For the past 25 years, not a day has gone by when I haven’t used herbal oils in some way. Whether made into a lip balm for chapped lips or added to warm bath water for calming my nerves, herbal oils are an integral part of my daily life. I put herbal oil on my hands in the morning and rub herbal oils into my feet before bed. I use them to massage myself and my family and enjoy applying them after bathing.
We use calendula oil on my son’s muscles that ache in the night from growing pains. Plantain oil is dabbed onto dried scabs and itchy bug bites. Comfrey oil is transformed into a magical healing salve that we use for almost every skin problem that arises. Lavender oil is the queen of oils for bath time and chamomile oil is the substance of choice for a luxurious foot rub before bedtime.
It is extremely satisfying to make your own skin care preparations. So much of what is found in stores contains questionable ingredients. There are thousands of different chemicals that are used in standard body care items. With more than 85,000 man-made chemicals now circulating in our environment, your skin care products are not the place to pick up more toxins.
Infused herbal oils are safe, inexpensive, and can be made right in your kitchen – even small kids can use them! Please be very clear that this information has nothing to do with essential oils. I am not talking about making or using essential oils.
Essential oils are made with a distillation process that requires more equipment resulting in a highly concentrated oil. Essential oils have more risk and contra-indications. Infused herbal oils are not nearly as concentrated and unlike most essential oils, can be massaged directly into the skin. Please do not confuse these home-made infused herbal oils with essential oils.
Here’s a simple recipe you can get started with:
Calendula Infused Oil.
I see lots of calendula oil products that are made with fresh calendula flowers. Fresh plant calendula oil is a very light yellow, without much aroma. Calendula oil made with the dried plant method is a dark gold. You can really tell the difference in the quality of a salve or lip balm when the calendula oil has been crafted with the dried plant method.
I hope you enjoy making your oils as much as I do. This method is not an exact science and every herb behaves a little differently. Begin by making small batches and get a feel for what you are doing. Happy herbal oil-making!•
Calendula Infused Oil: Ingredients
• 2 oz. dried calendula blossoms (by weight)
• 1 oz. vodka
• 14 oz. organic olive oil
STEP 1: Powder and rehydrate
Put the dried calendula in a blender
Powder the calendula as fine as possible
Put powdered calendula into a bowl
Rehydrate the calendula by adding the vodka
Allow moistened calendula to sit in the bowl and rehydrate for 12 hours with a lid on top of the bowl. Keep the bowl away from the window, open doors, heater, and direct light to prevent it from drying up. The process of re-hydrating the herb with alcohol before infusing it, increases the extraction potential of the dried plant. Without rehydrating, some plants just kind of sit in the oil without too much change. Taking the time to do this one simple rehydration step enhances the extraction process and gives you a higher quality herbal infused oil.
STEP 2: Mixing oil and herbs
After 12 hours or so, add the organic olive oil and the rehydrated calendula into a blender, and blend to combine
Keep the oil and herbs in the blender for 48 hours. During that time, switch the blender on for a couple of minutes, every very few hours, to combine, heat up the mixture slightly, and keep everything well hydrated.
STEP 3: Straining herbs from the oil
Place a funnel into the opening of a clean, sterilized jar and lay a piece of muslin over the funnel. Be sure that the muslin piece is large enough to hang at least 2 inches over all sides of the funnel
Squeeze all of the oil through the muslin into the jar. Oils made with dried herbs can be thoroughly squeezed out because there isn’t water in the plant to cause mold (This is different from the fresh plant method where you do not squeeze the herbs).
When all of the oil has been squeezed through the muslin into the jar, discard the herbs. Put them into the compost pile or onto a garden bed and tell them 'thank you'
Put a label on your jar that includes the name of the herb, where the herb was harvested and the date it was made •
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For more instructional lessons and videos from Kami, please visit her website at: www.kamimcbride.com
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