Herbal Infused Oils in Aromatherapy
Medicinal herbal infused oils can be used alone, or can act as carrier oils for your aromatherapy recipes. The general principal is simple.
Oil + heat+ herbs = herbal oil.The method you use to apply the heat varies with how long you have to make the oil, and how delicate the herbal infusion is.
- Solar infusion: Using the 'simplers' measure, place the herbs and oil in a glass jar and cover tightly. Place in a warm,sunny window and let infuse for about 2 weeks. Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or white wine to help break down the plant material. Strain and rebottle. For a stronger oil, add a fresh batch of herbs and let infuse for two more weeks.
- Oven Extraction: Place the herbs and oil in a canning jar, or a container with a tight fitting lid. Put them in a pan with enough water to cover the bottom half of the jar. Turn the oven on the lowest temparature possible and heat for several hours. This is a good method for those days when you are going to be around the house all day. I have better luck with this than the faster double boiler method, because the oil doesn't tend to overheat, and you don't have to watch it so carefully.
- Double boiler method. Place herbs and oil in a double boiler ,covered with a tightly fitting lid and bring to a slow simmer. SLOWLY heat for 1/2 hour to an hour, checking frequently to make sure oil is not overheating. The lower the heat and longer the infusion time the better quality of oil.
- Crockpot method. Place herbs and oils in crockpot and set on lowest possible heat. You will have to experiment with your own crockpot as the strength of the heating element can vary quite a bit, but as a general rule 2 to 4 hours will do it. (my crockpot is just too hot for this method) Electric roasters have an even lower heat source and herbal oils can be left to steep for 2 weeks.
Once the herbs have been infused into the oil, strain the mixture, bring to room temperature. Then add essential oils for even more stimulating properties. Rebottle and enjoy.