By: Karen Talbot, Wild Gardener
Magnesium deficiencies can cause a number of health concerns such as cramps, muscle aches and pains, restless leg syndrome, trouble sleeping, migraines and more. Because magnesium is important for the metabolization of Vitamin D, magnesium deficiencies can also result in symptoms of Vitamin D deficiencies. According to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), up to 50% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. This recipe for a rose-based magnesium cream can help ease muscle aches, migraines and more. This all-natural homemade rose cream recipe uses dried rose petals, water, magnesium chloride flakes and oils.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or we can rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”– Abraham Lincoln
Roses for cramps, aches and pains
One of my favorite times of the year is the month of June when wild roses bloom along the seashore. I look forward to driving toward Newport with the windows rolled down. Thousands of wild roses on the island create a gentle perfume that wafts through the air. The unmistakable fragrance of roses greets me before I’m halfway over the bridge.
According to Ancient Origins Magazine, the oldest known rose fossil found in Colorado is 40-35 million years old. Petrified rose wreaths have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs. Roses have had a long history as food, cosmetics, and even medicine. There are endless food, drink, and aromatherapy recipes that include roses that can be found in books and online. I want to focus on a simple cream that I made for myself out of necessity. If you make it yourself, not only will you experience the intoxicating scent of roses, but it will ease muscle aches, restless leg syndrome (RLS), possibly ease migraines, and help provide a good night’s sleep.
Before we get to the homemade rose cream recipe, let’s look at the differences between the essential oil terms “rose otto” and “rose absolute.”
Rose oils as transdermal medicine
Rose otto is steam distilled and preferred in topical applications. It’s much more costly than rose absolute because it takes significantly more roses to make oil. According to Mountain Rose Herbs—my favorite place to order herbs that I can’t grow or forage—it takes 10,000 lbs of rose petals to distill one pound of rose otto oil. Mountain Rose sells a 5ml bottle (equal to about 1 teaspoon or 100 drops) for $237.00, a cost of $2.37 per drop. That’s a very precious oil indeed! (Find a conversion chart here Essential Oil Conversion Chart, Calculator & Pro Tips (mountainroseherbs.com))
Rose absolute is solvent extracted, and preferred for perfumery and aromatherapy. It’s much less expensive, but may contain solvent residue, This is important for those with very sensitive skin or fragrance allergies. However, the addition of a few drops of rose absolute in a formula like the following would probably not have any ill effects for most people.
Interestingly, there is no organization that oversees the quality of essential oils. Companies can market their oils as essential even when they’re added to carrier oils or even worse, claim chemical fragrance oils are essential oils, as long as there are oils included in it that are essential oil. (Please do not use fragrance oils in your homemade rose cream recipe. They can be caustic.)
Carrier oils are fillers to stretch the volume and reduce prices. This is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your use of the oil. In fact, most essential oils should be blended with a carrier oil before use, even if you purchase them pure. I am grateful when I see a label that includes this information so I can make a choice between a very expensive rose oil and a much cheaper carrier oil with rose drops. The latter is a milder blend, but still useful. I recently bought a 5ml (1 tsp) bottle of “essential rose oil” that was grapeseed oil blended with 5% rose otto. This means that of the 100 drops in the 5 ml bottle, there were only 5 drops of rose otto essential oil.
Infused oils. In making my cream, I also added rose-infused jojoba oil made last summer. Infused oil is a completely different process in which fresh or dried petals are slowly steeped in a carrier oil before being strained.
Making your homemade rose cream recipe
The following recipe will make approximately 2 cups of magnesium rose cream that can easily target specific areas in need.
1. Make a rose infused distilled water.
Make a rose “tea” with unsprayed roses from your garden (red will make the cream deeply colored), or collect pink beach roses like I did (Rosa rugosa). Collect 3-4 cups of fresh rose petals, or use one cup of dried. Put the appropriate amount of fresh or dried roses in a small pan and add one cup of distilled water. (Distilled is important to ensure shelf life without refrigeration or using preservatives.) Heat to just below a simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Keep the temperature low, and leave the brew covered so the essential oils do not dissipate. Once the petals give up their color, strain and reserve the liquid. While still very warm, mix in one cup of magnesium chloride flakes to make rose infused magnesium oil.
2. Make a rose infused oil
Use the above process to infuse one cup of dried rose petals into one cup of oil. Infuse your dried rose petals into any plain oil that is good for the skin, eg: jojoba, argan, almond, olive, avocado, or similar. Alternatively, you may choose to use plain oil and skip the infusion process.
3. Melt the Oils Together.
Take ¾ cup of jojoba rose infused oil (or oil of choice), 1/3 cup shea butter and 2 Tablespoons beeswax pastilles, and melt them together in a double boiler. (I make a double boiler by inserting my one quart Pyrex measuring cup into a pan of water with a folded paper towel underneath.) Bring the water to a simmer. Stir the jojoba or other oil, shea butter, and beeswax together until just melted.
4. Make the Cream.
While still hot, pour the melted oils into a blender or food processor and turn it on. With blender running, pour the 1 cup rose infused magnesium oil in a thin stream until you see cream forming, stop short of the whole cup. The oil will be cool enough to add your essential oil of rose or other skin friendly essential oil such as rose geranium or lavender. I used the whole 5ml rose otto in carrier oil and added about 30 drops of rose geranium essential oil. Rose geranium essential oil is an inexpensive alternative and also gives a rosy fragrance. Pour into jars.
Apply your cream to legs, arms, neck, or wherever you need to, and say goodbye to muscle cramps. Massage onto temples too for a relaxing aromatherapy treat and restful sleep.
The Wild Gardener Botanical Sanctuary, an affiliate of United Plant Savers, offers classes in natural foraging and teaches you how to make sustainable food and pharmaceuticals from the gifts of the Earth. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a class or nature walk now.
The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact your health practitioner to discuss your own health needs.