Infused herbal oils can seem intimidating, but if the water can be boiled, you can infuse herbs in oil.
Choosing the medicinal oil to use should be based on the availability, sustainability, and sensitivity of the skin.
How to Make Herbal Infused Medicinal Oil?
However, many artisans of herbal medicine will tell you that good quality organic olive oil is best. This is mainly due to the stability of the oil and resistance to oxidation and rancidity.
Fresh or dried
The high quality dried herbs create an extremely powerful medicinal oil. Fresh herb is excellent however using fresh herbs puts the oil at a higher risk for bacterial growth due to the high moisture content of fresh plant material, which can eventually lead to a spoiled oil.
For best results and longest shelf life, use dried herbs when making medicinal oils.
There are mainly two ways to prepare an infusion with oil and herbs:
Solar or cold infusion
Fill a glass jar 2/3 or 3/4 full with herbs and then cover the dried plant material by filling the jar with the oil of your choice. Stir to combine and let the oil and herb mixture sit for two to four weeks in a warm, sunny place.
Hot oil extract
Prepare a glass jar as if it were a solar or cold infusion. Except for this method you need to place the glass jar in a pot on the stove or in a clay pot, which is filled with a few inches of water, and place it at the bottom. Make sure to put a towel in the bottom of the pot and infuse the oil and herbs for 4-8 hours, a day, or up to 3 days. Note: Watch the pot and add the water as it evaporates.
You can also do it this way: “Place the herbs and oil in a double boiler and bring to a low simmer. Heat slowly for 30 to 60 minutes, checking frequently to make sure the oil has not overheated.
After the infusion period in either case, the medicinal oil should be filtered through a fine mesh strainer or gauze and the herbs discarded.
Once you’ve created your medicinal oil, you’re just one step away from making salves, balms, 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 extend the shelf life of medicinal oil.
Once the oil has been infused, 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 (for example, vitamin E oil, benzoin essential oil, myrrh, or rosemary, grapefruit seed extract)
In general, herbal infused oils will keep well stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
Refrigerate the oils if you have space.