I’m so excited to be able to finally share this recipe with you today!
I first made Dandelion Magnesium Lotion last March, while developing recipes for my new book, 101 Easy Homemade Products for your Skin, Health & Home.
It was an instant hit with everyone who tested it, relieving leg cramps, back aches, growing pains, restless leg syndrome and various related ailments. One relative with chronic nerve pain in her arm declared it the best thing I’d ever created!
I knew it was a winning recipe, but since it was included in my book-in-progress, couldn’t share it quite yet.
Today, however, as a special “sneak peek” inside my new book – I get to tell you all about it! (See the bottom of this post, for more information on ordering a copy of my book for yourself.)
Dandelions were chosen for this recipe because the flowers have traditionally been used for their mild analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, making them an excellent addition to products designed for sore muscles or various other external aches and pains.
Why magnesium oil?
Experts posit that much of the population does not get enough magnesium in their daily diet. This can lead to headaches, leg cramps and a host of other subtle ailments. Beside baths with magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) and magnesium supplements, another way to get more of this vital mineral is through application of magnesium oil to the skin.
Because the straight oil can be drying and irritating for some, it works well to incorporate it in a lotion or cream, especially one containing soothing aloe.
Dandelions + Magnesium Oil = Awesomeness
There’s something about the combination of the two ingredients that’s very synergetic, but if you’re allergic to dandelions, you could try arnica flowers, comfrey or goldenrod instead.
Step 1 – Gather & dry dandelions
First, you’ll need some dandelion flowers.
Where I live, they’ve just started popping up over the last two weeks. I like to leave most of those very first ones for the bees (it’s an important food source for many pollinators), but once other things are blooming and they’re at their peak, there are plenty enough dandelions for everyone to share!
A good rule of thumb is to leave at least 2 or 3 dandelion flowers, for every 1 that you pick.
Once you gather a handful of dandelion flowers, they should be dried before infusing in oil. While some herbalists do infuse fresh dandelions, the high moisture content in them makes them more likely to spoil or grow bacteria. To be safe, I like to work with freshly dried plants in almost all cases.
Spread your dandelions in a single layer over a clean dishcloth or paper towels and allow them to air dry for a few days.
You may notice that some of your dandelions turn to fluff. That’s okay; they’re still usable.
Step 2 – Create a dandelion-infused oil
Once dry, place the dandelions in a glass jar and cover with around two to three times as much light carrier oil. Some suggested carrier oils that work well include: sunflower, sweet almond, olive, avocado and jojoba.
(Note: Links to Mountain Rose Herbs, Bramble Berry and Amazon are affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I earn a small commission for sending a customer their way. This costs you nothing extra, but helps support my site and lets me keep doing what I do. Thank you!) :)
You have a few infusing methods to choose from, depending on how big of a hurry you’re in.
Quick infusion: Set your uncovered jar of dandelions and oil down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water, forming a makeshift double boiler of sorts. Place the pan over a low burner and heat for around 2 hours. Keep an eye on things while you do this, to ensure the water doesn’t evaporate out. The water shouldn’t simmer or boil. If it does, turn the heat down lower. After 2 hours, remove the jar from the pan and set aside to cool.
Traditional, slow infusion: Cap your jar of dandelions and oil and tuck it away in a cool, dark cupboard for 4 to 6 weeks, shaking occasionally. A cool, dark area is suggested since extended exposure to heat and light may begin to degrade the quality of the herbs and oils.
Sunny window infusion: Secure a piece of cheesecloth, coffee filter, scrap of old t-shirt or something similarly breathable over your jar of dandelions and oil. This layer allows any potential condensation to escape, but will keep dust and flies from contaminating your oil. Place the jar in a warm sunny window. Depending on how hot it gets, your oil may be sufficiently infused for use within 3 to 5 days. You can use it right away, or tuck it in a cabinet for a few more weeks, for a stronger oil.
Once your oil is ready, strain it and store in a cool, dry place until ready to use. Shelf life should be around 9 months to 1 year, depending on the quality and type of oil you use.
Step 3 – Now, you’re ready to make your lotion!
Dandelion Magnesium Lotion Recipe
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) dandelion-infused oil
- 3 tsp (6 gr) emulsifying wax NF
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) magnesium oil
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) distilled water
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) aloe vera gel
- 2 to 3 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
- natural preservative (see notes below)
Add the dandelion-infused oil and emulsifying wax to a heatproof jar or upcycled tin can.
In spite of its name, magnesium oil is actually water based, so measure it out with the distilled water and aloe and place in a half-pint (250 ml) canning jar.
Place both containers into a saucepan containing 1 to 2 inches of water, then set the pan over a medium-low burner for 10 minutes. This gives time for the wax to fully melt while the water, aloe and magnesium oil combination reaches a nearly matching temperature. (Around 150° F or 66° C) Remove from heat.
Carefully pour the hot contents of the two containers into a heatproof mixing bowl or measuring pitcher. As they’re poured together, the two mixtures will begin to emulsify upon contact and turn a slightly milky yellow color.
Using a fork or small whisk, stir the lotion briskly for 30 seconds, then set aside to cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. To speed the cooling process, place your mixing container in a bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally, for around 30 seconds at a time, as the lotion cools and thickens.
Stir in the lavender essential oil, if using. If you’re adding a preservative to help your homemade lotion stay fresh for several months, do so now as well. If you don’t add a preservative, shelf life is only around 1 or 2 weeks, if stored in the refrigerator.
I use and recommend Leucidal Liquid SF, a preservative naturally derived from lactobacillus ferment, in my lotions. For this recipe, you need to add 4 to 5 grams of it. (You can read more on natural preservative options HERE.)
Pour the lotion into a pump-top bottle or glass jar. The lotion will continue to thicken up some as it sits over the next several hours or overnight.
Yield is 3.5 oz (105 ml). Apply a small amount to legs, feet and back at night, or as often as needed throughout the day.
Do you sell this lotion? No, I no longer sell the products I write about. However, you’re free to pass the recipe on to a crafty someone you might know and see if they can make you some!
Where can I buy dried dandelions? This question has been tricky to answer for some time, but now I’m happy to say that you can find some for sale at Anna Lee Herbals HERE. If she’s out of stock, do a search on Etsy, as I also spotted a small batch for sale there last year.
Can I use beeswax instead of emulsifying wax NF? No, it won’t work the same. A beeswax emulsion can’t hold this much water, so you’ll end up a with a mess if you try this recipe that way. You can, however, try to adapt my beeswax-based lotion for leg cramps, found HERE.
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