This lotion recipe came about as a solution to the growing pains my kids develop from time to time.
I infused oil with arnica, which is helpful for inflammation and joint pain, and comfrey leaf, which can be used to treat sprains, strains and other sore muscle woes.
The magnesium oil part came into play after a talk with our naturopath. My son had been experiencing some back pain during a growth spurt (he’s 13 and already 5’10”) so she suggested I try magnesium oil. It worked wonders on him after only two applications! (He routinely takes supplemental magnesium too.)
However, magnesium oil can be a skin irritant over time, so I wanted to cushion it in a skin soothing lotion or cream containing aloe. I rounded it out with a little bit of lavender essential oil, for relaxation, and peppermint essential oil, which is also good for muscle pain. (Plus it makes it smell good!)
So, that’s the story behind the recipe, now let’s get into how you can make your own!
Lotion for Leg Cramps & Growing Pains
- 3 ounces (85 grams) Arnica & Comfrey Infused Oil (See below)
- 1/2 ounce (14 grams) Beeswax
- 1/2 ounce (14 grams) Stearic Acid (a natural thickener)
- 1.5 ounce (42 grams) Shea Butter (I used refined from BrambleBerry)
- 1.5 ounce (42 grams) Magnesium Oil (You can buy some HERE)
- 1.5 ounce (42 grams) Aloe Vera Gel (I got mine HERE)
- optional: 2 teaspoons (8 grams) arrowroot powder (to cut oily feel)
- a few drops each of peppermint & lavender essential oil
- preservative (see tips section below)
First, you’ll need to make an arnica and comfrey infused oil. (You can also buy a ready made arnica oil at MountainRoseHerbs that will work perfectly in this recipe.)
To make an arnica and comfrey infused oil, add 2 tablespoons dried arnica flowers and 2 tablespoons dried comfrey leaves to a pint jar. Cover with around six ounces of sunflower or olive oil, or until it reaches almost to the top.
Stir and set the jar down into a saucepan containing an inch or two of water, to form a makeshift double boiler. Heat the pan over lowish heat for two to three hours, keeping an eye on the water so it doesn’t evaporate out. Don’t let the oil get too hot or you will deep fry your herbs and ruin the batch!
After sufficient time has passed, strain the finished oil into a clean, dry jar. Shelf life for the oil is one year.
Now that the oil is infused, we can proceed with the recipe:
Place 3 ounces (85 grams) herbal infused oil, 1/2 ounce (14 grams) beeswax and 1/2 ounce (14 grams) stearic acid into a heat proof bowl or pyrex measuring cup.
Set the cup down into a saucepan that has a few inches of water in it. Place the pan over a medium low burner until the beeswax has melted.
Turn off the heat and stir in 1.5 ounces (42 grams) shea butter until melted. (Sometimes, shea butter gets grainy if it overheats, so this step can help circumvent that problem.) Take the pan off of the burner.
Remove the measuring cup from the pan and set it aside until it cools to body temperature and develops a light layer on top, where it’s starting to set up, but is still liquid underneath. (Like the picture above.)
While the wax mixture is cooling, measure and combine 1.5 ounces (42 grams) magnesium oil and 1.5 ounces (42 grams) aloe vera gel in a separate heat proof jar. Set the jar down into the pan of hot water you used to melt the beeswax for several minutes, to warm it up a bit. (Remember, the pan should be off of the burner at this point.)
Once your melted oil/wax/shea mixture and magnesium oil/aloe mixture are both around body temperature, you’re ready to mix!
Slowly drizzle the magnesium/aloe mixture into the oil while beating with a hand mixer. After about five minutes, stop, add the arrowroot powder (optional, will help cut down on any oily feel that homemade lotions can leave), any essential oils you want to use, and scrape down the sides.
Continue beating another three to five minutes, until the lotion starts to thicken and cool.
When you lift the beaters, you should see a very brief imprint or trace where they were, before it sinks quickly back into itself. (See photo above.)
The lotion will be thin at this point, so now’s the time to pour it into any container that you want to keep it in. After it sets up, it will be more like a thick lotion or thin cream. (You can use more liquid and less waxes in the recipe if you want an even thinner lotion.)
I happened to have used up almost every container in my house, while making Christmas presents for my family, but found two lotion bottles I had gotten from Bramble Berry ages ago. This size batch didn’t quite fill the both of them.
I later found an eight ounce cobalt blue glass jar, so squeezed the lotion out, re-beat it and added it to it. (I always like using glass over plastic whenever I can.) It didn’t completely fill the container though, so I’ll make a rough estimate that this recipe makes about six or seven ounces of finished product.
Never store lotions or creams containing water based ingredients (aloe and magnesium oil both are) in metal tins or they could rust.
Homemade lotions and creams are a lot more perishable than store-bought. Make small batches, store in the refrigerator and use them up within a week or so. To extend shelf life, add a nature-derived preservative, such as NataPres (made from a radish root ferment filtrate with honeysuckle and aspen bark extracts) or Leucidal Liquid SF (a probiotic-based ingredient created by the fermentation of Lactobacillus). The suggested rates of usage are 2% for NataPres or 2 to 4% for Leucidal Liquid SF. (You can read more on nature-derived preservative options HERE.)
To calculate the amount of preservative needed, add up the weight of the ingredients in a recipe by grams, then multiply by the recommended percentage. The total weight of this recipe is 247 grams x 2% (.02) suggested rate = 4.94 grams. I just round that to 5 grams of preservative.
Rub a small amount on legs, feet or back before bedtime and at other times during the day, if needed.
Chronic leg cramps can be a sign of other problems too, so if they keep up, get yourself checked out by your health care provider.
Growing pains too, have root other causes. HERE is a great post over at the Mommypotamus blog about other things that might help.
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