I’ve been on a bit of a cottonwood kick lately, but I just can’t get over how amazing this herb is! It’s just so good for so many things and has been one of my must-haves for pretty much every type of physical pain or bout of inflammation I’ve experienced. If you haven’t tried your hand at making an infused cottonwood oil, then you’re really missing out on one of the best pain remedies nature has to offer.
How to Make Infused Cottonwood Oil for Balms, Salves, and Ointments
Cottonwood buds are filled with a soft volatile resin that’s infused with powerful anti-inflammatory constituents like humulene, Bisabolol, chrysin, arachidonic acid, gallic acid, malic acid, salicin, populin, tectochrysin, and mannitol.
Its usage is specific to the muscular-skeletal system, so the infused oil works well for soreness and tension in the muscles, muscular aches and pains, joint issues, sprains, strains, and hyperextensions, pain caused by inflammation, and soft tissue damage. It also works well for healing bruises.
I recently used it on my pinky toe after I accidentally rammed it into a couch leg and the pain was greatly reduced. I’ve managed to do this on a number of occasions without any cottonwood oil on hand, so I can vouch for its efficacy on smushed and swollen toes.
I also use the oil in a salve recipe I like to keep in a lip balm tube for quick and easy use. I’m a bit clumsy, so bumping into things and getting minor injuries on a weekly basis is just something I’ve learned to deal with. Adding cottonwood oil to my salves has made it more bearable.
I can bump into something and then quickly apply a swipe of cottonwood salve made from the infused oil and 8 times out of 10 I won’t develop a bruise.
Use it in conjunction with my cottonwood tincture, and it’s like nothing ever happened!
Another amazing use I’ve found for cottonwood oil is its ability to heal the skin. I’ve seen several accounts of the oil working its magic on scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles. Some women say that it’s a must-have addition to their body butter during pregnancy to help keep their skin firm. One account even described using the infused oil on hemorrhoids after childbirth with amazing overnight results.
Convinced? Let’s get into the recipe!
Infused Cottonwood Oil Recipe
This is super simple to make, but it does require some patience. I choose to use the cold infusion method for my cottonwood oil which can take anywhere from 1-3 months for the oil to infuse. This, of course, works best in the summer months because you can just put the oil in a sunny place and let the sun do all the work.
However, if you’re going to be making this in the colder months, you will want to make this oil in a double boiler or a crockpot.
I’ll list the instructions below for both methods.
For this method, all you will need is:
• A mason jar
• Fresh or dried cottonwood buds (I allow fresh buds to “dry out” a bit by placing them on a tray and letting any moisture evaporate from the buds the night before)
• Carrier oil of choice (I recommend going with jojoba oil or coconut oil since their shelf life is much longer than other carrier oils)
I had about 2oz of cottonwood buds, so I used an 8oz jar for my infused oil.
All you have to do is place the buds in the jar and add the carrier oil. Make sure to get it pretty close to the top, but not overflowing when you put the lid on.
Cap the jar closed and swirl to mix.
The key is to keep all the plant matter submerged in the oil in order to prevent any mold from growing. I tend to use refined coconut oil because it doesn’t have any scent to it and allows me to make whatever I like without the coconut scent AND it’s one of the most antimicrobial carrier oils.
Cottonwood buds themselves are also excellent at killing off bacteria and microbes which is another reason why I love adding a little bit of cottonwood oil to other oil blends – it extends the shelf life!
As the oil infuses, swirl it around on occasion. You can either put it out in the sun to help it infuse or simply keep it in a cool dark place.
Allow the oil to infuse for at least one month. However, the longer you can allow the oil to infuse the better!
Once it’s ready, strain the oil and bottle.
You can do this method two ways – in a double boiler or in a crockpot.
For the double boiler method, I recommend having a heat-resistant Pyrex measuring cup on hand that you use primarily for remedy making. Cottonwood can be messy to work with, so don’t use anything fancy.
Add the cottonwood buds and the oil to the Pyrex measuring cup.
Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a saucepan and place the Pyrex in the center.
Allow the cottonwood oil to infuse over gentle heat for at least a good hour. The longer, the better. Just make sure to keep a close eye on the water level. You DO NOT want this over direct heat, or you can cause an oil fire so keep that water level topped up.
Strain the cooled oil and bottle when it’s finished.
For the crockpot method, choose an out of the way place in your kitchen for the crockpot to live for the next few days. You don’t want to have to move it while the oil is infusing.
If you spill any, clean it up completely before turning on the crockpot.
Turn the crockpot on the lowest setting and infuse the oil for 5 days. This method creates a very strong oil, so it’s worth the wait.
Strain and bottle the cooled oil once finished.
You now have amazing infused cottonwood oil!
Have you ever made cottonwood oil before? Please share how you use it in the comments below!
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