When I first read about all the benefits of a rarely known jiaogulan herb, I was quite impressed. This herb has been widely used and praised in China, where it is called the herb of immortality, but it is not very ‘famous’ in Europe where I live.
Recognized benefits of Jiaogulan are:
- reducing high cholesterol
- reducing high blood pressure
- strengthening the immune system
- improving memory
- hair loss remedy
- relieving stress
- alleviating fatigue
As for skin part, it’s benefits are:
- stimulates circulation thus making the complexion more even
- makes the skin smooth, fresh and elastic
- improves problematic skin conditions
Since everything you apply to your skin ends up in your bloodstream in a few minutes, using skin care with jiaogulan provides all these benefits, not just the ones for the skin. It won’t be nearly as effective as if you were drinking the tea, but the benefits will be present. Especially if you use your homemade cosmetics with jiaogulan every day.
In a Chinese region known for its large number of centenarians, research has found that those long-lived people consume jiaogulan tea daily, that resulted in longevity and absence of disease.
Seeing all the benefits of the herb, I decided to buy seeds and plant it. But few days later I found out my grandma just got jiaogulan plant as a present. What a nice coincidence!
I occasionally make tea with it, by simply picking a few leafs and pouring hot water over it. After it sits for a few minutes, the tea is ready.
Recently the plant has grown really enormous as you can see in the picture.
We can’t drink that much tea as the plant can make new tea material. So I decided to make macerated oil with jiaogulan fresh leafs, and then use this macerated oil for all kinds of skin care recipes, salves, and lip balms.
I haven’t still published any recipe that includes exclusively jiaogulan macerated oil, but you can simply substitute most oils (such as olive, almond, jojoba oil…) from any recipe with this macerated jiaogulan oil.
Macerating oil with fresh jiaogulan leafs
- extra virgin olive oil (you can alternatively use another oil such as almond or jojoba)
- jiaogulan fresh leafs (you can also use dried leafs)
1. Sterilize the jar and the lid
The first thing to do is to sterilize the jar where you’ll put the oil and the plant. Wash the jar and the lid thoroughly. Now put the jar and its lid in a pot filled with water. The jar and the lid should be completely covered with the water.
Put it on heat and bring it to the boil. When it boils, leave it for 10 minutes in boiling water. Now take the jar and the lid out of the water and put it on a clean paper towel. Before using it, the jar and lid should be completely dry.
Or you can sterilize the jar with another method.
Now we can start macerating the oil.
2. Chop the jiaogulan leafs as finely as possible
This way the jiaogulan leafs will release more of its juice and more of its beneficial properties. More finely it’s chopped, more beneficial properties it can release.
3. Put jiaogulan leafs in the jar and cover them with oil
Be sure that jiaogulan leafs are completely dry before doing this step because the water would encourage microbial growth and make the oil go rancid. The leafs have to be completely covered with oil.
4. Put the macerating oil in a warm place for 3-6 weeks
This is the traditional way of macerating oils and my favorite. It’s basically putting the macerate somewhere dry and sunny, such as at the window or outside if it’s warm. Preferably mix it every day for the first week and after that once a week.
If you don’t want to wait for this long you can also macerate it in a double-boiler over low heat for an hour. This method can be a bit risky because there is a chance the plant could get scorched if not done right.
If you decide to go with this faster method, be close to the oil while it’s being macerated so you can react on time if the plant starts to scorch.
5. Use the cheesecloth to filter the oil in a jar.
I usually do this by covering the opening of the jar containing macerated oil with the cheesecloth and then pouring the oil into an empty jar (that was previously sterilized).
When the oil is filtered and only leafs remain in the cheesecloth, squeeze the leafs to make sure you filter the entire oil.
Jiaogulan macerated oil is now finished. Close the jar and put the sticker on it with the date the oil was created so you know approximately until when you can use it.
Shelf life: The oil should last for at least a year before it goes rancid.
If it goes rancid sooner, you will notice the weird smell.
See how I did it:
That’s about it. Your macerated oil is now ready to be used in skin care formulations 🙂