Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Gone to the bees ...
I have hand eczema. I’ve had it for years. I’m careful with hand creams, avoid perfumes and harsh chemicals yet my eczema persists. It can be eradicated with steroids but not without significant side effects. And as soon as the medication is stopped the disease returns. So I’ve learned to live like a leper. People recoil when they see my out-stretched hand. They fear handshake transmission. At work I feign bite-wound injury. People don’t mind shaking a hand munched on by a bacterial laden cat. But eczema? No way!
Then last week I had a terrible flare-up. My eczema was more than a cosmetic disturbance. It became a painful and crippling entity. My hand throbbed, weeped and had shooting pains. It was hard to function. Clearly something had to be done. But what? Your average person, a smart person, would go to the doctor for a prescription to get the flare-up under control. But not me. No.
I decided to make a natural cure-all hand cream from the internet. It must work, right? If it is written it is so. And all I needed was beeswax, honey and olive oil. Pure. Natural. Simple.
Forever frugal I printed a 25% off coupon and headed to the craft store for beeswax which I found in the candle section. I’ve never worked with beeswax before and learned a few things I will share with you now:
1) Beeswax bars are impossible to cut or break apart without some sort of power tool.
2) Beeswax melts quickly over the stove.
3) Bars that stick out of the pan will drip over the side and all over the stove.
4) Beeswax is highly flammable (I had a small stove top fire and luckily nothing else).
5) Removed from heat beeswax quickly re-coagulates.
6) Beeswax does not come off with soap and water.
7) Beeswax does not come off with vinegar.
8) Beeswax does melt if doused with boiling water.
9) After a boiling water dousing beeswax will form into small beads, redistribute over the stove top and adhere to the surface.
10) The Cat in the Hat has nothing on me.
11) I do not have Thing One or Thing Two for cleaning assistance.
12) But I do have the internet.
13) Citrus essential oil (in this case grapefruit) removes beeswax.
14) Beeswax, honey and olive oil make a lovely paste that does indeed improve eczematous lesions.
I’m only a few days out with this concoction and my hand is healing. Only time will tell if this salve is an actual cure-all. I did, however, made a connection with a local beekeeper and have a source for free beeswax should I want it. If my eczema continues to clear I’ll likely be performing additional chemistry experiments in my kitchen. Perhaps I should stock up on essential oil.