Now that it's late spring, you've probably got your garden well on its way! Whether you've got a vegetable garden, herbal garden, flower garden, or a combination (our favorite!), you've probably planted it with purpose and have big plans for the final product!
Many types of herbs and flowers can provide quite wonderful benefits for your body, both internally and externally. If used correctly, they can give nourishing vitamins and minerals and often have antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Depending on whether you want to use them for skin and scalp care or internally for sickness prevention, culinary purposes, or overall body wellness, will determine how you move forward with their use! Below are a few DIY ideas for both routes!
Different Methods for Making Oil Infusions
Making infused oils is a great way to put herbs and flowers to beneficial use! These oils can then be used directly on the skin and scalp or used in recipes for soap, lotion bars, salve, chap-stick, face creams, makeup, and bath salts. You can also use infused oils for culinary purposes! For example, you could infuse your olive oil with rosemary, garlic, basil, or any culinary herbs for an extra flavor kick!
Below are some popular methods to make infused oils. They will vary slightly. For all strategies, although you can use fresh herbs and flowers, it's best to used dried plants. Fresh ones have a higher water content, which can lead to the oil turning rancid more quickly.
For all methods below, you will need:
- -dried herbs and flowers; Make sure they are 100% dry!
- - Glass container such as a pint canning jar.
- -oil of choice; Common choices for natural skincare include jojoba oil, olive oil, argan oil, hemp seed oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, and more! Make sure you get enough to fill your glass container.
- -fine mesh strainer
Simple Sun Infused Oil
This is the old-folk practice and traditional way to make infused oil. It can be used both for culinary and body care oils. Please make sure the herbs/flowers you are using are safe for what you intend them for!
- Put dried herbs/flowers in a clean, dry jar. Fill up the jar about 3/4 of the way to leave space for the oil to cover the dried plants. You want to have at least 1 inch of oil covering up the plants.
- Fill remaining space in jar with oil of preference. If the herbs/flowers emerge above the surface of the oil at any point, pour more oil on top to ensure the herbs remain covered.
- Put the lid on the jar tightly and shake well.
- Place jar in a sunny, warm windowsill and shake at least once per day.
- After 2 to 3 weeks, strain the herbs out of the oil using a cheesecloth or strainer. Make sure to squeeze as much oil out of the herbs/flowers the best you can.
- Pour into a clean jar or glass dropper bottle if you prefer.
- Label your jars with the date, type of oil, and herbs used.
- Store in a cool, dark place. The oil may keep for up to a year or more, depending on the type used. If you want to extend shelf-life, Vitamin E oil at a concentration of up to 1% may be added to increase shelf life, but only do this for oils for topical purposes!
If you prefer not to place your oil directly in the sunlight, you can either place a paper bag over the jar or put it in a cool dark place. This way will take a few weeks longer, though.
Double-boiler Infused Oil
This method can be used if you need infused oils in a much shorter time frame of time. You will also need a double boiler and kitchen thermometer.
- Place herbs/flowers in a double boiler and cover with organic oil, leaving at least an inch or two of oil above the herbs.
- Gently heat the herbs over very low heat (preferably between 100° and 140° F for 1 to 5 hours) until the oil takes on the color and scent of the herb. Turn off heat and allow it to cool.
- Once the oil is cooled, strain using a cheesecloth.
- Bottle in dry, sterilized glass containers of choice.
- Label your jars with the date, type of oil, and herbs used.
- Store in a cool, dark, dry place for up to six months. Again, Vitamin E oil can be added at a concentration of up to 1%, may also be added to increase shelf life for oils to be used topically.
Alcohol Intermediary Infused Oil (External Use Only!)
This is the quickest way to make infused oils, as it only takes 24 hours. It has the benefit of being much less prone to contamination than those infused using the other two methods described above. It cannot be used for culinary/medicinal purposes, only topical. You will need organic whole grain alcohol such as Everclear or vodka, a blender, and a heat-safe glass bowl.
- Weigh out approximately 1 oz. dried herbs/flowers.
- Using a blender, coffee grinder, or bullet grinder, grind into a coarse (not fine) powder.
- Transfer ground herbs into a clean glass container of choice.
- Measure out 1/2 oz. Whole-grain alcohol.
- Pour alcohol into the glass jar with ground herbs.
- Use a fork to mix together, or put the lid on and shake to disperse the alcohol. It should be the consistency of fine soil or damp beach sand.
- Set aside for at least 24 hours to allow the herbs to soften in the alcohol.
- Put damp herb material into a blender.
- Add approximately 8 oz. of oil, measured by volume or weight. Add more as necessary to cover well and ensure herbs are moving around in a blender.
- Blend until blender jar is warm to the touch, about 5 minutes.
- Place a good-sized mesh strainer over a heat-safe glass bowl. Line strainer with cheesecloth or fine muslin.
- Pour herb-infused oil through the lined strainer and use the cheesecloth or muslin to squeeze out as much oil as possible from herbs. Oil should keep a year or more when stored in a cool, dark, dry place.
Popular Herbs and Flowers For Infusing Oils
These are some of the popular flowers and herbs for making infusions. Of course, there are many more! You can even mix multiple herbs and or flowers in the same oil for extra nourishment!
- lemon balm
Garden Kits For Herbs and Flowers
We have multiple kits available that would be perfect for growing to use in infused oils!
Our Culinary Herbs Seed Set comes with 10 popular herbs used for cooking: Genovese Basil Seeds, Chives, Coriander / Cilantro, Dill, Oregano, Large Leaf Italian Parsley, Sage, English Thyme, Arugula, and Mint (Mentha Piperita).
Our Herbal Tea Garden Seed Set comes with 10 popular herbs used for making tea, decoctions, and medicinal purposes: Cinnamon Basil, Echinacea, Peppermint, Marjoram, Lemon Balm, Dandelion, Lavender, Fennel, Chamomile & Catnip.