You can use either fresh or dried herbs to make an infused oil, however St.John’s Wort and Lemon Balm in particular are better used fresh.
Various base oils are suitable and easily available in health food shops.
Almond Oil is excellent for massage as it is light and easily absorbed by the skin. Grapeseed oil is also light and favoured by masseurs. It is less expensive than Almond.
Sunflower oil is the most easily available and can be used with any herb.
Avocado and Wheatgerm Oil are both good for a dry skin but they are also both heavy and should be mixed with a lighter oil. They are rich in Vitamin E and are good for skin healing.
Olive oil can be used but is heavy and strongly scented.
There are two methods of making a herbal oil. If you are using a fresh herb you should first dry the herb slightly for an hour or two to reduce the water content.
Method one. Cover the herb with oil in a container such as the tiffin tin supplied by us and place it in a saucepan of boiling water for up to two hours. Do not allow the saucepan to boil dry. Strain the oil through some muslin and repeat the process if you want a stronger oil.
Store the oil in a darkened jar.
Method two. Fill an air tight container with the herb and cover with the oil right up to the top. Leave on a sunny shelf for 3 weeks. Any air bubbles should be released by tapping the container before sealing it, and you must shake it every other day. After the three weeks are up strain the oil through muslin and store in a darkened glass jar.
To extend the life of the oil remove as much plant material as possible and add a few drops of Vitamin E oil before it sets. Store in a cool place.
The oils can be used for massage, applied to skin to heal cuts, burns etc. added to baths or used to make ointments or creams.
Some of the best herbs to use to make a herbal oils are as follows:
Marigold, calendula – this will make an excellent healing oil, and is often used as a base for an ointment. Use it on cuts, grazes, stings, burns, bites, sore nipples, sores and bruises.
Lemon Balm, melissa - can be used as base for an ointment and is good for cold sores. Use fresh.
St. John’s Wort - makes a lovely rich red oil. Use for nerve and muscular pain and for skin healing. St. John’s Wort helps with depression but do not use if taking other anti-depressants. It is good for menopausal depression.
Chamomile – Use on inflamed skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. It will also have a calming effect on the spirit.
Lavender – Makes an excellent massage oil. As with the other oils essential oils could be added. Lavender will enhance the effects of the other oils. It is of course a lovely scented herb and has a calming and relaxing effect that can help with sleep problems. Lavender is excellent on burns and should be applied immediately. Lavendar can also help with nervous headaches.
Yarrow – A wound healer, yarrow will staunch bleeding, reduce inflammation and give pain relief. It is traditionally used for earache.
Mint or peppermint - use the fresh herb to make a warm massage oil to relax muscles.
We supply kits for making infused oils which include a tiffin tin £5.50 (to use as a bain marie) for infusing the herb and muslin 50p and two sizes of funnel 50p and 70p for straining the herb.