Oil Infusions

As I was looking through my journals to find a lotion recipe I realized that most of my instructions start out with  "Grab an oil infusion of -X-  and add it to -Y- until -Z- happens.

So What is an oil  infusion anyway?  An infusion is when you mix medicinal or culinary herbs with a fixed oil for the purpose of extracting certain properties.

Medicinal oils are the base for most salves and used as a protective covering for the skin that holds the therapeutic agents to the skin for absorption of the remedy.

Cosmetic oils are used to enhance the appearance of the skin.  They moisturize, soften and brighten the skin.  I also use mine instead of perfume.  Use them to condition hair, as bath oil, or healing massage oil. 

Culinary Oils carry the nutrients, flavor, and aroma of the herbs to the food and greatly enhance the whole food experience.

There are two main methods of producing infused oil.  a Cold method and a Hot method.  The cold method takes a bit longer and is used for more delicate herbs and petals.  The hot method is more suitable for barks, seeds and tough herbs.

Cold Infusion method:
Place your chosen herbs/ petals into a clean glass jar and fill up with suitable carrier.  Olive oil, grape seed and almond oil are all good choices.  the oil level needs to be higher than the herbs to prevent them from going moldy.  Place in a jar i the sun and sake it gently every day for about a month.  If you would like a stronger oil strain the herbs out and add a fresh batch to the same oil. Leave it for another month shaking daily.  Strain and pour into a clean glass bottle and store in a cool dark place.

Hot Infusion method:

1/2 pint Olive oil 
3 to 4 oz dried herbs

In a double boiler place the olive oil and the herbs on medium heat. Gently heat for 2 to 3 hours.  Never allow it to get too hot because a burned oil mix is useless. The oil will take on the fragrance of the herbs as they infuse and will change color.  If after a few hours it is not strong enough strain out the herbs and start the process over with a new batch of herbs in the same oil.  Most of the time with hot infusions one time is enough.  Strain and place in a clean glass jar in a cool dark place.

 For a quick and easy herbal ointment Warm up the oil and  add coco butter or shea butter to it.  mix till it is all melted and incorporated.  Place in small containers to cool.

* the first photo shows calendula petals.  The infusion I use most for skin care.  The second photo shows garlic, rosemary, thyme.  the one I use most for cooking.

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