Updated: May 29, 2020
I've been making infusion oils since college. It's a wonderful way to learn wild foraging and natural medicine crafting. On our property in Maine, we have the gift of naturally growing cedar, birch, spruce, fir, and pine surrounding us. We also have gardens of lavender and organic garlic! I enjoy creating infused oils from all of these plants, using them topically. Garlic is the only plant that I create and use for a culinary infused oil.
- Culinary (please be sure to do your research. Not all herbs are safe for consumption).
- Topically for massage, ease aches & pains, minor wound care.
- Skin moisturizing.
- Beard conditioning.
- Use it as an ingredient to make soaps or other body care products.
It is a simple process with a few essentials:
1. Patience. You need to harvest at the right time and only take what you will use. Patience is also required in the drying time. Dry your plants long enough so that no moisture remains. Moisture can create bacteria growth.
2. Cleanliness. Since you are 'sun-soaking' the herbal oils, you need to be sure that the heat will not find any moisture, bacteria, etc. that it can multiply. Use sanitized supplies.
* In the example below, let's use the beautiful herb, St. John's Wort.
Making & Using the Oil
Forage St. John's Wort at its peak. It typically blooms around the summer solstice (late June/early July), which is the best time to harvest the aerial parts with their sunny yellow flowers.
Hang the herb upside down by its sem to dry. Drying varies depending on the size of the branches and humidity. I like to do at minimum, 2 weeks of hang-drying.
Take the dried herb. Crush it. Place in a clean glass bottle, such as a mason jar.
Use clean, sterilized jars. This is an excellent excerpt from one of Mountain Rose Herbs Blog posts: "If you are recycling containers, make sure they've been washed well with soap and hot water. If you are ordering new tins, jars, and bottles, it's still a good idea to wash them before use. We like to add a bit of white vinegar for extra measure and allow the containers to dry completely before use. A dishwasher does a great job of cleaning and sterilizing too! Make sure there are no bits of food or other particles in the containers before you use them. This goes for jars used for oil infusions too—bacteria and moisture can make oils go rancid fast."
Take olive oil and pour over herb until completely covered (about ½ inch over the top of herb). * Hint: The greener the olive oil, the better.
Swirl the mixture around, and do so daily.
Add a natural preservative: Antioxidants help to slow the oxidation. Oxidation is what happens when exposure to air or oxygen starts to compromise the oils or other ingredients (think rust). Vitamin E oil and rosemary essential oil are effective natural antioxidants that assist in preserving oil infusions.
Cover the jar. Label it: Name of botanical and the date. Set the jar in sun for 6 weeks. After the 6 weeks, strain with stainless steel strainer or cheesecloth.
Store oil in a cool, dry place. Good for 2 years if kept cool and away from sun/light.
Use St. John's Wort infused oil on mild burns, scars, cuts, and muscle pain.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease.
For Botanical Oil Infusions, such as Pain Relief Blend: https://www.etsy.com/shop/WELLNESSandWRITING
Happy wild-crafting! It is an adventure of nature's beauty & healing gifts!