Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) is an annual that grows in grassy areas, such as lawns and meadows. It has long, creeping stems that root at their nodes and produce 5-petaled, yellow flowers in spring.
The plant is poisonous to animals when it is eaten or chewed. This is caused by a chemical reaction that turns the enzyme ranunculin into the toxic oil protoanemonin. Animals that eat buttercups may develop stomach pain, vomiting and loss of appetite. It can also cause rashes and blisters. The rash is painful and can be itchy.
In addition, it can be irritating to horse’s noses and mouth. If a horse eats too much buttercup, it can develop a condition known as buttercup pox. It is a common problem in horses that are fed buttercups. The rash can be itchy, red and crusty.
Make an ointment from buttercups
A buttercup ointment is an excellent home remedy for many skin conditions such as dry, cracked heels and psoriasis. The ointment helps to seal in moisture and keep the skin soft and smooth. This ointment can be used as a salve for dry, chapped skin or as a treatment for a cut.
The ointment can be mixed using a mixer and heated to a melting temperature. Heat transfer from the mixing vessel is important as it helps to disperse the functional ingredients in the ointment base.
Ointment bases are a combination of emulsifying and water-in-oil emulsifiers or hydrocarbons that have specific oleaginous compositions, such as mineral oil and petrolatum. These bases are often combined with waxes and/or fatty alcohols to achieve the desired viscosity and spreadability for the finished product.
Typical ointment bases comprise a combination of petrolatum and mineral oil or a petrolatum and waxy/fatty alcohol combination, the ratio and grades of these components being selected to provide the desired viscosity and spreadability of the finished product. Proprietary ointment bases are available, as well.
Mixers typically use dual-motion counter-rotating blades with side scrapers, as shown in Figure 7.6, to maintain constant mixing of the ointment base and the functional ingredients. When the ointment base or the finished formulation is cold/thick, mixing speed and shear are generally decreased to reduce viscosity. The shear can be increased when the ointment base or the final formulation is hot/liquid, to disperse the functional ingredients uniformly.
The ointment base is typically prepared by heating to above its melting point and then adding the functional ingredients. The ointment can be emulsified by adding a liquid emulsifier or a mixture of emulsifying agents, such as cetrimide and stearic acid. Alternatively, a solid emulsifier can be added to the base before dispersion. The emulsified ingredients are then mixed with the base to form a thick suspension of ointment. The ointment can be applied directly to the skin or it can be made into a lotion. When making a salve, a double boiler is used to warm the ointment and then add beeswax or other waxy ingredients. The ointment can then be poured into jars or tins and allowed to set.