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How to Make an Infused Herbal Oil

Here at The Herbal Garden I infuse all my own oils for all the products made from the organic herbs I grow.

 

There are various oils you can use - Sunflower, Grape Seed, Almond, Jojoba and a few more but for this basic recipe use Sunflower Oil.

 

Sunflower oil has a light aroma and just a slightly yellow in colour.  It contains antioxidant vitamins A, D & E.  It can also aid in the retention of moisture in the skin and offer a protective barrier to help with infection protection.  Hence this is why I use it in my hand cream and balms.

 

The basic formula for a dried infusion is 1:10 which means for every 100 grams of dried plant material you will need 1 litre of oil - so if you wanted to make a small batch just half this so you would have 50 grams of plant material to 500 millilitres of oil 

 

Most plants are dried there are a few exceptions such as Hypericum (St Johns Wart), Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm) and Symphytum officinalis (Comfrey) which can be used fresh but wilted.

 

Starting out I would try using Calendula or Thyme as they are easy to grown and you have probably got them in your garden already.

 

Calendula, just pick the heads of the flowers and turn them upside down on a rack or a basket if you don’t have dedicated drying racks and leave to dry in an airy but dry environment out of direct sunlight until they are totally dry.

 

Thyme is best picked just before flowering and again lay out on a rack or basket and allow to dry, again in a dry environment out of direct sunlight until totally dry.

 

Once you herbs are dry, place them into a sterilised jar and fill with you Sunflower oil, seal the lid tightly and place in a warm spot but again not in direct sunlight and let is sit for 4-6 weeks to infuse.  This is called cold infusion.  If you want a quicker method then use a warm infusion where you can use a slow cooker and gently warm the oil on a gentle heat 40-50 degrees for 3-6 hours.  I have also used my dehydrator and just stood the filled jar in the bottom and left it in there at 50 degrees for 5-8 hours.

 

Once the infusion is complete you then pour your oil through a muslin cloth into a jug and let any sediment settle to the bottom before decanting into a sterilised clean jar.  Label the jar including the date and store in a cool place ready for using in hand creams and balms.  Most oils, if properly made and stored will last up to 2 years if you have used dried plant material.