In a world where the pace of life seems to quicken with each passing day, there is a growing yearning for simplicity, authenticity, and a return to our roots. One way to embark on this journey is by delving into the art of making herb-infused oils at home, a practice that not only reconnects us with the age-old traditions of herbalism but also gifts us with a multitude of versatile and aromatic elixirs that can transform our culinary and self-care experiences.
Whether you’re a seasoned herbalist, a budding kitchen alchemist, or simply someone eager to enhance your daily life with the essence of herbs, this journey into herb-infused oils promises to be a delightful and rewarding endeavor.
Here’s a quick look at how to make herb-infused oils – and some suggestions on what you can do with your finished oil!
Infusing Herbs Into Oil
You need just a few basic materials to get started infusing oils. You will need:
- A clean, sterile jar (such as a Mason jar).
- A carrier oil of choice. I suggest sunflower, olive, or sweet almond oil as your base oil. See the recipes below for suggestions.
- An herb of choice. There are many plants (not just herbs) that you can choose to infuse but I suggest starting out with some of the more popular (and readily available) herbs suggested in the recipes below.
- Sunshine or a heat source. See below for the two main methods for making herb-infused oils.
How To Dry Fresh Plant Material To Make An Herb-Infused Oil
If you are using fresh plant material, vs. store-bought plant material which is already dry, you need to make sure that your plant material is dried out first. Failure to dry your plant material will result in a moldy, unusable oil, due to water retained within the plant material.
Lay flat your fresh plant material on tissue paper in a warm, humid-free space and leave to dry for one to two days (depending on your climate and space available). You can also tie a few stems of the fresh plants together with a piece of string and hang upside down from the rafters of the roof. Some people also cover the bunch of herbs with a paper bag. Make sure that the area is warm but moisture-free.
Herb-Infused Oils With Solar Infusion
Once you have dried plant material, break it down into manageable parts that will fit inside of the Mason jar; for example, leaves, stems, flowers. Pack the jar as tightly as you can. Leave enough space to pour in your chosen carrier oil. You may need to add more plant material when you’ve added the oil, and over subsequent days, as the material moves around.
When the jar is full of both plant material and oil, cap tightly, and shake gently a few times.
If you choose to use the solar infusion method, you’ll need to make sure that you have a warm, sunny window sill available for two to four weeks or a place to put the jar outside for long days of sunshine. Simply place the jar in the chosen sunny spot and leave for two to four weeks. Check on it every few days, shake gently, and add more plant material if necessary.
After two to four weeks, strain the plant material from the herbs, and pour the oil into another Mason jar.
Infusing Herbs By The Double Boiler Method
The double-boiler method is quicker but less traditional than the solar infusion method to make herb-infused oils. Once the herbs are dried, place the herbs in the top pan of the double boiler. Cover with your chosen carrier oil.
You can make a simple double boiler by placing two pans inside of each other.
The bottom pan should contain about two inches of water. Heat this water on the stove. When it is boiling, turn down to simmer, and then place the top pan inside of the first pan and cover. The bottom of the top pan should sit just above the water in the first pan (not touching). Leave to simmer for several hours.
Check the water level in the bottom pan and check on how the oil and plant material is interacting every 10 minutes. Once the oil changes color and/or takes on the aroma of the herbs, remove from the heat.
Strain the herbs from the oil with a strainer. Pour the oil into a suitable container (such as a Mason jar).
Simple herb-infused oil recipes
Now that you have your own herb-infused oil, it’s time to put it to good use! Here are my favorite ways to do just that:
Calendula Infused Oil
Calendula infused oil is a natural remedy for a variety of skin conditions, making it a popular choice for soothing dry skin, reducing redness and irritation, and promoting overall skin health.
Whether used in massages, as a base for homemade skincare products, or as a healing balm, this gentle yet potent oil is a cherished addition to any natural wellness and skincare routine.
Calendula Infused Oil for Baby Bottoms
- 1-oz. calendula infused sunflower oil
- 1 drop lavender essential oil
Combine the calendula-infused oil with the essential oil. Apply to baby bottoms to soothe mild diaper/nappy rash or skin issues.
Cautions: Use only on babies age 6 months and above. Leave out the lavender essential oil if you have concerns about skin sensitivity. Consult a medical professional immediately, if adverse reactions occur.
Chamomile Infused Oil
Chamomile infused oil is celebrated for its ability to soothe, nourish, and rejuvenate the skin, making it a sought-after ingredient in skincare and aromatherapy. It is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, which lend themselves to alleviating skin irritations, reducing redness, and promoting a radiant complexion. Chamomile infused oil is a cherished botanical ally for both inner and outer well-being.
Chamomile* Infused Oil for Cracked Skin
- 1-oz. chamomile-infused* sweet almond oil
- 6 drops lavender essential oil
- 4 drops geranium essential oil
- 2 drops rose essential oil
*Use either Roman (Chamaemelum nobile) or German (Matricaria recutica) chamomile plant.
Combine the chamomile-infused oil with the essential oils. Apply the oil blend to dry or cracked skin.
Cautions: Do not apply to open wounds. Possible skin sensitivity.
Peppermint & Rosemary Infused Oil
Peppermint and rosemary infused oil is a powerhouse of both physical and mental rejuvenation. The peppermint imparts a refreshing, cooling sensation that can relieve sore muscles and headaches, while the rosemary adds an earthy, herbaceous note that invigorates the senses and enhances mental clarity.
This aromatic oil blend is often used in massage therapy to soothe tired muscles and provide a revitalizing experience. Additionally, it can be applied to the scalp to promote hair health and stimulate hair growth. Its crisp, herbaceous aroma also makes it an excellent choice for aromatherapy, as it can help uplift your spirits and sharpen your focus.
Whether used for relaxation, rejuvenation, or a fragrant boost in your daily wellness routine, peppermint and rosemary infused oil is a cherished companion for revitalizing the body and mind.
Peppermint and Rosemary Infused Oil Roll-on for Clarity
- 0.33-oz. (10 mL) peppermint and rosemary infused* olive oil
- 1 drop basil essential oil
- 2 drops sweet marjoram essential oil
- 1 drop clary sage essential oil
*Infuse both the peppermint and rosemary as separate infusion blends and combine together for this recipe.
Combine the peppermint and rosemary infused oil with the essential oils. Pour into a roll-on applicator. Fix the roller ball applicator and cap. Shake well. Apply to wrists and temples in times of brain fog and confusion.
Cautions: Avoid during pregnancy. Avoid with high blood pressure. Possible skin sensitization. For adult use only.
Enjoy the journey
Remember, the process of crafting herb-infused oils is a voyage in itself—a journey that invites us to slow down, savor the scent of fresh herbs, and appreciate the profound healing and culinary potential hidden within. It’s a tactile, sensory experience that serves as a reminder of the old ways, ancient traditions, and simple, natural remedies that are often forgotten over time.