We Tried It: Bog Myrtle Moisturizer and Topical Nettle Balm
Bog myrtle, or Myrica gale, is a flowering shrub native to northern and western Europe, known to grace Scottish moors and bogs around the northern reaches of the highlands. Historically, early alchemists have used the essential oils of bog myrtle as insect repellent, an astringent, an antiseptic, and an abortifacient (though the latter function has fallen out of favor in modern society).
On a recent trip trough Scotland, our team came across two curious new beauty finds: Bog Myrtle moisturizer and Organic Nettle Balm, both of which were being sold by an artisan soap maker at a farmer’s market in Lile (and yes, there was a bagpipe circle). The farmer-craftsman who made both salves told me that nettle moisturizer is good for psoriasis, and even though I personally don’t struggle with that affliction, I know many people who do, and I was curious how the plant’s active ingredients may play into favor for this treatment.
Nettle is a plant that has historically been used to temper the effects of seasonal allergies, which are often a function of low-level autoimmune system issues. Applied topically, nettle– Urtica dioica— is known to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which is why nettle balm can be used to treat rashes and other skin conditions like eczema as a less-invasive alternative to steroidal Hydrocortisone cream.
Bog myrtle moisturizer, on the other hand, is very light and cooling, with a delightful, rosemary-like scent that makes it suitable for both genders. Bog myrtle’s leaves (the main part used) are collected in the summer, while its flowers (in the form of catkins) are collected in the spring. The particular bog myrtle moisturizer we found in Scotland was made with a distillate of the entire plant, and we couldn’t be happier with the moisturizer’s ‘clean’ feel. Because bog myrtle is slightly astringent, the moisturizer rubs on smooth without feeling oily, which makes it suitable for both face and body.