Chamomile-Infused Fresh Hand and Body Lotion Recipe

I recently introduced you to fresh lotion, an age-old product that dates back thousands of years, long before chemical preservatives were introduced.  The only difference between commercial lotions and fresh lotions is that fresh lotions contain absolutely no chemical preservatives, and thus the shelf life is limited to a few months rather than a few years.  Fresh lotion is superior to commercial lotion just as fresh food is superior to preserved food.  I have chosen to share my recipes with you to encourage everyone to make small batches of fresh lotions and use them up, rather than adding preservatives which may be harmful to our bodies. To read more about the benefits of fresh lotions, click here.

This fresh hand lotion recipe is built from my basic lotion recipe, but also contains aloe vera gel, witch hazel and chamomile-infused oil.  It is the perfect consistency for a pump bottle, which will also help keep bacteria from entering the product.

Aloe Vera is a cactus plant that belongs to the Liliaceae family.  The gel is extracted from the thick leaves simply by cutting open and scooping out, or can be used to treat burns topically simply by placing a cutting of the plant directly on the burn.  Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and is beneficial to skin regeneration.  It’s non-greasy, moisturizing qualities make it a great ingredient in fresh lotions.  Learn how to extract it from your own plants for use here.

Witch Hazel is an extract from the leaves and bark of the North American shrub  Hamamelis virginiana.  It has impressive anti-inflammatory qualities and is known to be beneficial in the treatment of, among other skin conditions, diaper rash, razor burn and bug bites.  Witch hazel is also anti-microbial and is used to heal bruises and cuts. It demonstrates some anti-bacterial and anti-viral qualities.

Chamomile flowers come from the Anthemis Eecutita plant.  They are easily harvested from your own flower garden by removing the flowering tops and dehydrating them.  They can be used fresh as well.  Chamomile has powerful anti-inflammatory properties from its natural chemical component, azulene.  It is used for healing and soothing rough or damaged skin.  Chamomile flowers can be used to make a calming herbal tea, or an be infused with oil to be used in cosmetics, providing a beneficial, soothing oil.  To learn how to infuse oils yourself click here.


  • Immersion blender
  • Kitchen scale
  • Wide mouth mason jar
  • Spoon
  • Small, thick-bottomed pot
  • Small pyrex liquid measuring cup



  1. In a thick-bottomed pot melt beeswax with oil just until it is melted.  Once melted, add rosemary oil or vitamin E, and essential oil.  Pour into a wide mouth mason jar, set aside and allow to cool until room temperature.
  2. The following ingredients must be at room temperature before beginning.  In a measuring cup weigh and add hydrosol or water, witch hazel and aloe vera. Set aside.
  3. When wax/oil mixture has cooled down to room temperature (touch the outside of the jar.  If it is hot, it isn’t ready yet) but is still soft, begin blending with a stick blender.  SLOWLY pour your water mixture into the jar in a slow, continuous stream, while blending constantly, circling around the mixture to make sure it is all blended in. You can move the emersion blender up and down and around to help the process.  Don’t pause until all the water has been added.  Continue to blend for a few minutes to ensure your mixture has emulsified.
  4. Store in a lidded container for up to 2 months.  Refrigeration will help prolong shelf life.


  • It is very important to combine your ingredients when they have reached room temperature or your emulsion will fail and your water will separate.  If this happens, drain off the water and use the lotion as a body butter.  It will be greasier but will still make a nice product.
  • Always ensure your hands are clean when you use the lotion to prevent bacteria from entering your lotion.
  • It is helpful to sterilize your utensils first with boiling water to help prevent bacteria from entering the lotion.
  • You can interchange or combine other liquid oils.  Grapeseed oil is known to be one of the least greasy of the oils.
  • If you want to add a solid oil (for example coconut oil or cocoa butter) to your recipe make sure most of the recipe is still a liquid oil so the product doesn’t get too solid at room temperature before you have combined the water and the oil.
  • You can use any hydrosol or floral water to replace the distilled water. Check the ingredients first to make sure they are pure. Some people have luck using flower “teas” such as chamomile, green tea or calendula but note that this might increase the spoiling rate.
  • When choosing essential oils keep in mind that citrus-based oils can be photo-toxic. Used in moisturizers on skin that is exposed to the sun can cause severe sunburns.
  • I have linked ingredients to Mountain Rose Herbs, a company that provides high quality, organic ingredients from sustainable sources. Mountain Rose Herbs is my first choice in companies that provide quality ingredients.  Alternatively, most ingredients can be purchased in natural food stores.
  • Here is a link to make your own infused oils.

