Learning how to make an infused herbal oil is the first step in making numerous all-natural body care recipes like herbal salves, body butters, and creams. Making an infused oil is easier than you might think, and the perfect first project for a beginner herbalist.
Herbal Academy Courses
Well hello there! As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been taking The Herbal Academy’s Introductory Herbal Course over the past several weeks, and I’ve been loving it!
I already had a basic knowledge of medicinal herbs so I wasn’t sure how much I would learn from this course, but it has really surprised me how comprehensive it is.
One important topic that this course covers is how to make infused herbal oils, which is the first step in making numerous body care recipes like herbal salves, body butters and creams (such as my calendula cream).
How to Make an Infused Oil
This is a great time of year to start thinking about making infused herbal oils as you hopefully have some dried herbs laying around that you’ve collected throughout the harvest season.
Dried Herbs for Infused Oils
The first thing you need to make an infused oil is dried herbs. It is very important that the herbs are totally dry before you combine them with oil, as they can cause rancidity otherwise.
If you don’t already have your own dried herbs, Mountain Rose Herbs has a great selection of medicinal herbs to choose from.
Carrier Oils for Infused Oils
Then you will need to choose the oil that you want to use. I usually use a high quality, light olive oil, but there are many types of carrier oils that you can choose from.
Once you have those two simple ingredients, there are several ways of making infused herbal oils.
Infused Herbal Oil: Windowsill Method
The first one is probably the easiest, but it does take the most time.
This method is best when using oils that don’t go rancid quickly, like coconut or jojoba, as exposure to sunlight can degrade some oils more quickly.
Simply put the dried herbs of your choice into a jar and cover them with oil.
Stir the mixture gently with a spoon to get as many of the air bubbles out as possible.
Then put in a sunny windowsill for several weeks to steep.
Alternatively, you can put the jar in a cool place out of direct sunlight. This will help to preserve the quality of more light sensitive oils, like sweet almond oil.
When you feel it’s ready, simply strain the herbs from the oil.
Cap with a lid and use as soon as possible. Once oils have been infused they have a shorter shelf life, so I try to only make as much as I’ll use within a few months.
Any extra you might have should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.
Infused Herbal Oil: Heat Method
There are quicker ways of making infused herbal oils, as well. You can use a double boiler by putting the herbs and oil in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water.
Make sure that the oil doesn’t get too hot as to fry the herbs, and it should be done in a matter of hours.
I’ve also used a mini slow cooker on the warm setting to make calendula oil with good results.
A box style dehydrator would also work well, especially if you are already using it for something else.
I frequently use mine to make yogurt, so it’s really easy to add in an extra jar or two of herbs in oil.
Infused Herbal Oil: Oven Extraction Method
The last method that is recommended by the The Herbal Academy is oven extraction.
I have never done this, but it’s the same idea as using a dehydrator.
Put the dried herbs in oil, cover, and put in a low temperature oven for several hours, making sure not to cook the herbs.
Really, it’s as simple as that!
One thing that this course has taught me is that herbal remedies don’t have to be difficult.
While making an infused oil sounds like it could be complicated, it really is as easy as putting two ingredients together and letting them sit in the sun for a few weeks.
If you can make a cup of tea then you can do this!
Now comes the fun part… deciding which herbs you want to infuse!