The Lipstick Tree or annatto plant (Bixa Orellana) is not only used to make lipstick, but has a host of other uses, too. Margaret and Sandy Roberts share their Lipstick Tree oil and tea recipes with us in the second part of our DIY beauty series.
Did You Know? The entire plant has been used as medicine for centuries.
- The young shoots made into a tea are taken to help with dysentery, fevers, hepatitis, and skin ailments.
- In Brazil it is taken as a purgative, a diuretic and for heartburn.
- In Mexico it is also used to relieve headaches, epilepsy, inflammatory ailments, malaria, throat and stomach ailments and as an aphrodisiac and a wash for skin ailments.
- It has also been used to treat cancer, diabetes, kidney ailments and stones, and its high antioxidant properties have been listed in worldwide pharmacopoeias. Annatto has even been found to be an insect repellent! What can’t it do?
Make a tea or oil to reap these benefits and more.
- Pour one cup of boiling water over a thumb-length young sprig, buds and flowers included.
- Add 6 to 10 seeds, crushed lightly.
- Allow the mix to stand for 5 minutes, then strain and sip slowly.
- If you like, you can sweeten it with a touch of honey.
- Warm whole or crushed seeds in sunflower oil — one tablespoon seeds to 2 cups oil — in a double boiler and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
- Stir well, often.
A vibrant and beautiful oil will emerge. Once prepared, this oil can be used in sauces, dressings, for stir-frying and for rice dishes.
Hint: Let the pods mature on the tree before reaping. They can be dried out in the shade. The inner small seeds are the spice, and they need to be stored in screw-top glass jars.
Want to make your own lipstick? Click here to learn how.
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