This post has been linked to Waste Not Want Not Wednesday #25, Wildcrafting Wednesday #83Simple Living Wednesday, Small Footprint Friday #24, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways # 68 , Small Footprint Friday and Homestead Abundance.


You might also be interested in reading:
Back To The Basics: An Introduction To Fresh Lotion and a Recipe.








Why and How to Make Your Own Pectin

Last year I made several batches of jam without using pectin.  It involves  boiling the jam quite a bit to thicken it, and adding lemon peel to produce a natural pectin.  The jam turned out pretty well, but the kids weren’t so appreciative of the bits of lemon peel in the jam, and the actual process of boiling down fruit does remove quite a bit of the original nutrients.  I could have just used commercial pectin.  But I didn’t want to.

Why would I want to avoid pectin?  It’s just from apples or oranges, right?  Yes… and no.  You can’t just sqeeze an apple to get the pectin out.   There is quite a bit of processing that goes into the production of commercial pectin.

Wikipedia explains:

The main raw-materials for pectin production are dried citrus peel or apple pomace, both by-products of juice production. Pomace from sugar-beet is also used to a small extent.

From these materials, pectin is extracted by adding hot dilute acid at pH-values from 1.5 – 3.5. During several hours of extraction, the protopectin loses some of its branching and chain-length and goes into solution. After filtering, the extract is concentrated in vacuum and the pectin then precipitated by adding ethanol or isopropanol. An old technique of precipitating pectin with aluminium salts is no longer used (apart from alcohols and polyvalent cations; pectin also precipitates with proteins and detergents).

Alcohol-precipitated pectin is then separated, washed and dried. Treating the initial pectin with dilute acid leads to low-esterified pectins. When this process includes ammonium hydroxide, amidated pectins are obtained. After drying and milling, pectin is usually standardised with sugar and sometimes calcium-salts or organic acids to have optimum performance in a particular application.[9]

Since one of my primary reasons for making my own jam in the first place is to avoid processed food, why am I adding a highly-processed product to my minimally-processed jam?  Good question.  I also haven’t been able to figure out where commercial pectin is produced, yet.  I have my suspicions that it isn’t local.

So…. I googled how to make my own pectin.  Naturally, it involves more effort than buying it from the store.  But just like most things, it isn’t hard, it just involves a little bit of time.  You can make a large amount, however, and can it so you don’t need to make it very often.  You can also freeze it.

How to make pectin:

I used crab apples to make my pectin.  They are extremely tart, which means they have a lot of pectin.  You can also use green (unripe) apples, and you can make it from citrus fruits too.  You want to keep the peels on and cores in the apples because much of the pectin is in the peel and core.  So, simply wash and quarter about 18 crab apples (or 8 regular, green, unripe apples).  Cores and all.  You can remove the apple seeds if desired.  Place them in a large pot with 4 cups of water and 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes or until reduced to about half.  Strain through cheese cloth and boil for another 20 minutes.  Pour into sterilized jars and seal them.  Boil them in a hot bath for 10 minutes to properly preserve them.  Store in your jam cupboard.

How to use the pectin

This part is tricky.  Because you don’t know the concentration of pectin in your apples, you can’t just throw in a particular amount and expect it to work.  For a batch of jam (6 cups of fruit) I’d start with a half cup of pectin.  Prepare your fruit and bring to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Add sugar or honey and stir for a minute.  Add pectin and stir well for another minute.

Pick Your Own explains how to tell if your jam will set:

As you make the first batch, and are ready to fill the jars; first remove a spoonful of the jam, and hold an ice cube against the bottom of the spoon to cool the jam. If the spoonful sets to your liking, you can fill the jars, seal them and process them in the water bath canner.  If the spoonful does not set, add another cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of lemon juice and more of your pectin, bring to a full boil for 1 minute, and test again! Then do the pectin test.


For a complete, cooked jam recipe from Mother Earth News using homemade pectin click here.   For more information on pectin and making your own, click here.

Here is another recipe using homemade pectin.

I would love to hear your stories on the adventures of making your own pectin!  Success?  Failure?  Let’s hear it!


This post has been linked to Frugal Days Sustainable Ways #34 and Farmer’s Daughter’s Homestead Link Up.