Making: Herbal infused oils

Infused oils

Three herbal-infused olive oils: (Top-Bottom) Calendula ( Calendula officinalis ), comfrey ( Symphytum officinale )and St. John's wort ( Hypericum perforatum ). They look tasty, but don't eat! They are for external use only.

Three herbal-infused olive oils: (Top-Bottom) Calendula (Calendula officinalis), comfrey (Symphytum officinale)and St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum). They look tasty, but don't eat! They are for external use only.

Here are some tips for making herbal infused oils. For more herbal remedy recipes and tricks, please support us and have a look at our lovely new book.

Infusing oils enables the plants therapeutic benefits to be transferred into a medium that can be applied externally, stored for a longer period, and in a more convenient form. Using oil also adds warming properties that stimulate and soothe when rubbed on. These oils are the base to many other medicines and can be used to create massage oil, moisturiser, bath oil or as a base for a creams and ointments. 

Which oils to use:

Any pressed oil will suffice, if using a heating method, expensive old pressed oils are a bit wasted:

  • Sunflower oil - which is cheap and fairly neurtral in scent
  • Olive oil - cheap, nourishing and good for those with nut/seed allergies. However, it does have a stronger scent
  • Almond oil - excellent for dry and sensitive skins, light scent. More expensive than the first two.
  • Grapeseed oil - best for oily skins as it is light and easily absorbed. More expensive than the first two
  • Butters: Shea, cocoa and coconut are all great to use with methods using heat (unless you have strong sun in a hot country!), and once strained and cooled, have made an easy 'cheat's balm'
  • Many other oils are also fine, but why waste expensive oils (unless you are making it for the face).

Some herbs to start with: 

Here is an (un)exhaustive list of some great herbs to try out first time. It is best to use freshly dried herbs for herbs that are fleshy and slightly dried herbs for the rest, or the water content in many herbs may spoil the oil and cause it to go rancid, mouldy and smelly.

  • Calendula flowers (Calendula officinalis)- Great for skin healing, an anti-microbial. Infuses a beautiful orange-gold
  • St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) - This oil is used for nerve pain and aching joints. It is also an excellent remedy for the pain and scar reduction of burns. It is also anti-viral and can be used for shingles lesions. Pick when just in flower, the golden blooms and leaves will turn the oil a deep ruby colour. One of the few used fresh in oil: shop and crush the herb lightly and infuse using the sun-method way
  • Elder Leaf (Sambucus nigra) - Picked before the tree is in flower, the spring leaves create a dark green/black oil used for treating the inflammation and pain of strains, sprains and bruises
  • Daisies (Bellis perennis) - A British arnica, this oil is great for bruises
  • Rose petals (Rosa spp.)- pink and deliciously scented, great for cosmetic use and for calming &  relaxing remedies
  • Powdered herbs, warming oils with ground chilli and ginger can be made. These work best with method 2.

Methods: How to infuse your oil

There are three basic methods with different involvement levels. 

Method 1: Traditional sun method (The easiest but longest to do)

Method 2: Quick Pan method (The quickest but with heavier involvement at the time)

Method 3: Slowcooker method (Takes a bit longer - needs overnight infusing but with little effort)

Don't forget to label and date them once finished & store in a cool dark place x