply to it (to what degree depends on age, condition and temperature of your skin, state of current health, and the molecular size of product ingredients).

Now that you’re aware of this, doesn’t it make you want to use only those body oils, lotions, creams, and body butters that are made with natural ingredients versus products concocted with synthetics and deleterious fillers (artificial colors, fragrances, mineral oil, propylene glycol, parabens, etc.)?  As a licensed holistic esthetician, herbalist, aromatherapist, and author, I’ve formulated skin and body care recipes for the last three decades and I’ve figured out — with much trial and error - how to design these recipes so that the average home cook can become a master kitchen cosmetologist — able to churn out effective personal care products that rival their commercial counterparts.

All-natural skin conditioners, whether rich and semi-heavy or light and silky, improve the skin’s barrier function by sealing in moisture and preventing evaporation.  They also lubricate your skin, improving overall suppleness and elasticity. Applying some type of nurturing conditioner, be it a hydrating moisturizer, silky body oil, or thick butter (like the recipe below) or balm, is a daily essential, a vitally important skin care step that should never be skipped.

Chamomile and Olive Body Butter Recipe

Homemade Body Butter Chamomile Recipe

Chamomile and Olive Body Butter, photo by Stephanie Tourles

This herbal butter deeply feeds your skin from the outside and especially benefits inflamed, irritated skin.  It also makes a fabulous cleansing cream and facial moisturizer for all skin types and a wonderful nail conditioning cream. It even works well to moisturize the ends of dry, frizzy hair if applied sparingly, and is a restorative after-sun cream.

This recipe includes both German chamomile (Matricaria recutita, syn. M. chamomilla) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile, syn. Anthemis nobilis) essential oils.  When combined, they offer many beneficial properties for uncomfortable, distressed skin: calming, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, analgesic, and antihistamine.

Important tips: Read this before you start melting and blending any ingredients! Blending homemade creams, lotions, and body butters takes practice.  You’re attempting to combine oily and fatty ingredients with water-based ones — which naturally repel each other — and get them to stabilize chemically and form an emulsion. Just as occurs with homemade mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, or gravy, though, when watery ingredients and fats are blended properly and at the right temperatures, magic happens! A fabulous cream appears right before your eyes.

In order for everything to blend properly, the fatty mixture should be approximately the same temperature as the watery mixture — about body temperature or slightly cooler.

To make your body butter thicker or firmer, add a tad more beeswax or shea butter. Experiment and see which one produces the consistency and texture you like best. Shea butter will always remain softer than beeswax and it takes much, much longer than beeswax to thicken as it cools.

Prep Time: Approximately 30 minutes, plus 30 minutes to completely cool and set up

Yields approximately 2 ¼ cups

Ingredients:

• ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil or chamomile-infused olive oil
•¼ cup unrefined coconut oil
•2 Tablespoons beeswax or vegetable emulsifying wax
•1 Tablespoon shea butter (refined or unrefined)
•1 cup distilled or purified water; or chamomile, lavandin, lavender, or rosemary hydrosol
•1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
•10 capsules 200 IU vitamin E oil
•30 drops German chamomile essential oil
•30 drops Roman chamomile essential oil

Note: You may add ¼ cup of commercial aloe vera gel or juice for added skin-healing benefits, but if you do this, please reduce the water or hydrosol to ¾ cup.

Directions:

1. Heat.  In a small saucepan over low heat or in a double boiler, warm the olive oil, coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter until the solids are just melted. Do not allow to simmer, just gently warm the ingredients. In another small pan, warm the water or hydrosol (and aloe vera gel or juice – if you decided to use it) and the vegetable glycerin, and stir a few times until the glycerin dissolves in the liquid.

2. Cool.  Remove both pans from the heat.  Pour the oils/wax/shea butter mixture into a blender and allow to cool for approximately 10 to 20 minutes, or until it begins to turn slightly opaque. Leave the lid off the blender during the cooling process. Time will vary depending on the temperature of your ingredients and kitchen. DO NOT walk away and forget what you are doing and allow this mixture to get too thick or it will not blend properly and you may have a difficult time getting it out of your blender.

3. Blend.  Now, place the lid on the blender and remove the lid’s center plastic piece. Turn the blender on medium speed. Slowly drizzle the water and glycerin through the center of the lid into the vortex of swirling fats below. Almost immediately the cream will turn off-white to very pale yellow and will begin to thicken.

If the watery mixture is not properly combining with the fatty mixture, turn off the blender and give the body butter a few stirs with a spatula, being sure to scrape down any residue from the sides of the blender container. Then replace the lid and blend on medium speed for another 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat this process once or twice more, if necessary, until the texture is smooth.

Turn off the blender and add the vitamin E oil (pierce the capsule skin and squeeze the contents into the mix) and essential oils. Put the lid back on, then blend for another 5 seconds or so, until the body butter is smooth and thick. It should be a pale greenish-blue color.

4. Package and cool. Pour or spoon the finished body butter into dark glass or plastic storage containers(s) — 1- to 4-ounce containers are recommended. Lightly cover each container with a paper towel and allow the blend to cool for about 30 minutes before capping and labeling.

To Store:  This body butter is best stored in a dark, cool cabinet. Use within 60 to 90 days. If your storage area is very warm, please use the butter within 4 weeks for maximum potency and freshness. On the day you notice any mold growing in your container, toss it out and make a fresh batch.

If, after a few hours or days, water begins to separate from your body butter, don’t worry. You can pour off the watery liquid and use the resulting super-thick product as a foot, shin, knee, or elbow balm. The mixture can separate if the temperature of the fatty ingredients and that of the watery ingredients are not relatively equal and cool enough when the two portions are blended. Keep trying — making perfect creams and butters is an art!

To Apply: Immediately following a bath or shower, slather this butter on your damp skin — really massage it in. Because it’s very concentrated, begin with 1 teaspoon at a time. If your skin has an oily residue after 5 minutes, you’ve used too much. Simply wipe off the excess with a towel and use less next time around. Body butter may be used daily, if desired.

Recipe excerpted from Pure Skin Care: Nourishing Recipes for Vibrant Skin & Natural Beauty (c2018 by Stephanie Tourles). Photo ©Michael Piazza Photography. Used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Book Cover Pure Skin Care

Stephanie Tourles is a licensed holistic aesthetician, certified aromatherapist, and gardener with training in Western and Ayurvedic herbalism. She has also written many other books, including her best-selling, Organic Body Care RecipesHands-On Healing RemediesRaw Energy In a GlassRaw Energy; Pure Skin Care; and Naturally Bug-Free (all available in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Store). Visit her website www.StephanieTourles.com to learn more, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.






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