Saturday, January 10, 2009
Creating your own herbal infused oils at home
Yesterday while browsing through Mother Earth Magazine's website I came across an article about making your own herbal infused oils. Herbal infused oils are great for many purposes: bath oil, massage oil, a healing after shower oil for dry skin, a base for making your own herbal balms, salves, lotions, creams, soaps, or even using directly on your skin.
I had dried a few herbs from our garden over the summer and I had a lovely little fragrant bag of beautiful dried lavender from my dryings that I had been saving for something special to use it for and this sounded like the perfect project. :)
Lavender is a wonderfully soothing and aromatic herb regarded for it's antiseptic, muscle relaxing, pain easing, and nerve soothing properties.
I have never made infused oils before but I read through the linked 'how to' page and I had everything on hand so I thought I would give it a try.
There are actually a few different ways to infuse an oil with herbs...you can do it using a solar method (I would like to try this one out in the summer but since it's not very sunny right now I thought I would skip this method for now), using a double boiler, using a crock pot (which I found on another site), or using your oven. I choose the oven method since it sounded the most simple and I just wanted an afternoon project (although I'm sure the solar method would probably give you the best results since the herbs are in the oil for a longer period of time and would probably give you a more fragrant oil).
So I gathered my supplies and got to work. All you will need are your dried herbs, a carrier oil such as an organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, an oven proof dish with a cover, a spoon for mixing, a strainer, and a clean sterile jar to hold your finished oil in.
Heat your oven to 150 degrees, mix equal parts of olive oil and your dried herb together in your baking dish (make sure the oil covers the herbs so your herbs don't burn), cover your dish and stick it into the oven for 2 hours stirring occasionally. After the 2 hours is up carefully remove your dish from the oven and let it cool completely. Once cool then strain your oil so all the bits of herbs are removed so your oil won't go rancid. You may have to strain it more than once to remove everything. I ended up having to strain my oil a second time through 2 small squares of toilet paper to remove the teeny tiny herb pieces that remained (since I didn't have any cheesecloth on hand and we don't buy paper napkins or disposable coffee filters and I didn't think dh would appreciate his coffee tasting like lavender lol... so the toilet paper was the only thing I could think of to use...but hey it worked lol). The openings on my bottles were too small to directly strain the oil into so I strained it into a liquid measuring cup first and then once it was all strained then used the measuring cup's pour spout to pour the oil into my glass bottle...a lot less messy that way.
I made both mint infused oil (the green oil pictured directly above) and lavender infused oil (pictured at the top of this post).
For information on making your own herbal salves using your homemade infused oils (another thing on my every growing 'to-do' list *smile*) check out: here