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multipurpose ingredients for diy natural recipes

Simplify is one of my favorite words. And there’s no area of my life that hasn’t been affected by my desire to make things simpler.

One area is my drawer of ingredients for all of my natural DIY recipes.

Over the years, I’ve picked up a lot of ingredients. Like, cabinets full. But what I quickly realized was that I had a few favorite ingredients that I used over and over and over again.

So I thought I’d share those ingredients with you today, whether you’re looking to simplify as well, are looking for something new to try or are just getting started with natural DIY recipes:

Shea Butter

Shea butter is a great fat to use in natural recipes. I know that some use cocoa butter, but shea butter is my favorite. Shea butter is anti-inflammatory, healing and moisturizing. It’s great in all kinds of recipes for the skin, from soap to healing ointment to facial moisturizer. Look for organic, fair-trade shea butter when you buy it.

Coconut Oil

The multi-purpose oil of the real food world. Coconut oil is healing, moisturizing, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and makes a great base for a number of different recipes. You can whip it with shea butter and add some essential oils for a nice moisturizer, melt it with some wax and add essential oils for a great lip balm or even use it plain to cleanse and moisturize your skin.


I know a lot of people use beeswax in their natural recipes and it’s great for lip balms and salves. I use candelilla wax in my recipes, mainly because it’s what I started with and every time I run out, my supplier is out of beeswax pastilles. Candelilla wax is a great vegan option, but if that’s not a priority, beeswax works just fine.

I recommend pastilles versus big chunks of wax because they melt faster and are easier to weigh out.

Essential Oils

I use essential oils every day for some reason or another. They are especially great for natural recipes because of their awesome scent and even more amazing therapeutic properties. These are the essential oils I use most in recipes:

  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • Frankincense
  • Wild Orange
  • Melaleuca
  • Lemon

Raw honey

Raw honey is full of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. It’s also a powerful antioxidant and a great base for natural cough medicine. Raw honey is good for the skin, which is why it’s great for adding to moisturizing body wash and homemade shampoo.

Castile Soap

Castile soap is a vegetable-based soap that comes in liquid or solid form. I make an herbal bar soap that I’m pretty sure qualifies as castile soap. It’s also biodegradable, making it an excellent choice for camping and other outdoor uses where it might wash into streams. It goes in a lot of recipes around my house. Read more castile soap uses.

Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay is rich in minerals and contains antimicrobial properties. It can be added to water and consumed for upset stomach, made into a paste to treat burns and other wounds and can also be made into a homemade toothpaste, like the one below.


I used to have cabinets full of herbs. Seriously. Now, I have a few main ones that I keep on hand all the time in small packages (and a few others that I’ll get every once in a while for certain recipes). When I buy herbs, I buy ones that have been dried and cut.

Comfrey – Comfrey has the wonderful ability to heal sores, abrasions and bruises quickly. Comfrey’s mucilagenous property makes it soothing to irritated skin. Several stories I’ve read reported that broken bones heal faster when a comfrey salve is applied. It also promotes fast healing and much-needed pain relief. Read more about comfrey.

Calendula – Calendula is well-known for its ability to promote wound healing and it’s anti-inflammatory properties.  It’s great for soothing the skin and a must-have in any healing ointment recipe I make. Read more about calendula.

Arnica – Arnica Montana is a yellow flowering herb that is often used for treating bruises, sprains and muscle pain. And it works – fast! Read more about arnica.

Marshmallow Root – The mucilage, or gummy secretion, in the leaves and particularly the root, is helpful for soothing minor wounds. Marshmallow root has pain-soothing properties and also lubricates, softens and heals. Read more about marshmallow root.


Most of my recipes contain some combination of the above ingredients. Here are some of the ones I make on a regular basis.

What are your favorite multi-purpose ingredients?