This recipe was inspired by newsletter subscriber Bonnie, who was seeking a lotion bar in a deodorant stick container for achy muscles and arthritic pain.
It features a trio of herbs:
- cayenne – contains capsaicin which has been shown to offer relief from arthritic and other types of pain
- ginger – traditionally used to warm, increases circulation and relieve pain when applied topically
- arnica flowers – traditionally used to treat swelling, bruising and arthritic joints
The lotion bar stick format is especially handy for products made with cayenne, since you want to be sure not to rub it in your eyes or mucous membranes, as it can burn.
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Step One – Make the Infused Oil
In a small heatproof 8 ounce glass container or jar (like these), add 2 tablespoons dried arnica flowers, 1 tablespoon cayenne powder and 1 tablespoon ginger powder.
Fill the jar the rest of the way with oil. I like to use rice bran, sweet almond or sunflower oil, but feel free to use your own favorite oils for this project. Stir and add more oil if needed.
Set the jar down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water and warm it over low heat for one to two hours. (Alternatively, you can cover the jar with a cap and let the oil infuse at room temperature for around 4 weeks.)
After the oil is infused to your satisfaction, strain it through a very fine mesh sieve and/or cheesecloth, leaving the powdered sediment behind in the infusing jar (to avoid grittiness) then use in the following recipe.
Step Two – Make the Lotion Bar Sticks
If you don’t own a scale, try using roughly 1/4 cup each of beeswax, oil and shea butter.
If you don’t get quite the texture you’re looking for, melt the mixture again and add more wax for added firmness, or more oil for a softer consistency.
- 1.3 oz (36 g) beeswax
- 1.7 oz (48 g) herb-infused oil from above
- 1.7 oz (48 g) shea or mango butter
Combine the beeswax, oil and butter in a heatproof jar or container. (Use a recycled tin can for easiest cleanup.)
Set the container down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water and heat over medium-low heat until melted.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before pouring into empty deodorant containers.
(I bought my containers HERE from Amazon, though since the time of my purchase, it appears they may have changed them to solid white instead of clear.)
I purposely left this batch unscented since I’m giving one to a relative with asthma who is sensitive to scents, including many essential oils, but for my next batch I plan to add Tei Fu Oil, my favorite pain relief essential oil blend.
For more essential oil and pain information, you might also enjoy browsing through a search on PubMed (like THIS ONE) or the wonderful book, The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness.
How to Use Lotion Bar Sticks for Pain Relief
Rub the lotion bar stick over sore and achy muscles and joints. Be careful not to get it in your eyes since cayenne pepper can burn.
Without added essential oils, this pain relief stick is mild and gentle. For a stronger effect, consider adding Tei Fu or another essential oil blend (see information about that above.)