Antiseptic Herbal Soaps
Useful for keeping hands bacteria-free and for washing wounds, antiseptic soaps reduce the chance for illness to spread and for wounds to become infected.
Common Plantain Soap
Broadleaf plantain (Plantago major) is a familiar and prolific weed. You have probably pulled it from your yard or garden, for it has become naturalized throughout the world. When freshly gathered and mashed, it offers a juice that is second to none as a wound-healer; it helps stanch blood flow and fights bacteria and inflammation.
• A handful of fresh plantain leaves
Substitute 2 tablespoons plantain oil if fresh leaves are unavailable
• 1/4 cup liquid glycerin
• 1/8 cup water
• 2 cups glycerin soap base
Blend the leaves with the liquid glycerin and water. Strain through a cheesecloth. Combine the mixture or the plantain oil with the melted soap base. Stir until blended, pour into molds, and cool.
Tea Tree Antiseptic Soap
The tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) grows in Australia; the essential oil extracted from the leaves by steam distillation is highly antiseptic. This ingredient is especially effective against bacteria, fungi, yeast and viruses. The soap is helpful in treating athlete’s foot.
Combine melted base and herbal oil. Stir until blended, then pour into molds and cool.
Lavender and Rosemary Soap
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) each have a mild yet stimulating effect on skin. Both are antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and beneficial for treating wounds, blemishes, boils, dermatitis, fever blisters, and more.
Begin this soap by making an infusion of fresh lavender flowers and rosemary leaves. To make an infusion, pour one cup of steaming hot water over three tablespoons of dried or fresh lavender flowers and rosemary leaves and steep for ten minutes.
• 3 cups glycerin soap base
• 1/4 cup lavender flowers/rosemary leaves infusion
• 1 1/2 teaspoons lavender oil
• 1/2 teaspoon rosemary oil
• 1 teaspoon pulverized dried rosemary (optional)
Combine melted base and herbal materials. Stir until blended, then pour into molds and cool.
Ylang Ylang and Frankincense Soap
The fragrance of ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) is used in aromatherapy to soothe anger and frustration. Its oil serves to soften and rejuvenate the skin. Frankincense (Boswellia sacra) is a fragrant gum resin from trees native to Somalia and southern coastal Arabia. Frankincense powder offers a slightly astringent action.
Most frankincense is imported from Somalia and ylang ylang comes from the Comoros Islands near Madagascar; both should be readily available from your favorite herb shop.
Mix well, pour into molds, and cool. This soap has a shelf life of eighteen months.