Bee Balm Intensive Hand Butter

Infuse Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa) flowers and leaves in oil, then combine with shea butter, to make a super-healing hand butter for dry, chapped, or achy hands.

Smooth this rich butter over dry, sore hands at night and wake up to softer skin!

bowl of fresh bee balm flowers above jar of bee balm whipped hand butter

Shea (or Mango) Butter – protects and smooths chapped or rough skin

Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa) Flowers & Leaves – a common garden flower or wildflower in the mint family that attracts pollinators; also called Wild Bergamot; when used externally, it can heal damaged skin and wounds; can also be used for aching joints

Learn more about growing and drying bee balm, plus 8 ways to use it at our family site, Unruly Gardening: How to Grow & Use Bee Balm

Fractionated Coconut Oil – gives an overall lighter feel to the butter, but you can use more infused oil if it’s not available

Rosehip Seed Oil – exceptional for healing damaged skin

Bergamot Essential Oil – optional for scent, check that you’re using bergapten-free, furanocoumarin-free, or bergamot FCF essential oil, to avoid sun sensitivity

jar of oil with dried bee balm flowers and leaves

How to Make Bee Balm Infused Oil

To make this recipe, you’ll first need to make an infused oil.

You don’t need a lot of infused oil in this hand butter recipe, so you may wish to use the leftover oil to make Bee Balm Salve, and/or use the infused oil in the basic lip balm recipes in my article: How to Make Your Own Lip Balm Recipes.

To make infused oil, you’ll need:

Apricot kernel or rice bran oil will give your body butter the lightest, less-greasy feel. Sweet almond and sunflower oil will soak into your skin a little slower.

There are a few ways to infuse oil, we’ll cover a quick way, a medium way, and a slower way.




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The Quick Infusing Method

This method works best if you don’t have the time or desire to wait a few weeks for infused oil.

  1. Fill a glass canning jar 1/4 to 1/2 of the way with crumbled up dried bee balm flowers and/or leaves.
  2. Fill the jar almost to the top with your chosen oil – you can also mix and match your favorite oils. Choose quick absorbing oils (rice bran, apricot kernel, grapeseed, jojoba, etc) for a faster absorbing body butter.
  3. Set the uncovered jar down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water, forming a makeshift double boiler of sorts.
  4. Place the pan over a low burner and heat for around 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Don’t allow the water to evaporate out of the pan, and monitor the oil while it’s heating.
  6. Remove from the heat and strain out enough oil for your recipe when needed. You can top off the jar with more oil and allow it to continue infusing the slow way until needed again.
  7. Store the remaining infused oil in a dark spot or cabinet out of direct sunlight and heat. Shelf life should be about 1+ year.

The Medium Sunny Window Infusing Method

  1. Repeat steps 1 and 2 from above, and fill a jar with crumbled bee balm flowers/leaves and fill with oil. Put a lid on the jar.
  2. Place the jar in a warm sunny window for a week or two, then transfer to a darker spot to infuse another week or so. The heat from the warm sunny window helps gently speed up the infusing process a bit.

The Slower Traditional Infusing Method

  1. This way requires more patience and time, but results in a strongly infused and lovely oil.
  2. Repeat steps 1 and 2 above, and fill a jar with crumbled dried flowers/leaves and oil.
  3. Instead of infusing over heat, you’ll put a lid on the jar and tuck it away in a cabinet or on a shelf and let it infuse for at least 4 to 6 weeks, shaking occasionally as you remember to.
  4. Strain out the oil needed for your recipe.
jar of hand cream surrounded by bee balm flowers and leaves and rosehips

Bee Balm Intensive Hand Butter

Now, we’re ready to make the hand butter!


Directions to Make

  1. Combine infused oil, fractionated coconut oil, and shea butter in a wide mouth pint jar, or other tall narrow container.
  2. Place the jar in a saucepan containing a few inches of water, forming a double boiler.
  3. Heat over low heat, just until the shea butter melts.
  4. Remove from heat and cool for about 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the rosehip seed oil.
  6. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it starts solidifying.
  7. Using one beater in a hand mixer, whip on medium-high to high speed until light and fluffy.
  8. You may need to add an extra tablespoon or two of oil when mixing to help the product become lighter and fluffier. This is more likely in cool climates.
  9. Add the essential oil and beat for another 30 seconds.
  10. Store in the mixing jar, or spoon into smaller jars.

Yield: fills about four 4-ounces jars

Hand butter can also be used on other dry areas, such as feet, knees, elbows, etc.

This recipe can also be found in my Big Book of Homemade Products!

You can find it on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller.

book cover that says "The Big Book of Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home by Jan Berry" beside a photo of different colored cleansing grains in mini wooden bowls and clear glass tubes
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  1. thank you for sharing your knowledge. I was looking for a perrenial to grow at our new lake home, I think bee balm will be perfect-perfect, useful for me to make things with, and the bees and hummingbirds will love it too Happy weekend Kathy

  2. Is Handmade Lotions and Creams E book, available in a printed version? I am not sure what a e book is. I prefer something written on paper, that I can refer to often. Thank you so much. I Love learning from you. Thank you again, Heidi

    1. Hi Heidi! That ebook is only available in digital format, but you can print it out to read. (That’s what I do with ebooks, then keep them in notebook binders for easy reference.)
      I completely understand about enjoying print books though! It’s nice to have a collection of books you can hold in your hand & grab any time! ?
      You might be interested in my print books – they are printed through a traditional publisher so available in both print and ebook forms. (Whereas my self published material is all digital.)
      The Big Book of Homemade Products has some lotion and cream recipes within:

  3. Hi Jan….was wondering if I can substitute tallow for the shea butter in this recipe? I love how tallow makes my skin feel and I have quite a bit rendered. Also, right now, a proliferation of bee balm…I tinctured some last week, but still have a lot more that I’d like to use as soon as I get it dried and this recipe sounds perfect for my “gardening hands”. I’d like to gift some to a couple of my “Gardening Gals” as well. Also wanted to let you know, I made the Chamomile Honey Face Wash from your book (pg. 38) a couple weeks ago but used violets instead of the chamomile…loved it so much that I just finished making it in a half pint jar this time around. I slather it on my face before a bath and rinse it off about 15 minutes later. It is absolute heaven! I just love your recipes!

    1. Hi Patty, Thanks for the kind words about the recipes! I love the violet honey face wash idea! ❤
      Yes, I think you could definitely test out using tallow in the recipe.
      You might want to start with half the amount of oils and then gradually add in more as needed until you reach a texture you like.
      Then let it sit overnight, then whip it again to see what the final texture will be.
      It sounds like you are making lots of amazing things & I love that you’re sharing with your friends! Happy crafting!

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