Herbal Infused Oil – How to Make it

How to Make an Infused Oil

In order to engage with the healing and health-giving properties of herbs, we need to prepare them into a format so we can use them in an effective way.

One of the ways we can do this is by infusing herbs into oil.

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Herbal Infused Oils
Infused oils, or fixed oils are created by soaking herb material in a pure vegetable-based oil such as sunflower, olive or almond oil, and they allow the fat-soluble parts of the herb to be extracted.

They are mostly used externally as massage oils, or as bases for creams, ointments, salves and balms.

Infused Oils v Essential Oils
Infused oils should not be confused with essential oils which are completely different and need to be used with care.

Essential oils are highly concentrated and need to be diluted in a base oil. Essential oils should never be taken internally, except for a very small number of them, and many will burn you if you apply them directly to the skin.

Infused oils are much more user friendly and they can be made very simply at home. There are two methods to make infused oil, the hot infusion method and the cold infusion method.

Cold infusion is the simplest method but it takes the longest time, usually around 3-6 weeks.

Hot infusion is much quicker and can be done in a few hours. It involves heating the oil very gently – so gently in fact that you need to use a double boiler (details below).

Some herbs work better with one type of infusion than another.

You can use fresh or dried herbs to make your oil infusion, but for beginners I would recommend dried herbs because moisture can become an issue in this method of extraction. If there is moisture in the herb, it may cause mold to form in the oil, so using a dried herb helps to eliminate that problem because you are starting off with plant material that is bone-dry.