Making Herb-Infused Oils

Create herb-infused oils for treatment of the skin and body.

| November 2015

Power of the Seed (Process Media, 2015) by Susan M. Parker gathers comprehensive information on oils in one place, making it a complete reference. Beginners can start with easy-to-follow recipes, while the adept have easy access to the most in-depth information available anywhere.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Power of the Seed.

Oils and Herbs

Herbal oil infusions are time-tested combinations providing an amazing array of beneficial actions for the skin. By extracting beneficial botanical properties of leaves, flowers, stems, and roots into oil, the herb’s phyto-medicinal properties are transferred to the oil for treatment of the skin and body.

Infusing Herbs in Oil

Infusing herbs into oil or fat is probably one of the oldest forms of medicine-making. Traditional methods in herbalism and perfumery use oils to extract scent and medicine. Submerging plant material in oil transfers the healing properties, scent, and color to the oil. Infusions of fresh or dried herbs transforms oil into a healing balm to be used directly or included in a cream or salve. The herbs used can be dried or fresh. However, plant material that has had all of its moisture removed through drying is easier to work with. If not handled correctly, moisture in fresh plant material can spoil your infusion.

Oil has a tendency to weep or wick; it will push out the top of the jar, especially in warm weather, and make a mess. Leave some room in the top of your infusing jars to allow for oil expansion and place a tray beneath your oil infusions to protect your counters or furniture.

Working with Dry Herbs

Place the plant material in a canning jar, filling it about a half to two-thirds full. Pour the oil over the plants and work the oil down into the dried material with a chopstick or skewer. Keep plant material submerged fully in the oil or it can develop mold where it is exposed to air. Placing a paper coffee filter cut to the size of the top of the jar, press the plant material down below the surface of the oil. The coffee filter will help trap the plant material below the surface of the oil and will protect your infusion. When submerged, pour more oil to cover the filter and plant material, leaving a bit of room for the oil to expand, and close with a lid.

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