The local, as in very local, pharmacy has been playing around with remedies for the type of super-dry skin that comes from playing in the dirt. Happily, the experiments have led to success. Success, by the way, which didn't require a lot of work or money.
Neal's Yard Remedies used to have this wonderful Elderflower Hand Softener which turned my lobster claws into tender baby toes overnight. But like so many other great products, it's no longer available.
I don't have space for an elderberry shrub, but I can easily grow calendulas. They are pretty, colorful, help keep the bad bugs away and make the bees happy, too. Historically, calendula flowers have been used to ease an impressive line-up of complaints. These days, its healing powers seem to be limited to external uses - even the medical profession gives calendula credit for skin healing properties.
I looked at various recipes for calendula creams, lotions, tinctures and finally settled on this one from NZ Eco Chick.* Except I'm really lousy at following instructions, so I do a few things differently:
- Use fresh calendula flowers. Pick the flowers during the day and let them dry out overnight. That way, the oil is less likely to become rancid.
- Do not bother with that muslin cloth idea. Just pour the oil through a sieve and press down on the flowers with the back of a spoon. Way less mess.
And it was a nice thing to be able to re-use that old Neal's Yard jar.
* Around here, organic virgin coconut oil may be found at Trader Joe's.