Herbal infusions are highly useful creations. They can be used for any number of medicinal or cosmetic uses such as healing salves, massage oils, healing additions to soaps and lotions, and even hair care.
Simplified, an herbal infusion is herbs steeped in oil for an extended period of time. This is done so that the oil can draw out the principal essences of the herbs and suspends them in the chosen oil.
I generally use either coconut oil or olive oil for this purpose depending on what I am going to do with the oil and if having the oil solidify in cold temps (as coconut oil is want to do) will be a problem.
Oil Infusion Preparation #1
Fill a mason jar approximately 2/3 of the way full with herb.
- If you are using fresh herbs, you need to let them sit out and wilt for a few hours. This removes some of the moisture. Moisture can ruin your product causing the oil to grow rancid. Once wilted, crush and/or cut the herbs to allow for maximum surface area contact.
- If using dry herbs, simply place the herbs in the jar.
Fill the jar leaving 1/2 inch of headspace with your choice of oil. Close jar using seal and ring, or plastic lid.
- Remember that coconut oil will get solid in less than 74 degrees (depending on the variety of coconut oil you purchase, check labels). So your infusion can’t be left where the temp will get below that during the infusion process.
- Herbs will expand in the oil, and spillage can occur.
Put jar in brown paper bag and place in a window with maximum sun exposure and let steep for 4-6 weeks.
- Place on dish in case of oil spillage.
- If need be, refill jar so oil covers herbs by at least 1 inch.
- Shake gently at least once per day.
Once time is up, strain through cheesecloth, or other strainer to get all plant material from oil. Squeeze out every precious drop of your hard earned oil and store in a jar in a cupboard or other cool dark place. Amber bottles work well for this purpose.
Oil Infusion Preparation #2
AKA the quick method.
Place herbs (fresh or dried as indicated in method one) in a crock pot. Cover with one-2 inches of oil. Be sure you have enough oil for your crock so as not to scorch or overheat your herbs. At 100-140°F, steep your herbs in oil for 4 hours. Oil should take on the color and scent of the herbs.
Strain and store as above.