In this post, we look at how to make herb infused olive oil for health and healing. Often herb infused oils are simply seen as ingredients for cooking that we keep in the stock cupboard.
But are you aware that infusing olive oil (or any other carriers) with herbs will not only add flavor and spice to your cooking but will also transform them into healing, soothing and relaxing aromatherapy oils and alternative medicinal preparations.
Let’s Make Herb Infused Olive Oil!
In this post, we look at a simple, and very natural and effective, method for infusing oils utilizing the power of the sun. We offer our suggestions of specific medicinal herbs that you can use and the healing benefits gained from each infusion.
Folk and Simpler Method For Health.
This method for infusing oil is known commonly as the Folk or Simplers method.
It is extremely easy to do and relies on the natural energy of the sun to infuse your carrier oil with the goodness and healing properties of your chosen herbs.
Following our step by step guide to preparation will ensure you get a quality product with all the essences for health.
There are countless herbs that you can use to prepare infused oils and I will list some of my favorite herbs at the end of this post.
You will note that I suggest Olive but in reality, you can use any carrier. Olive Oil has one of the longest shelf lives of all oils and is suitable for the full range of applications.
Once prepared you are able to use your herb infused olive oil in a similar way as you would other essential oils for health and healing.
You can also use it to create other healing creams and salves such as lip balm, massage oil, hair and body treatments, soaps, anti-inflammatory creams and a whole lot more.
Folk And Simpler’s Method – Make Herb Infused Olive Oil.
- Select the herbs that you wish to use. You can use fresh or dried herbs, but fresh is always better!
- For fresh herbs you should hang them in a dry warm spot out of the light for 12-24 hours. This will allow your herbs to wilt and lose excess moisture. This is done as excess moisture can cause the carrier oil to go rancid.
- After 12 – 24 hours excess moisture will be gone and the herbs will be ready to use.
Tip: I hang my herbs inside an old pillowcase in a closet. This ensures a warm, dry, dark environment and also adds fantastic fragrance to the room!Healthy Natured
- Once wilted cut the herbs into small 1/2 inch pieces and bruise the herbs in a pestle and mortar. You want to lightly bruise the herbs, not mince or crush them. This is too help release the oils.
- Place the bruised herbs into a clean, dry glass jar. Make sure you use a jar that you can seal with an airtight lid!
Tip: If using dried herbs you don’t need to hang or bruise.Healthy Natured
- Choose a light-colored olive oil (you don’t need to use extra virgin oil – a good brand from the grocery store is fine!).
- Pour the oil into the jar on top of the herbs and allow it to soak into the foliage. You need to cover the herbs by about an inch.
- Leave at least 1/2 inch of clear space at the top of the jar. The herbs will swell and this gives them adequate room.
Tip: Check the oil level often and make sure the herbs remain submerged.Healthy Natured
- The herbs, especially if very dry, will absorb the olive oil and you may need to keep topping up the jar to ensure the herbs remain totally immersed and covered.
- Screw the cap onto your jar and give a good shake to ensure all the herbs and the oils are mixed well.
- Place your jar in a sunny, warm area. If you are preparing this in winter, or you don’t live in a location that has hot sunny days, you can cover the jar with a brown paper bag. This will act almost in the same way as a heat pad and form an insulating barrier. You can also set the jar in a hot water bath for a couple of hours per day.
- Shake the oil daily and check the oils are at the correct level.
- Once the oil has infused, see timings below, strain the oil through muslin or cheesecloth. Make sure you wring the herbs tightly in the cloth to get every last drop of your fabulous oil.
- Pour your now ready oil into clean, dry and preferably dark glass jars. Brown or blue is best and store in a cool dark place. If you only have clear glass jars they will be fine, just ensure you keep the mixture away from light sources.
Timings For Herb Infused Oil For Health And Healing
Time to wait? The best infusions are made when you allow the jar of herbs to sit for 4 weeks undisturbed, apart from its daily shake and occasional oil top-up.
No time to wait? If you need the infusion as soon as possible you can do the following.
Let the preparation sit for 48 hours. Then strain the herbs out of the oil. To this light infusion add a fresh portion of the dried herbs. By using the same strained oils and fresh herbs every 48 hours you can speed the process.
You’ll want to do this a minimum of 2-3 times. This is a fast way to get maximum herbal infusion into the oil in the minimum amount of time.
Need It Even Quicker?
There is another, even quicker way to infuse oils, however, I do recommend the gentle sun-infused method. This method definitely works, if you are careful and don’t end up deep-frying your chosen herbal goodies!
Place your herbs into a large thick-bottomed saucepan, or double boiler/crock-pot, or even an electric rice cooker and cover with olive oil.
You need to add enough oil to completely cover your chosen herbs by at least 1 inch.
Then very gently heat the oil to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This needs to remain at this heat, dependent on the herb, for anything from 1- 8 hours.
The easiest way to check if the mix is ready is to test for when the oil has taken on the color and the scent of the herb. If you still smell olive above the scent of the herb it needs more time and possibly more herbs.
If you have a safe way to keep at a fixed temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, 48 hours will give a deeper and more full-bodied infusion.
Alternatively placing your herbal oils, as prepared above, into a very hot bath of water, and replacing the hot water regularly, will be a safer method and give you an equally good result.
Tip: Adding a few drops of Vitamin E Oil to each preparation when bottling for storage, regardless of the method used, will prolong the shelf life.Healthy Natured
Which Herbs Should I Choose.
Make Herb Infused Olive Oil For Health And Healing:
1. Arnica flowers.
Amazing for any external healing. Excellent for bumps, bruises and tired aching muscles. A brilliant oil for anyone with muscle fatigue and used in aromatherapy or healing hands massage.
2. Calendula flowers.
This gives an extremely potent fragrance which is an excellent insect repellent while being a lovely fragrance for humans! It is an excellent oil for anyone with sensitive skin and can be used safely for baby nappy rash.
3. Cayenne Pepper.
Another truly amazing oil which can be used to massage into arthritic joints or applied to any aches and pains.
This is an excellent oil to soothe irritated or dry skin, it also alleviates the itch and sting of insect bites.
5. Lemon Balm.
Soothes sensitive or irritated skin and is an excellent anti-bacterial for minor scrapes, cuts, and abrasions.
6. Mullein flowers.
One of the most widely known and used infusion oils for soothing inflammation or irritation.
7. Myrrh Gum.
Antiseptic, antibacterial and extremely effective for helping to heal cuts and scrapes.
Apart from its gorgeous fragrance peppermint infused olive oil cools and soothes aching joints and tired muscles.
9. Plantain Leaves.
A great healer for any form of damaged skin plus alleviates the pain from blisters and insect bites.
Known for its uses in the kitchen Rosemary infused oil is incredible as a soother for aching muscles and joint pain and is a brilliant tonic for keeping your hair healthy and full-bodied.
11. St. John’s Wort.
St John’s Wort is probably better known for its properties as a mood stabilizer.
However infused in oil will give you a glorious red colored oil which is amazing for healing nearly all skin conditions such as minor cuts, bruises, insect stings, insect bites, skin abrasions, nappy rash, skin pain, and burns.
Used for external treatments. It is an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory so perfect for cuts, scrapes, inflammation, and tired muscles.
These are only a few suggestions of the herbs you can utilize when making herb infused olive oil.
In following posts we will look at other natural remedies using specific herbal remedies and how you can infuse oils with blends of herbs for natural body care and medicinal purposes.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you make your own infused oils or have additional suggestions or questions I would love to hear from you. Please do leave a comment below or contact me directly by clicking here.