It’s funny, considering I grew up in New Hampshire, where the winters are long and brutal. (For you non-Americans out there, New Hampshire is in the northeast USA, much farther north than New York, even more north than Boston!) But somehow we were more prepared for it in NH. Long underwear, blazing fireplaces, and most importantly, well insulated houses and windows!
Here in London it never gets THAT cold (in New Hampshire terms), but it feels frigid with the damp drizzle … and the fact that I walk a lot and wait for the train outside probably doesn’t help.
Our single glazed windows had a steady cold breeze coming through them last winter, and I’d taken to wearing full-on frumpy gear at home. Thermal long underwear, flannel pjs, wool sweaters, fuzzy socks, even fingerless gloves! Ridiculous.
We’ve since moved house, but I’m still not leaving the cold weather to chance. I’ve got my winter warmer rum. Lots of fizzies and oils for hot baths. And now this, my chili foot oil.
I’ve been intrigued since I came across this recipe, and recently we had an excess of chili peppers from our windowsill chili plant. So I seized the moment and made a big batch of chili foot oil. Chilis, mustard and pepper are heating ingredients, almost to the point of being skin irritants. The theory behind this oil is that it irritates and heats the skin to increase circulation to wherever you apply it. For that same reason, you want to avoid putting this near your eyes or any other sensitive area! Like all products, test it on a small patch of skin first before using it regularly. I’ll report back this winter and let you know how it’s working!
Hot Chili and Mustard Foot Oil
Adapted from James Wong’s Grow Your Own Drugs
500 ml. sunflower oil
4 fresh chilis (cayenne), chopped
50 g. ginger root, chopped
50 g. whole black pepper seeds
50 g. mustard powder
Put all ingredients in a clean glass jar. (Ok you probably don’t need a photo illustration of this step, but I took them, so here you go!) Don’t forget to put a label on the jar.
Let it macerate in a sunny windowsill for at least 1 month. Shake the bottle whenever you think of it, maybe every couple days.
Strain through a cheesecloth and pour into a dark glass bottle.
To use: rub a bit of oil into your feet at night before bed, cover with socks (to protect your feet). Wash your hands afterwards and be careful not to get it in your eyes – ouch!!
First impressions: The smell is … not good. Very mustard-y. It does feel warm on my hands though, so maybe it’ll do the trick. I’ll report back after giving it a proper testing period!
Do you have any winter warming remedies, tips or tricks? Let us know!
Let's Trace the Roots of You
(Re)discover the foods, places, traditions, and rituals that make you, YOU.
Sign up for weekly insights to get unstuck + create a life of meaning!