Herbal Oils are so simple to make, have a myriad of healing benefits, and can be used as a base for homemade massage oils, creams, balms, salves, hair treatments and soaps, as well as to flavour both sweet and savoury cooking.
I usually have around eight to ten oils on the go at any one time, they are my skin elixirs, first aid, calmatives and all round fix-its.
Herbal Oils can be made a few different way, my preference being the Folk Method, also called the Sun (or Solar) Infused Method.
There are a number of carrier oils that work perfectly. My two favourites are olive or jojoba oil. Both have a long shelf life, and can be used in all of the above mentioned ways. Coconut oil is extremely healing, and I often use it, but the oil does go solid in cooler temperatures. Sweet almond oil is another excellent choice, and of course it is always fun to experiment with your own personal preferences.
Whichever oil you choose, organic and cold pressed will be best. Organic will ensure that there are no chemical nasties, and ‘cold pressed’ means that the healing properties of your oil are preserved, as opposed to when the oils is obtained by heat extraction.
How to make Folk Method Herbal Oils…
- Gather the herbs (and/or flowers) you wish to use.
- Make sure your herbs are totally dried out before you use them; this stops the Herbal Oils from going rancid.
- Choose any practical or lovely jar or bottle you wish. Make sure it is clean and dry.
- Fill loosely with your herbs, till about 3-4 cm (1.5 in) from the top.
- Pour your oil over the herbs until they are completely covered by about 2 cm (1 in).
- Stir gently to get rid of any air bubbles. Place an airtight cap on the jar.
- Sit in a sunny windowsill for 4–6 weeks, shaking once or twice per day. You can place a paper bag over the bottle if you don’t want your oil in direct sunlight.
- At the end of the 4–6 weeks, strain the oil through cheesecloth, making sure to squeeze out every last drop.
And voila, homemade, Herbal Oils infused with love and healing.
I find Herbal Oils prepared like this will keep for at least a year. I add Vitamin E oil (as a natural preservative) if I want to extend the shelf life past that.
Some garden variety Herbal Oils that you may like to start with…
Thyme oil ~ promotes skin health, aids with all respiratory ailments, kills bacteria and infection, and helps with menstrual and menopausal problems as well as nausea and fatigue.
Rosemary Oil ~ improves liver health, boosts memory, focus and concentration, reduces pain and stimulates hair growth. See my Herbal Medicine Part 1 blog, for more ways to use Rosemary (1).
Lavender oil ~ improves digestion and blood circulation, relieves pain, is healing for many different skin conditions (including eczema, psoriasis, cuts, wounds and burns), reduces anxiety, alleviates headaches, and helps with sleep problems.
Calendula oil ~ excellent for skin conditions, eye irritations and oral health. See my Herbal Medicine Part 3 blog for more ways to use Calendula (2).
Lavender and Chamomile Oil ~ if you want to be adventurous try more than one herb in your Herbal Oil. Lavender and chamomile are a beautiful mix; they are relaxing, calming, soothing herbs. Hops and valerian can be added as well for a superb sleepy time Herbal Oil which can be massaged gently into the feet or hands an hour before bedtime (3).
The above Herbal Oils are superb additions to a natural medicine chest at home and a healthy way to produce delectable meals. You can also pour the oils into beautiful bottles, write handwritten labels for them, and tie them with string and dried herbs, to make the most perfect and personalised gifts.
Whatever you use them for, enjoy playing Alchemist (4) and infuse everything with love. ~ GreenWitch Tea.
Please note: I do not offer the above as instruction only as information. As always, consult your doctor or health practitioner, for any ailment you may have.
Caution: Always check with your doctor before using herbs when pregnant of breast feeding.