Infused botanical oils.

Making Botanical Infused Oils

There is something so gratifying and magical about making herbal oils. The uses are endless and it is one of the best ways to start learning about herbs and their uses. I recommend trying this process for folks curious about herbs because it is so simple to do.

I have experimented for years with various methods of infusing oils. My preferred method is to let them sit in darkness in a warm spot for a minimum of 6 weeks. Some folks have asked us why infuse in the dark ? Well I used to solar infuse herbs on my window sill as well but the more I work with herbs I have noted a few things. The main note is the sun degrades organic materials quickly. I have noticed my tea herb in the kitchen if left in sunlight deteriorate in colour and potency. I have experimented with  2 jars of the same herbs in oil and then putting one in the light and one in the darkness. Although both methods semed to work great, I noted the oils seem more potent using the dark and warm method. The dark and warm infusion style in my opinion protects the herb quality as well as the longevity of the carrier oils. Our carrier oils have a shelf life and are best kept out of the sun to preserve their longevity. Having said that I am always of the opinion that each person follow their own heart !! The solar infused oils were still very beautiful.

I have worked with many carrier oils. My choice carriers right now are Sunflower Oil, Sweet Almond, Jojoba, Olive and Avocado. There are several online resources to research their qualities and shelf life. I always highly recommend only using organic carrier oils and herbs.

Fawn and Crow Body Oil Infusions

The jars above have just been shaken up and appear fuller than they actually are !! They will settle in an hour or so. Shaking them daily helps to break down the herb and assist the infusion process, and its fun !

The other processes I have learned is the quick method. The idea is to infuse your brew slowly on low heat using a croc pot or double boiler for a few hours. I rarely employ this method as I am a firm believer of medicines taking time. Slow is ok with me ! I reserve the double boiler infusion method when using hard barks, or tree resins that require heat to release the medicinal properties ! Due to the flammability of oils and tenderness of the medicinal properties I make sure that the heat is very low.

When making medicinal oils it is best to use dried herbs to avoid any spoilage. If your plants or flowers have not been dried correctly you may risk creating mold and sadly ruining all of your lovely efforts ! I have yet to have this happen but have seen it many times happen to other folks. The only herb that I do not use in oils dried is St John's Wort. I use this plant after air drying for approx 1-2 days. The flowers become wilted but is still considered fresh not fully dried. St John's Wort must be used fresh to get the oil that lovely bright ruby colour. Make sure to monitor your St John's infusion daily to check for any plant matter going rancid.

Sage and Plantain Infusion

The variations are endless when making infused oils. I find it useful to build up a few single herb infusions so that you can later blend them together. Eventually after doing a few infusions you can make some cool multi blend of infused herbs. When I make multi herb infusions I am sure to research and study the actions and energetics of these herbs. 

Fawn and Crow Body Oil Infusions

Herbal “actions” are one way to categorize plants according to their effects on the body. An example would be an analgesic, antiseptic, or antispasmodic property. There are many actions and it is very crucial to understand these properties of the individual herbs especially when using internally. Energetics refer to the properties that could be cooling, warming, dry, moist etc, and how they work with the constitution of the user. If you were making an oil or salve for someone with very dry cracked skin, we would choose moist hydrating herbs vs drying or astringent herbs. It is useful to do some research of materia medica and specific plant monographs

One can use the folk method of parts or weigh your herbs and make calculated recipes. The parts method is a folk method that is usually 1 part dried herb to 4 or 5 part carrier oil. A part could be a tablespoon, cup or oz. I usually make sure my recipe does not fill my herbs passed 2/3 of the vessels I am using as the herbs expand as they absorb oil and will take up some for volume as they soak. 

An example of a Parts recipe

"Parts" in this recipe are 1 oz

1 part dried calendula  

4 parts Carrier oil

This translates to 1 oz of dried calendula to 4 oz of carrier oil. 

You can weigh these herbs using a scale and make your own recipes in grams or ounces as well. Some awesome herbs to start with infusing that are more than likely in your yard or easily available to purchase are Calendula, Chamomile, Chickweed, Plantain, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Nettle, Marshmallow root, Rose petals, Clover, Sage, Yarrow and Fireweed. 

There are some great resources to find organic ethically sourced herb if you do not have access to them locally. Here are my trusted suggestions in so called Canada.

Zhi Herbs

Organic Matters

I hope folks experiment with medicinal herb infusions and can empower yourself to make a small first aid kit for home use or regular body care. There is a myriad of uses for these oils ! 

Have fun !







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