Warning: this post contains material pertaining to bottoms. If you are easily offended, or just want something more delicious than what I'm offering today, I suggest you click on to the the next blog.
this post, then join me back here.
You back, cinnamon roll in hand? Good. Now we can get to the bottom of today's issue. Buns. I mean bottoms.
Most people probably don't think about bottoms much. Unless you're trying on jeans, or working out, or at the pool, or ice skating (I tend to fall down a lot), or....OK, maybe people do think about bottoms a fair amount. But the people who think about buns a whole lot are new parents.
Doing diaper changes every couple of hours (or minutes, depending on the little one) gives a concerned parent the opportunity to assess the state of their child's buns all day long. Are they smooth and healthy or are they covered in an unsightly, painful rash?
As a new parent I didn't know any better than what advertising told me, so when my precious little bundle of joy got a bad diaper rash, I reached for the Desitin. People, that stuff is nasty. It's basically zinc oxide. It stuck to his poor, fragile skin and to the diaper, so when I next changed the diaper, it pulled off a layer of skin. Ouch! It made a painful problem much, much worse!
After that horrible experience I did some searching for natural alternatives and found a wonderful ointment made with herbs. It soothed, it healed, and it didn't have any nasty chemicals in it. But it was also expensive. So I set about trying to make my own version.
The main ingredient in the ointment is comfrey. Comfrey is a member of the plant family known as "weed." But a useful weed. It contains allantoin, a cell proliferant (meaning it encourages cells to grow and spread). For blistered buns, this means swift healing. Hooray!
Now comes the part of the post where you get angry at me. I've sold you on comfrey and now you want to know where to get it. Well, I get mine in my sister's back yard. Her house used to be owned by a naturopath who grew a medicinal herbal garden. Plus, due to a stream running through the property, local regulations mandate that no chemicals be used in the yard. So it's organic, plentiful, and cheap!
If you do an online search, there are several places that sell organic comfrey seeds. If you don't have the space or inclination to grow your own, you can also order comfrey oil. But that can be spendy. Finding your own source and making your own is the thriftiest way to go.
Once you've located comfrey, you need to turn it into comfrey oil. This is so easy, it's ridiculous. You soak it in oil. That's it. Then you add whatever thickening and soothing agents you'd like, and, hey, presto, Bun Goobies!
Bun Goobies? Yes, we like to name things weird names. We also like to make up lyrics to known tunes and possibly sing them at diaper changing time. Here, as an added bonus for today's post, are the lyrics to the diaper changing song, sung to this tune.
Diaper Changing Song
Puttin' on the bun goobie goobies on
Puttin' on the bun goobie goonies on
Puttin' on the bun goo-oobies
I put the goobies on the buns
Cause you are my honey bun
I don't want your buns all sore
So I'm putting on more and more
(Freestyle for the rest of the song or the rest of the diaper change, whichever ends first.)
Fresh, organic comfrey leaves
Olive Oil (doesn't need to be fancy or expensive)
A clean stone (optional)
Cocoa butter (optional)
Coconut oil (optional)
Calendula oil (optional)*
Essential oil for fragrance (optional)
Baby food jars
Rinse and towel dry the comfrey. Into a clean jar (I like to use a quart canning jar), cram as much of the comfrey in as you can. Pour the olive oil into the jar slowly, allowing it settle into the spaces between the leaves.
It's important to keep the leaves submerged under the oil. Leaves that aren't covered can start to mold. If that happens, you'll need to toss it all and start over. To prevent that from happening, place a well-washed stone on top of the leaves to keep them from bobbing up above the surface. Also, filling the jar to the top with oil discourages mold growth.
Place the jar in the sun and leave it there for one to two weeks (depending on how warm it is). If sun is unavailable to you (hello Northwest weather), you can place it in a food dehydrator or an oven on low for 4-24 hours.
When the oil is done it will be green with a strong, funky smell. Funky like comfrey and oil, not funky like decay. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and place it over a bowl. Pour the oil into it and allow it to drain into the bowl.
The first time, just allow gravity to do all the work. This is the first "pressing". Set that oil aside. For the second "pressing," use a wooden spoon to mash the leaves, pressing all the oil out that you can. This results in a darker oil, but it's still good. Throw the comfrey leaves onto your compost heap.
In a saucepan over low heat gently heat the oil. To each cup of oil, add 1/4 cup of grated beeswax. Stir until the wax is melted. At this point you can add any of the optional oils. Be aware that adding extra oils will change the consistency and you might need to increase the amount of beeswax that you use.
Check for proper firmness by placing one tablespoon of the mixture in the freezer for just a minute or two. Test the firmness and adjust if necessary. To make it firmer, add more beeswax; to make it softer, add more oil.
When you're satisfied with the consistency, remove the salve mixture from heat and immediately pour into clean baby food jars.
Label and store in a cool dark place. It will last for months, even years.
It's an awesome baby shower gift and it's also useful as an all-around first aid ointment.
* You can make calendula oil the same way as the comfrey oil, if you have access to organic calendula. I recommend growing your own. They're a lovely, cheerful flower, and the petals make a very soothing oil.