3 Recipes for DIY Herb Infused Oils
Infused oils, oh the versatility!
Herb infused oils are a simple DIY project that serve as a base for a multitude of projects or by themselves pack a ton of moxie.
The concept is pretty simple and there are variations to a basic formula depending on your resources.
Solar (or Lunar) Method
This method requires a little foresight as time is one of the main ingredients. This is the traditional method and preserves the medicinal integrity of the herb(s).
- Place herbs in a glass container.
You may use fresh or dried herbs, but be cautious with fresh herbs and refrigerate soon to prevent mold.
- Cover herbs with choice of oil.
- Seal container and allow the herbs to infuse for 2 weeks. Make sure the herb is submerged under oil and add more if necessary. Dry herbs will tend to soak up more oil than fresh herbs.
- Strain and store in the refrigerator to prolong shelf-life.
For an infused oil in a pinch, you can use a crockpot on low heat for a controlled, even temperature. Ensure that your oil is heat compatible.
- Add herbs to crockpot (fresh or dried) and cover in heat-compatible oil.
- Set crockpot on low for 8 hours or overnight.
- Strain and use as necessary. Store in refrigerator to prolong shelf-life.
**Always label your infusions with ingredients and the date it was made.
Choosing both your herb and oil will dictate if you wish to use internally or topically.
Internal oils can infuse carminative herbs in edible oils such as extra-virgin olive oil. Carminative herbs are relaxing to the digestive tract to alleviate bloating, cramping and other digestive upset. They are rich in volatile oils, plant compounds that give herbs their characteristic taste and smell.
You may also choose nutritive herbs, those that are packed full of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients such as in Urtica dioica folia (Nettle leaf) or Trifolium pratense (Red clover).
These infused oils can be added as a drizzle to vegetables, added to vinegar to make a salad dressing, or a quick digestive tonic.
Topical oils may be used externally either as a straight oil or a base for a salve or lotion. They may be used as an 'oil pack' for cleansing and detoxifying or for skin repair and renewal.
Here are three very different methods and applications of infused oils.
Dill Flower Infused Edible Oil
I recently had a canning extravaganza crafting tasty homemade pickles.
We had an abundance of dill (Anethum graveolens) and I decided to use our leftover dill flowers to create a summery, fresh-tasting base oil.
1. Pack a jar full of the dill flowers.
2. Cover with olive oil (extra-virgin or regular, depending on your intended application).
3. Seal container and put in sunlight. Try to avoid areas with a high variance in temperature.
4. Let infuse for two weeks, occasionally checking to ensure there is enough oil for the herb. Add more if necessary.
5. Strain and store in the refrigerator.
As mentioned above this may serve as a drizzle and salad dressing base.
This also makes a great marinade for fish with some lemon and other spices.
Topical Pokeroot Infused Castor Oil
Pokeroot (Phytolacca americana) is an incredibly potent herb that requires great respect and consideration, thus for other applications should be prescribed by a knowledgable herbalist or Naturopathic physician.
For this purpose it is safest dried, diluted and for external use only.
Pokeroot acts as an irritant thus is a great lymphatic, or agent that assists flow of lymph, making it the perfect adjunct to castor oil.
I measured out 5 grams of sliced and dried pokeroot, covered it with 1 cup castor oil and sealed in an air-tight container.
Because the herb was dried and is for topical treatment, I didn't bother straining the root and keep it stored under my bathroom sink for routine application.
Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid that, for an oil, makes it quite water-loving. This allows it as an topical oil to penetrate the skin more deeply and draws internal moisture and circulation to the applied area.
More about castor oil packs in a future post.
Skin Repair & Rejuvenation Oil
Building an herbal first-aid kit, I needed an oil that could support skin that gets bumped, stretched and scraped. There are herbs that have the property of being connective tissue tonics that help the growth of our skin's building blocks and are vulnerary, or wound healing, in their action.
A couple of my favourites include: Plantago lanceolata (Plantain), Centella asciatica (Gotu kola), and Calendula officinalis (Calendula, Marigold).
- Add herbs to crockpot (I used 7 g. each of the above herbs).
- Cover with 1 1/2 cups grape seed oil and stir to coat herbs well.
- Set on the lowest heat setting for 8 hours or overnight.
- Strain with cheesecloth and refrigerate or use as a base oil in other herbal recipes.
You can use this healing oil on cleaned cuts and scrapes, scars or fine lines and wrinkles.
This is a base oil in my incredibly nourishing and feminine Goddess Salve.
Join in the action!
Make any other infused oils? Share in the comments below, or tag me on instagram with #herbinfusedlife.
Happy herbin' plant lovers,