I thought it would be fun to post an easy recipe to make your own massage oil fragranced with the intoxicating aroma of natural vanilla. This recipe comes from one of my favorite organic body care recipe books: Organic Body Care by Stephanie Tourles.
3 long vanilla beans
1 1/2 cups jojoba oil
1. Slice the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape the seeds from each bean, and add it to a glass jar. Chop the empty bean pods into one-inch pieces and add to the jar. Cap the jar and shake the mixture for one minute.
2. Store the jar in a dark place for two months to allow the vanilla essence to infuse the oil. During this time, shake the jar every day for 10 to 15 seconds.
3. After two months, strain the oil through a tight-mesh strainer, coffee filter, or nylon stocking, then pour the oil into an elegant glass storage bottle.
The result: a beautifully fragrant oil that can be used for massage or applied after your bath or shower to nourish and moisturize the skin.
It was mid June when I ventured out on my first “herb hunt”. I walked down the path behind our neighborhood, a trail I had been on countless times but had never thought about the plants around me.
With new eyes, herbs jumped out at me: lemon verbena, yarrow, St. John’s wort, rosemary, lavender. They grew quietly, swaying in the summer breeze. How had I missed them all these years?
I harvested my first flowers of St. John’s Wort that week; their little yellow star flowers were just beginning to open. From those precious buds I made my first infused oil.
I placed a jar of olive oil packed with blooms in the sun.
Two weeks later it was ruby-red and enriched with the blood of the flowers, a healing liquid called hypericin. Hypericin, I came to learn, has anti-inflammatory and astringent qualities that make it useful for healing burns, rashes and skin irritation. Amazing!
That scarlet oil sits proudly on my shelf today and I use it in several of my creations.
I often look at it, smile and think back to my first summer in love with herbs.