I have been lucky enough to learn a bit more about our native kawakawa plant this week - how to infuse it's goodness into oil, and then use that to make an antibacterial balm, which also kicks butt on eczema and other skin ailments. Thanks Erin Keremeta-Kapa, tumeke!!
First we infuse the oil. Traditionally you'd place your leaves into your carrier oil and leave them to do their thing (prodding and stirring occasionally) for about 4 months. Erin had recently stumbled across a much quick way to achieve the same result overnight - use your crock pot! We both have large crock pots, so had them on low, stirred frequently, and turned them off after about 4 hours. A small crock pot would be ideal though, 'cause the big ones do tend to get a bit hot, even on low. Once this is done, strain your oil into a jar, for storage.
To make the balm you simply put the kawakawa oil and some beeswax (about 3 parts oil to 1 part wax, though this is a movable feast, depending on how firm/soft you want your balm) into a glass jar, place the jar in a pot with some water in it, and stir until the wax has melted. Then pour into your jars you'll be keeping the balm in.
I added a little lavender oil to mine too, 'cause I love the smell. They make great Christmas gifts, 'cause everyone gets cuts and scrapes from time to time. Next time I'm also going to try adding in a little shea butter, to make a creamier balm which will moisturise too.