May 19

Herbal Drawing Oil Recipe


Herbal Drawing Oil 1aThis is an infused oil that can be used in drawing salves or spread over a large area. There are probably hundreds of ways to make an oil like this, but when I make mine, it all begins with plantain infused in castor oil.

Why Castor Oil?

I’ve had the best luck drawing out splinters, stingers, and irritating mosquito saliva when using castor oil, as opposed to other oils, in different formulas. My drawing salves and drawing oils have been far more effective when I use castor oil, than other oils. However, since castor oil can result in loose stools when used in large amounts topically (as is done with castor oil packs) or internally, I mix castor oil with olive oil in my salves.

Before we go any further, I need to smash a myth about castor oil. If you read up on caster oil you will no doubt see the warnings not to apply it to broken skin, never mind taking it internally. Truth is, the toxic ricin found naturally in castor beans is in the “waste” mash that results from processing the oil out of the bean. This waste mash is not bottled along with the oil.

In spite of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the World Health Organization, and the International Castor Oil Association have deemed castor oil safe for internal consumption, you will still find abundant warnings about not using it with broken skin. The Journal of Toxicology’s Final Report on Castor Oil is clear on the point that ricin does not contaminate castor oil. The science doesn’t support the myth that castor oil should only be used on broken skin. Therefore, I will continue using castor oil in my drawing salves, even it there might be a scrape or puncture involved.

Castor Oil Side Effects

Just because ricin doesn’t contaminate castor oil, that doesn’t mean there aren’t side effects to be concerned about. In larger, internal doses, castor oil can trigger intestingal cramping and diarrhea. However, in recommended amounts, it is useful to relieve constipation. For some people, castor oil can cause skin irritations. While I have yet to see this happen, I do believe it’s possible. Anyone at any time can be allergic or sensitive to anything.

The only significant caveat I would put forward regarding castor oil is not to use it during pregnancy. Castor oil packs are sometimes used to bring on labor. So, unless you are trying to stimulate labor, I’d avoid castor oil in general. Go ahead and use an oil or oil blend that you like, such as olive, sweet almond, grapeseed, or coconut.

Plantain- A Drawing Herb

There are a variety of herbs that you could use to draw out the venom of a bee sting or the irritating saliva of black flies or mosquitos. However, plantain, a common weed in most lawns, is my top pick. If it’s warm enough to have to mow your lawn, chances are, you have fresh plantain at your fingertips.

Herbal Drawing Oil | Narrowleaf Plantain | Plantago lanceolata |

To use plantain in a drawing oil, it is important to use the fresh plant. The dried leaf won’t produce an effective poultice, drawing oil, or drawing salve. You can use either narrowleaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata) or broadleaf plantain (Plantago major).

Plantain can be made into an poultice by mashing up a leaf and applying it directly to bug bites and bee stings to quickly draw out the irritant. The healing and drawing properties of plantain can also be preserved by infusing it into a carrier oil of your choice. The oil can then be used to make salves, lotions, creams, or just applied as is.

Plantain has many more uses than just drawing out mosquito saliva. Plantain is beneficial for nearly every skin condition, helps to regenerate skin cells, and is anti-inflammatory. It is, however, the most effective drawing or pulling herb I know. It is an essential ingredient for this recipe.

Other herbs that can be helpful in your overall formula may be calendula, comfrey, marshmallow, or pine pitch. Each of these are  soothing skin-healing herbs. However, if you choose comfrey, be aware that it is such a fast healer it is best to keep it for surface wounds only. If you use it on a deeper wound, it may heal the top layers before you draw out your grit or stinger. If you need to draw out foreign objects, like splinters and gravel, be sure to include pine pitch.

Herbal Drawing Oil Recipe

This infused oil is so simple. All you will need is the following:

  • 2 cups of chopped, fresh plantain leaves
  • 2 cups of an herbal blend of one or all of the following herbs either fresh or dried¬†(optional- if leaving out, add more plantain)
    • comfrey leaves
    • calendula flowers
    • lavender flowers
    • marshmallow root
  • 2 cups of castor oil
  • 4 cups of olive oil
  • A crockpot to warm the oils and herbs while they infuse

Chop up your plantain and comfrey, and then add them to your crockpot. Cover the herbs with your oils, and set to warm. When you’re done infusing your herbs, strain and bottle. Your oil is now ready for use on it’s own, or in any skin healing herbal formula.

I let this go all day, but out of an abundance of caution, I turn it off and unplug it at night or if I go out, leaving the herbs in the crockpot until I turn it on again. A useable oil can be obtained in as little as 2 hours, but I normally let mine go for 1 to 2 days. When I have the option, I prefer to leave this to warm for up to 2 weeks.

Herbal Drawing Oil |

As a non-electric alternative, you can fill a mason jar with your herbs, cover with oil, and allow it to steep for 6 weeks. The only problem with this is that fresh herbs contain a little water. If you’re not careful, that water can cause your infused oil to spoil over the course of 6 weeks.

Be sure to “burp” the jar, and keep it in a cool location. Also, keep a plate or something to catch oil until your jar. Infusing oils in this manner has a tendency to cause the oil to weep out of the jar.

Please note: If you choose to use pine pitch, your crockpot may never look the same again. Use an old slowcooker you don’t mind being a bit stained.

For more herbal recipes written with emergency preparedness in mind, please check out my book, Prepper’s Natural Medicine. Release date June 9, 2015!

Prepper's Natural Medicine Small


Castor oil, Comfrey, Drawing Oil, Plantain

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  1. I use a mason jar or even a clean vegetable can when making oils or tinctures that stain or might leave an impossible to clean out residue in the container. These are freebies, can be thrown away after making your tinctures, oils, etc. Hubby made me a rack (of sorts) to put the can in. It’s made from a coat hanger, has a circle just a wee bit larger than a vegetable can 3 wires that are wrapped around the ring on top and a “U” shaped wire just a tiny bit shorter than the depth of the can, wired wrapped to the circle extending downward to hold the base of the can. I nearly ruined a small crockpot making walnut hull tincture and came up with the idea and design of the can holder. It works great!!

    And, a side note on the castor oil. I know we herbalists each have our own likes and dislikes, but being a retired RN, for us, castor oil is a no-no here. I respect your personal decision to use it in your drawing oil, but I prefer neem oil for it’s analgesic, anti-biotic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory benefits. It doesn’t smell all that great, but it sure works great. Or, I just use coconut oil when the Neem isn’t available.


    1. Candy,

      Love your point on the mason jars!

      About the caster oil… I did a lot of research before using it specifically because of the myth that it shouldn’t be used on broken skin. I must reiterate what I wrote in the article. It’s more than just a personal decision, it’s an evidence based decision. It’s an evidence-based decision supported by the fact that FDA, WHO, and the International Journal of Toxicology have all deemed castor oil safe for internal consumption as it does not contain ricin. In this topical application for insect bites, we’re talking about a fraction of the amount of castor oil recommended as safe by the previously mentioned mainstream medical organizations.

      So, in the absence of ricin, and in a dose much smaller than the dosage deemed safe by the aforementioned institutions (it’s not like people are being dunked in a tub of it), and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I fail to see how a topical application would be a “no no”. Now, if you just happen to prefer neem for the benefits you listed, that’s cool. But, I don’t think it’s useful to perpetuate the myth that castor oil is unsafe.

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