Infusing oils

I’ve been making oil infusions and getting a small start on my herbal medicine cabinet before winter gets here. I strongly believe in the power of using nature in every way we can. I make my own lotions, lotion bars, cough syrups and salves. Today, I am working on a pain relieving salve, since I think I pulled a muscle in my shoulder. Somehow, I noticed it at work and when I got home I realized that I didn’t have anymore on hand.
Infusions are easy to make, just a little time consuming if you do it on the stove for the hot method. I use them as the base to any lotions and salves. I get my herbs at our local co-op and choose my oils based on what I am making.
The easiest way to infuse oils is the “cold method”. Basically you chop up your chosen herb, enough to fill your jar halfway, put it in a jar (I use canning jars) with a tight fitting lid and add oil to completely cover the herb. Put the jar in a dark spot that is room temp and shake once a day, everyday for a couple weeks. Strain the oil through cheesecloth into a clean jar, cap tightly and label. Store away from light and heat.
I’m impatient and I can’t always remember to shake the jars, so I use the hot method. I crush my herbs to release the smell and drop them in my crock pot with the oil. Also, this way, I can get more herbal goodness into my oils. I cover it up, place it on low (don’t want to burn the herbs) and leave it about 2 hours. When I can smell the herb and the oil takes on the color, it’s usually done.
The great thing for me about doing all these things, is that I can use these oils not only in my salves and lotions but also in my soap. I just make a little extra.
You can use any oils you like, but I mostly use olive oil to infuse. I am going to try coconut oil this week and maybe almond oil, but I am not sure if you can do the hot method on that one.
Experiment time. To the lab! 🙂
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