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This holiday season, why not concoct homemade bath oil inspired by your Christmas tree? Pine, spruce and fir needles – which have not been sprayed or flocked – can be infused into oil for a pampering winter bath.
These conifers are aromatic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. In fact, the evergreens have long been recognized throughout Europe for their ability to soothe joint pain, arthritis and rheumatism, making them ideal for an invigorating and stimulating bath that soothes aching winter muscles.
Here’s how to make this DIY bath oil:
1) Clip fresh branches a couple inches long, with a pruner such as the Fiskars UltraBlade® PowerGear® Bypass Pruner. Make sure branches have not been sprayed with fire retardant or other chemicals. Wash and dry branches carefully. My White Fir (Abies Concolor) branches were given to me by the garden writer Mary Ann Newcomer.
2) Fill a well-cleaned, glass Mason jar about three-quarters full with branches.
3) Pour grape seed oil over the needles until the bottle is nearly full. Found at health food stores, grape seed oil is easily absorbed into the skin, and has anti-aging, antimicrobial and anti-allergic properties. Plus, the oil has a slight greenish tint, which complements the needles well.
4) Close jar tightly. Place the Mason jar in a sunny window. Shake well daily.
5) Allow needles to infuse into oil for at least two weeks. I often let mine infuse more than a month.
6) Strain needles through a fine mesh strainer into a glass measuring cup or bowl. Press gently against the needles to release more into the oil.
7) Add approximately a quarter teaspoon of pine, fir or juniper essential oil into bath oil and mix well.
8) In a hurry? Skip this slow infusion process (steps 1-4) and very gently heat a half-cup of clean needles in 2 ½ cups of oil in a covered pan for 20 minutes. Stir regularly. Don’t allow oil to boil. Let oil come to room temperature. Follow steps 6 and 7 to strain needles and add essential oils.
9) Pour bath oil into a clean, dry bottle and close tightly.
10) Using my Fiskars® Tag Lever Punch (XXL), I made gift cards with dark green and light green paper glued together. A white snowflake was made with my Fiskars® Snowflake Lever Punch (M) and adhered with paper glue to the darker-green side. On the lighter-green side, I wrote a note about the bath oil. To finish, I punched a hole at the top and strung gold metallic cord around the bottle neck. Carefully burning the cord ends for a second will help prevent unraveling.
11) Store the Christmas tree-inspired oil in a cool, dry location. Add a heaping teaspoon of oil to a hot bath, with a cup of Epsom salt. Light some candles. Turn on your favorite music, and relax.
Clean, unsprayed, unflocked pine, spruce or fir branches
Grape seed oil
Glass Mason jar
Glass bottles and tops
Dark green and light green paper
Gold metallic cord