Botanical Infused Oils

Herbal infused oils are one of our favourite things to create; wether it be to add to a cream, or to use on its own, infused oils are a great way to start using herbs in your life. You can create potent oils with healing properties to use on wounds, beautiful coloured oils you can use in your skincare or haircare routine, natural ‘perfume’ oils, or even flavoured cooking oils. Just as many of the other herbal products I’ve shared before there are a couple of different ways to make your infused oils.

Something you may want to consider before making an infused oil is the purpose for your creation - this may affect the type of oil you use { ie. if it’s something you’re going to use on your face you might want a lighter oil, compared to something that will be used on the rest of your body } Some of our favourite oils to use include almond, grape seed, jojoba and olive oil - but what you use is completely up to you { however it may depend which method you use to extract the herbal properties } There are two types of herbal ‘extraction’ processes that we will be summarising in todays post; these are cold and warm maceration. The information provided today is likened to that of a ‘folk’ method - no measurements have been used, simply the eyes and intuition.

 

Cold Maceration
This process is similar to that of tincture making { you can find our post on alcohol based herbal extracts here }, in that you are allowing the herb to sit in the liquid portion for two weeks in a jar, shaking daily. The difference is simply the liquid base - in this case it is oil rather than alcohol. This method is best used for oils that tend to go rancid when heated { some of those thinner oils like jojoba and grape seed are best used for this method }

To make an infused oil with the cold maceration method:

  • Gather the herbs you would like to use in the oil, { you can choose to keep them separate or put them all together }
  • Using a mortar and pestle, grind the herbs into smaller pieces. { If you don’t have a mortar and pestle you can always chop them up, just ensure that there are no contaminants on your board / knife - however you can now find cheap / mini mortar and pestles in places like target }
  • Sterilise a jar with an airtight lid, and ensuring there is no trace of water left, place the ground herbs in the jar
  • Pour your chosen oil over the herbs, until they are completely covered, plus a little extra. Close the lid of your jar and store in a warm, dark place. If the jar is clear glass, you can place it in a brown paper bag to help protect the oil from the light. { If you have an amber glass jar, use this }
  • Shake the jar once - twice daily, ensuring the herbs are thoroughly dispersed through the oil.
  • After two weeks of this process, strain the oil using a cheese cloth, into another sterilised amber jar, or if this is for your face perhaps into a dropper bottle. You may need to strain the oil a few times to ensure all the sediments are removed. Be sure to squeeze the herbs as they will have absorbed some of the oil as well.
  • Once the oil is in your desired container, label with what is in the oil, plus the date you made it and store in a dark, dry place. This should keep for 12 months but will depend on how well the jar was sterilised, as well as if any contaminants got into the oil. You may want e to smell the oil and look at it’s colour when first made for comparison later on.

Botanical Oils

(image is of a beautiful infused oil by Folkly Herbals)

Warm Maceration

For the process of warm maceration you will need a double boiler, or a small saucepan that fits comfortably inside of another saucepan { we use the later } as well as your desired oil, a thermometer a sterilised jar / or dropper bottle and cheesecloth. The oil you choose for this method should be able to heated, like olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil. While you can certainly use any herbs for this method, you may want to consider not using herbs with lots of volatile oils - this is simply because when they are heated, all of the beautiful smells will be released into your kitchen { which is great } but you won’t have many left in your infused oil. To make an infused oil using warm maceration:

  • Again gather your desired herbs, oil. plus other equipment { This process can be done in an hour or so }
  • Grind your desired herbs in a mortar and pestle
  • Add your herbs to the smallest saucepan, covering with oil plus a little extra. { I will give you some more precise measurements / ratios when I share my recipes with you }
  • Fill the bigger saucepan with enough water to comfortably sit your smaller saucepan in, without any of the water spilling over the sides.
  • Turn the stove onto a low - medium heat, place the thermometer in the oil and ensure it stays under 40 degrees celsius as some of the constituents may be destroyed above this temperature. Simmer the herbs for at least an hour, though you can leave them for longer if you feel they need extra time.
  • When you feel like the oil is read, strain through the cheesecloth, ensuring you squeeze the herbs again, and place into your desired jar. Label with contents and date, and store in a dark dry place.

We hope you enjoyed today’s blog post and learnt a little about making a herb infused oil. Comment below with any thing you would like to see next, or with any of your thoughts on this post.

Kindest,
Sarah

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