When the weather is cold and dry, cracked heels can be a painful problem that is hard to fix. Cocoa butter comes to the rescue here, as it is super moisturizing and can help to repair very dry and cracked feet.
Making natural skincare is far easier than you would think, especially when your aim is to condition and protect. Rich oils like cocoa butter make your skin more supple and beeswax creates a thin protective layer. This layer seals in moisture and the other ingredients and slows the work of environmental effects. This time of the year our skin takes a battering from wind and cold and even skin that seems protected from the elements can suffer. Feet in particular.
If you’re suffering from dry, cracked heels, or just sore feet in general, the recipe below is for you. It’s simple to make, can be created with homegrown or purchased herbs, and is completely natural. It’s from Colleen Codekas’ new book, Healing Herbal Infusions, Simple and Effective Home Remedies and once made, the balm has a shelf-life of up to a year.
Healing Herbal Infusions
Colleen sent me a copy of her book when it came out and it’s set pride of place in my bookshelf. I had a read through when it arrived but it’s only now in winter when I’m a bit stuffed up and under the weather that I’m looking for ideas to help me feel better, naturally. Every recipe is geared for the beginner herbalist, so very simple. That makes each a lot more attractive to make on the go. There are sections for infusions for aches and pains, digestion, and to boost immunity during the cold and flu season.
The section that particularly draws my attention is ‘Infusions to Nourish your Skin, Lips, and Hair.’ It includes twelve recipes with everything from healing-flower whipped body butter, to Rose-petal and Rose-hip Face Serum. Cocoa Mint Cracked Heel Balm sits among them as a great recipe for this time of the year.
Cocoa Mint Cracked Heel Balm
One of the first steps of making this recipe calls for a waiting time of four-to-six weeks. If you read that and feel dismayed, there’s a way to speed that time up too. Place your oils and herbs in a slow cooker on low for just four hours. Strain as the recipe directs. This is my little cheat but if you do have the time, I do recommend you use Colleen’s cold-infusion method. Why? Infusing marshmallow root using heat can extract starches as well as the polysaccharides and the texture may be different.
Colleen says about her recipe, “Marshmallow root is mucilaginous, making it soothing and healing for cracked skin. Using unrefined cocoa butter in this recipe gives it that characteristic chocolate aroma, which pairs nicely with the peppermint. If you want all the benefits of cocoa butter without the scent, use a naturally refined version.”
Cocoa Mint Cracked Heel Balm
The recipe creates about 6 ounces (180 ml) of balm. This makes two decent sized pots but feel free to double or triple the recipe to make more at a time.
- Clean and sterilized jars
- Two stainless steel pans, one being smaller than the other (or a double boiler)
- Small sieve (strainer)
- Clean, dry, and sterilized containers. Can be tins or glass jars
For the Infused Oil
- ¼ cup dried calendula (Calendula officinalis) flowers 5g
- 2 Tbsp dried marshmallow (Althea officinalis) root 5g
- 2 Tbsp dried peppermint (Mentha piperita) leaves 5g
- ¼ cup Coconut oil 60ml
- ¼ cup Olive oil 60ml
- ¼ cup Sweet almond oil 60ml
- 1 Tbsp Castor oil 15ml
For the Balm
- ½ cup Infused oil 120ml
- ½ oz Beeswax 14g
- 1 oz Cocoa butter 28g
- 8 drops Peppermint (Mentha piperita) essential oil Optional
- Combine the calendula, marshmallow root and peppermint with the coconut, olive, sweet almond and castor oils in a half-pint (236-ml) jar. Cover the jar with a lid and shake to mix well. Put the jar in a cool, dark place to infuse for 4 to 6 weeks.
- When you are ready to make the balm, strain the herbs from the oil using a fine-mesh sieve. If the coconut oil has solidified in the oil infusion, gently heat it by setting the jar in a pan of
warm water to melt the oil before straining.
- Measure out 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of the infused oil, saving any excess oil for later use if you wish. Put the oil into a double boiler on medium heat. You can create an easy double boiler by floating one pan inside another pan filled with water. Add the beeswax to the oil and continue to heat until it has completely melted.
- Next, add the cocoa butter, and when it has melted, remove the mixture from the heat. Stir in the peppermint essential oil. Carefully pour the mixture into jars or tins. Let the balm cool and set up for 3 to 4 hours before use.
- Apply as often as needed to soften dry feet and repair cracked heels. This foot balm is safe to use on children ages 1 year and older following a patch test. Omit the peppermint essential oil for those under age 13.
Reprinted with permission from Healing Herbal Infusions by Colleen Codekas, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Photo credits: Colleen Codekas