Infused herbal oils can seem intimidating, but if the water can be boiled, you can infuse herbs in oil.

Choosing the medicinal oil to use should be based on the availability, sustainability, and sensitivity of the skin. Herbal infusion oils can be made from oils such as: coconut , apricot, sweet almond , avocado , grape seed , or sunflower.

How to Make Herbal Infused Medicinal Oil

However, many artisans of herbal medicine will tell you that good quality organic olive oil is best. This is mainly due to the stability of the oil and resistance to oxidation and rancidity.

Fresh or dried

The high quality dried herbs create an extremely powerful medicinal oil. Fresh herb is excellent however, using fresh herbs puts the oil at a higher risk for bacterial growth due to the high moisture content of fresh plant material, which can lead to spoiled oil in the long run.

For best results and longest shelf life, use dried herbs when making medicinal oils.

Preparation method

There are mainly two ways to prepare an infusion with oil and herbs:

1. Solar or cold infusion

Fill a glass jar 2/3 or 3/4 full with herbs and then cover the dried plant material by filling the jar with the oil of your choice. Stir to combine and allow the oil and herb mixture to sit for two to four weeks in a warm, sunny place.

2. Hot oil extract

Prepare a glass jar as if it were a solar or cold infusion. Except for this method you need to place the glass jar in a pot on the stove or in a clay pot, which is filled with a few centimeters of water, and place it at the bottom. Make sure to put a towel in the bottom of the pot and infuse the oil and herbs for 4-8 hours, a day, or up to 3 days. Note: Watch the pot and add the water as it evaporates.

You can also do it this way: “Place the herbs and oil in a double boiler and bring to a low heat. Heat slowly for 30 to 60 minutes, checking frequently to make sure the oil has not overheated.

After the infusion period in either case, the medicinal oil should be filtered through a fine mesh strainer or gauze and the herbs discarded.

Once you’ve created your medicinal oil, you’re just one step away from making salves, balms, and lotions. However, you may not be able to immediately use all of your oil.

How to store medicinal oil

The following are some tips to protect, preserve and extend the shelf life of medicinal oil.

Once the oil has been infused, protect it from heat, light, and air. Use colored glass containers, they are very useful to extend the life of homemade oil extracts.

If desired, add a natural preservative directly to the oil (for example, vitamin E oil, benzoin essential oil, myrrh, or rosemary, grapefruit seed extract)

In general, herbal infused oils will keep well stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
Refrigerate the oils if you have space.

Natural decongestant ointment recipe using herbal oil by infusion:
 Natural Decongestant Ointment .

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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