How to Make Natural Soaps With Native Plants
Different regions enjoy different native plants, each with their own set of beneficial properties. Aloe vera grows in warmer areas such as California, and the inside of the thick leaves is healing for sunburns and other minor skin irritations. Lavender is native to the Mediterranean, and the flowers have long been used in soaps. Wherever you live, there are native plants, flowers and herbs, some of which may be beneficial in soap. Making natural soaps with native plants is a rebatching technique that starts with hand milling a bar of good quality, natural soap.
Chop finely the usable parts of whatever native plants you are using in a small food processor, or use a sharp knife on a cutting board. Different plants have different usable parts; lavender and chamomile flowers are nice in soap.
If using gentle flowers such as lavender or chamomile, add a cup to the following recipe. If using stronger plants such as rosemary or peppermint, use 1/4 cup to the following recipe. If you are not sure how strong your native plant is, start with 1/4 cup. You can always add more next time.
Choose a high quality bar of natural soap that is fully cured. Grate the basic soap with a cheese grater.
Place a plastic bowl on a kitchen scale and set to 0. Add 9 oz. of grated soap, and put the soap in a cooking pot.
Measure 12 oz. of water into the bowl on your kitchen scale. Add the water to the soap in the cooking pot.
Melt the soap and water mixture over medium heat. Stir very gently with a wooden spoon, and try to avoid making excess suds.
Remove from heat when the soap is melted and mixed in with the water. Add your ground flowers or other native plants. Stir to mix, and pour the liquid soap into soap molds. Tap the molds to remove any air bubbles, and place them in the freezer for a couple of hours.
Remove soap molds from the freezer, and squeeze them to release the bars of soap. The soap bars will be soft. Allow the bars of soap to air dry for one week.