You may or may not already know that I love spicy food, but even if you’re not big on chilli, you can still enjoy its benefits.
I already covered the preparation and theory of herbal salves a previous post, so today I want to show you another nice one – a chilli salve. Chilli peppers are hot, because they contain various capsaicinoids, a family of chemical compounds that bind to the receptors associated with heat and abrasion in our mouth. They don’t actually cause any damage, but the feeling of heat is very real.
Capsaicin is also quite effective on skin and if you rub a very hot chilli on your skin it will feel a bit hot and flushed. However, sometimes we want that and this chilli salve helps increase blood circulation and gives a mild warm feeling, which is useful for sore muscles, minor back pain or a stiff neck. Obviously this is not a medical cure in any way and should not be considered as such, but it can be useful.
For 100 ml of chilli salve you’ll need:
- 60 g of chilli infused olive oil
- 10 g of beeswax
- 5 drops of vitamin E
- 5 drops of rosemary essential oil
Melt the beeswax in a double broiler or in a small cup over boiling water, turn the heat off or on the minimum, add the oil and thoroughly stir until combined. Make sure that it doesn’t boil! Pour the salve into your chosen container, add vitamin E and essential oil and stir a little more. Both vitamin E and essential oil must be added in the cooling phase, so they shouldn’t be added when the salve is too hot.
You can also use other essential oils like peppermint or juniper or anything else. To make infused oil, just leave some crushed chilli flakes in the oil for 2-3 weeks, strain and it’s done (details on making infused oil here). You can of course also use other oils, not just olive oil, but that’s a staple in my country. This salve should keep for up to a year, because vitamin E is an antioxidant and should help prevent the oil from going rancid, so store it in a dark, dry place.
That’s it, simple and fast, right? It shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes altogether. Remember to always do a patch test when making DIY cosmetics and although the chill in this chilli salve is diluted and shouldn’t burn, I’d avoid using it on sensitive, damaged or easily irritated skin. Also, goes without saying, avoid the eyes and face altogether.