Thursday, February 6, 2014

Herbal Infused Oils and Salves

Herbal Infused Oils
You can make your own herbal oils although not as concentrated as store bought essential oils they work very well, and are great in to use in salves, ointments, lotions, liniments, creams, bath oils, massage oils, balms, and in your homemade soaps. You can make several oils then you can blend them together when needed to create a blended oil.

There are a few different ways to make your oils although the basic idea is to cover your herbs with oils and allow them to steep.

Good oils to use as a base are:

Sweet almond oil
olive oil
coconut oil
Sunflower oil
Apricot kernel oil
Grapeseed oil
Avocado oil

The Cold infused method

This is one of the better methods to use as it is a little slower and the end product is a little better.

You can use dried herbs although fresh herbs are better. Dried herbs do lose some of their oils when dried. Because of this I will use the same amount of dried as I would fresh herbs. I like to use a 1 to 1 ratio 1 cup herb to 1 cup oil.

If using fresh herbs wash and blot dry let sit overnight to dry, make sure they are completely dry before using since mold and fungus grow very easy in oils. Nothing is more disappointing then to check your oils a couple weeks in and find mold, then have to throw it all away
Then chop coarsely. Put into a glass jar then cover with your oil. Run a knife along the inside edge to get out air bubbles. Leave a 2 inch headspace. Make sure all herbs are covered with oil even if you need to add a little more oil. You can add a ½ inch of 190 proof alcohol to the top to help prevent airborne molds and help extract the herbs into the oils. You can also add a couple drops of balsam poplar E.O or tincture on top as a natural preservative. Cover with a tight fitting lid and shake for about a minute remove the lid and cover with 4 layers of cheese cloth or my fav. Knee highs. Secure with the jar ring or a rubber band. Place in a warm dry spot a window sill works great. Let sit for 3 to 4 weeks or until the oil has taken on the color of the herbs and the
alcohol has evaporated. Strain out the oil with panty hose, or a fine mesh strainer be sure to squeeze every bit of oil out that you can. You can use cheese cloth but I don’t think it works as well to get out the small particles. Store oils in the fridge.

Crock Pot method
If you are in a hurry for your oils you can also use a crock pot ( I use the method a lot) just make sure your crock pot has a real low setting ( mine has a warm setting that I use) Plus you don’t have to worry so much about the
mold. Just put your herbs in the crock-pot and cover with oils let sit 6 to 8 hours I have let some of mine go as long as 12 hours. Cool then strain store in a glass jar in the fridge. They will keep up to a year in the fridge although I have some that I have had for at least a year and a half that is still good. Be sure to label and date.

A salve is an ointment for your skin such as burn salve, 1st aid cream, lip salve, diaper rash, chest rub,
When kept in the fridge salves have about twice as long of shelf life as do oils.
A basic salve is easy to make, as you get more use to making them you can add different herb combinations and different oil combinations.
A basic salve is 5 parts oil and 1 part beeswax.

Different oils have different properties and can be used accordingly to what type of salve you are going to make.

Coconut oil is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It is very good for the skin and is particularly good in diaper rash salve, salves for burns, hemorrhoids and the face. Remember that coconut oil is solid at 75 or below and more of an oil in warmer weather if you don‘t keep it cool.

Olive oil makes a very greasy oil, which smells of olive oil. It is a superior moisture barrier that is best used in combination with other oils.

Sweet almond oil helps relieve irritation, inflammation, muscular aches and pains and itching. It is a superior emollient.

Avocado oil is a good base for salves that are used in treating cuts, acne, skin problems and burns. It is great for use with sensitive skin.

Macadamia nut oil is good for burns, very fragile skin, bedsores and extremely dry, chapped skin.
Shea butter has anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties and is helpful for dry skin.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps with healing. It also is a natural preservative.

Lanolin helps heal dry, cracked skin and keep it soft and supple.

I put my oils in a small pan and add my beeswax and heat on a low heat until the wax is melted. You can adjust how hard you salve will be by adding more or less beeswax. As soon as it is all melted, if you are adding essential oils you can add them now and stir well.
You can test the thickness of the salve by dipping a spoon into the oil/beeswax, then cooling in freezer for a minute or so . Then add more beeswax or oil depending on what consistency you want it. Remember it is a salve, you need to be able to spread it. Just play around with it until you get the desired results. Pour into containers. And allow to cool and firm up.

When using your own infused oils you salves will be more of a green color where as if you use essential oils they will be a cream color.
Store your salves sealed and in a cool dark place. or the fridge Be sure to label.

1 comment:

  1. This is a timely post. I just finished a calendula/plaintain/comfrey salve to use as a healing and protecting salve. I used the crock pot method as I was in a bit of a hurry. I use this salve on my livestock to help with sores and skin problems in this cold weather.


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