Herbal Infused Oils, Easy To Make, Valuable To Have, Healthy To Use

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Infusing oils with herbs has been the practice of herbalist, chefs, and doctors for centuries. Oil acts as a solvent to extract the helpful properties of the herb and incorporating them into the oil. The chemical constituents’ of the plant material are separated from the plant material itself and filtered. The herbal oil, carrying the “active ingredients” of the herb, now has all of the beneficial properties of both the oil and the herb. Many herbalists fail to consider the importance of the oil in this partnership that has been created between oil and herb.
In order to select either the correct oil or herb for an infusion, you first have to decide how the infusion will be used. Herbal oils have wide range of uses from culinary to medicinal, and from ingested to topical. Herbal infused oils are primary ingredients in skincare products like salves and balms. They bring both the herbal benefits and the benefits of the oil to the product. Herbal oils can be used by themselves as in message oils and muscle rubs, but far more often they are a key ingredient in other healthcare or skincare products. For example, Olive oil has excellent skincare properties and thus is a great oil base for salves, lotions, and other skincare products.
After you have done a bit of research to determine the proper herbs and oils to use for your infusion, based upon the properties of the product(s) you ultimately want to create, you are almost ready to start. Do some more research and find good suppliers of herbs and oils. Certified organic is usually the way to go, but it will cost you more. Many herbs will only be available as wildcrafted. That’s fine, as long as you are dealing with reputable suppliers/growers.
Bruise your herbs a little to help them to release their goodness. A mortar and pedestal works good for this, but you can do it with just the handle of a knife with the herbs in a bowl. Just smash them a bit, not too much. Put your herbs into a clean mason jar and cover with the oil to an inch or two above the herbs. A good rule of thumb is one part herbs to two parts oil. Seal the jar and give it a good shake. Sit the jar on a sunny window seal and leave it. Give it a shake every day or so. Leave it there for at least a month. We infuse our herbal oils for much longer than that, 4 to 6 months usually. There are ways of making infused oils that take much less time, but I’m not going to discuss them because, I believe that they produce an inferior oil. These methods use heat which can destroy many of the vitamins and other volatile chemicals in the botanicals.
When your oil has soaked for long enough, you need to remove the plant material from the mix. Place several layers of cheesecloth in a colander and dump the mixture in to strain out the oil. That’s it! Bottle your oil and store it in a cool dark place. Amber or other dark colored bottles are best to protect the oil from sunlight are best. There’s no need to refrigerate. The oil has a shelf life of at least a couple of years. I always keep a jar of oil with Calendula, Chickweed, and Comfrey in my washroom for making my salves and body butters.

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