Herbal oils by infusion can seem intimidating, but if you can boil the water, you can infuse herbs into oil.
Choosing the medicinal oil you are going to use should be based on the availability, sustainability and sensitivity of the skin. Herbal oils by infusion, can be made from oils such as: coconut, apricot, sweet almond, avocado, grape seeds, or sunflower.
How to make a medicinal oil with herbal infusion
However, many artisans of herbal medicine will tell you that a good quality of organic olive oil is best. This is mainly due to the stability of the oil and the resistance to oxidation and rancidity.
Fresh or dried
High quality dried herbs create an extremely potent medicinal oil. Fresh grass is excellent however; the use of fresh herbs places the oil at a higher risk for bacterial growth due to the high moisture content of fresh plant material, which in the long run can lead to spoiled oil.
For best results and longer storage life, use dried herbs when making medicinal oils.
Method of preparation
There are mainly two ways to prepare an infusion with oil and herbs:
1. Solar or Cold Infusion
Fill at 2/3 or 3/4 a glass jar with herbs and then cover the dry plant material by filling the jar with the oil of your choice. Stir to combine and let the mixture of oil and herbs rest for two to four weeks in a warm, sunny place.
2. Hot Oil Extract
Prepare a glass jar as if it were a solar or cold infusion. Except by this method you should place the glass jar in a pot on the stove or in a clay pot, which is filled with a few centimeters of water and place it at the bottom. Be sure to put a towel on the bottom of the pot and infuse the oil and herbs for 4-8 hours, a day or up to 3 days. Note: See the pot and add the water when it evaporates.
You can also do it this way: “Place the herbs and oil in a double boiler and bring to low heat. Heat slowly for 30 to 60 minutes, checking frequently to make sure the oil has not been overheated.
After the infusion period in either case, the medicinal oil should be filtered through a fine mesh strainer or gauze and the herbs are discarded.
Once you’ve created your medicinal oil you’re just one step away from making ointments, balm and lotions. However, you may not be able to immediately use all of your oil.
How to store medicinal oil
The following are some tips to protect, preserve and prolong the shelf life of medicinal oil.
Once the infusion has been made with oil, protect it from heat, light and air. Use colored glass containers; they are very useful to extend the life of homemade oil extracts.
If desired, add a natural preservative directly to the oil (e.g., vitamin E oil, benzoin essential oil, myrrh, or rosemary, grapefruit seed extract)
In general, herbal oils by infusion, will be kept well stored in a cool and dark place for up to a year.
Refrigerate the oils if you have space.