Make Your Own Botanical Infused Shea Body Butter
As I delve further into the field of natural medicine and natural body care I become more and more aware of how toxic many of our cosmetics are. Even natural brands carry with them a variety of potentially harmful ingredients made to stabilize pH, act as preservatives or maintain the consistency we have come to expect from creams made of unnatural chemical ingredients. Our skin acts as a sponge, what we put on us inevitably ends up in us, so I prefer to keep my skincare products as edible as possible. The more I shop for body care products the more it becomes clear that the best way to ensure there are pure, natural ingredients in your body care products without breaking the bank is to make them yourself.
I often make this whipped shea body butter recipe as part of my own personal skin care routine and as a gift for family and friends. It’s easy to make, very cost effective and, the best part is, it contains only natural ingredients. You can even eat it, if you were so inclined.
Whipped Shea Body Butter:
1 cup refined shea butter (cocoa butter also works here)
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup light carrier oil such as olive oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, apricot kernel oil or a Healing Botanical Oil Infusion (more on that later).
Optional: 10-15 drops of your favourite essential oil for fragrance (vanilla, lavender, orange, mint, etc.).
Also: you can add other healing ingredients such as 1 tbs of neem oil, rose oil or sea buckthorne oil. You can even add manuka honey or aloe. This whipped shea body butter recipe is beautiful in its simplicity, creating an amazing, nutritive base that you can play around with.
Melt your oils and butters (coconut oil, shea butter and carrier oil) down in a double boiler. I use a glass bowl or measuring cup in a pot full of water. Add ingredients to the glass bowl, and then place the bowl in a large pot filled 1/3 of the way with water. Turn the stove on medium high and stir the oils frequently.
When the oils have melted, forming a uniform consistency, remove them from heat. Add in your other ingredients, if you wish. Stir, allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then place it in the fridge for one hour. After the hour, your mixture should have formed a solid, but uniform mass. Place it in a mixer and beat for 10 minutes or until you form a creamy, frothy butter that looks like whipped cream. Distribute the mixture into recycled containers or glass jars, and then refrigerate them for another hour.
The body butter feels like rubbing silky whipped cream onto skin. It soaks in wonderfully and provides skin with non-greasy moisture that lasts all day.
Healing Botanical Oil Infusion:
1 mason jar
1 large amount of dried herbs (enough to fill the jar) such as calendula or chamomile. Both of these herbs contain skin-healing properties, which help to decrease itching, dryness and inflammation. Calendula is also great for healing minor burns and skin infections.
1 large amount of carrier oil (enough to fill the jar) such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, apricot kernel oil, jojoba oil, etc.
1 slow cooker
1 cheese cloth
Add the dried herbs to the mason jar. Next, fill the jar with oil, covering the herbs, all the way to the top. Fill the slow cooker 1/3 of the way with water and turn on to high. Put the herb and oil-filled mason jar into water, leaving the lid off. Leave the lid off the slow cooker and allow it to cook for 6-8 hours. The heat from the slow cooker heats the oil, allowing it to draw the fat-soluble medicinal properties from the dried herbs.
After 6-8 hours you should notice that the oil has a different colour, smell and consistency, indicating that it has absorbed the healing properties of the herbs. Strain out the herbs using the cheese cloth.
You can add 1/2 cup of this healing oil to your whipped body butter recipe, creating an all-natural moisturizer with skin soothing medicinal properties.
Jo Cameron's Life Without Pain; A Story of Rare Genetic Mutations
When Jo Cameron underwent a double hand surgery procedure, which would have left most people in excruciating pain, she left the hospital happy, vivacious, and in no pain whatsoever. At the time, Cameron was 65 years old and should have been even more susceptible to the surgery’s painful aftermath. Recognizing this anomalous behavior, doctors decided to investigate and found Cameron’s DNA contained two genetic mutations that made her unable to feel pain either physically or emotionally.
A Happy Genetic Mutation
Like anyone else, Cameron has been scraped, burned, and bruised throughout her life. But these physical injuries had little effect on her. After two surgeries, which left doctors baffled by her recovery — she needed only two aspirin the day after a hip-replacement surgery to deal with the pain — she was referred to a team of specialists at University College London’s Molecular Nociception Group (UCL).
Following a thorough DNA study, scientists at UCL published an unusual case report in the British Journal of Anaesthesia, revealing their findings of two genetic mutations:
Genetic Mutation #1:
This mutation affects the FAAH gene, which produces the enzyme responsible for breaking down anandamide — a neurotransmitter that’s been dubbed “the bliss molecule” (appropriately named after the Sanskrit word for bliss, "ananda") for its ability to bind to THC receptors, affecting mood, appetite, pain, and memory. When the FAAH genes break down anandamide, we experience physical and mental pain. But with a mutation like Cameron’s, the bliss molecule is allowed to preside, bringing out anandamide’s positive effects.
Surprisingly, this genetic mutation is not as uncommon as one may think, as about 20 percent of Americans are said to possess it. However, this percent of the populace doesn’t have Cameron’s second mutation, which compounds the effect and prevents her from experiencing any pain at all.
Genetic Mutation #2:
The discovery of this rare genetic mutation, named the FAAH-OUT gene, was said to be scientifically groundbreaking, as it was found to be a previously unidentified gene. As may be guessed from its name, the FAAH-OUT gene has a bearing on the FAAH gene, essentially turning down its activity. Working in concert, these two genetic mutations enabled Cameron to live her life unable to feel pain.
“I knew that I was happy-go-lucky, but it didn’t dawn on me that I was different. I thought it was just me. I didn’t know anything strange was going on until I was 65,” she told the The Guardian,