Making an herbal infused oil is a safe and easy way to use plants to help live a more vibrant life. Oils infused with medicinal and flavorful herbs can be used in a variety of ways, from skincare and bath goods to culinary preparations. Oil infusions are so wonderful because they can be easily made at home and are adaptable to fit your needs!
For skincare, herbal oils can be used to relieve insect bites, itchiness, dryness, rashes, sunburns, and even aches and pains. Herbs like calendula, plantain, comfrey, chamomile, yarrow, lavender work well for this purpose. Herbal oils can be be applied topically or blended with beeswax or shea butter to make a moisturizing ointments and salves. We use infused oil in all of our popular lip balms for extra nourishment and protection.
In cooking, flavorful herbs can bring new depth and enhance recipes in a simple way. Herbs like rosemary and thyme make great additions to salad dressings, sauces, and condiments. The possibilities are endless!
You can use any oil as the base of your infusion, but search for one that is unrefined and organic. Some oils to consider are: avocado oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, almond oil, sesame oil, grapeseed etc. Olive oil is a good option because it's fairly shelf stable, absorbs into the skin nicely, and is inexpensive. Coconut oil is solid at temperatures below 76 degrees F, so if you live in a cooler climate, it may not be the best option unless you have a warm spot in your home. Lighter oils absorb beautifully into the skin but are often less shelf stable and more expensive.
Use high quality organic, wildcrafted, or homegrown plants in your infusion. Herbs can be used dry or fresh, though using dry herbs increases the shelf life of the herbal oil. If using fresh herbs, make sure they are free of debris and moisture before preparation.
Mountain Rose Herbs is a good place to find high quality oils and herbs, but your local health food store should have some good options as well.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 2 clean, dry jars (any size) with tight fitting lids
- herbs of choice (I used dried calendula flowers)
- oil of choice (I used avocado oil)
- coffee filter or cheesecloth to strain
- funnel or strainer
- Fill your first jar with the herbs until about an inch or two from the top.
- Cover the herbs with the oil until the jar is full.
- Stir to release any air bubbles and then tightly seal.
- Label your jar with the ingredients used in the infusion and the date. I also always include the date which I plan to strain the infusion so I don't forget!
- Place the jar in a warm spot somewhere where you won't forget about it and can give it some love (a little shake) over the next 4-6 weeks.
Yes this DIY requires a bit of patience. Good things take time! When your infusion is ready, your oil will have absorbed the goodness from the plants and likely some of their color, too. When the time has come, prepare to decant your infusion.
- Line a strainer or funnel with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and place over an empty jar. Using a coffee filter will take much longer to strain but will ensure no little bits of herbs make it into your final oil, ideal when making skincare goods.
- Strain the infused oil into the jar, capturing and squeezing out any plant matter left behind.
- Store your herbal infused oil in a cool, dark place and apply as often as needed!
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