Make your own herbal infused oil
DIY: Create your own therapeutic topical oil at home!
By Tamara Welsh, Happy Herbalist
Herbal infused oils are a wonderful way to create your own therapeutic topical oil at home. They are generally easy to make and don’t require any fancy equipment. Here I will explain a simple folk method used to create an herbal oil out of dried herbs. Dried herbs make this process very easy as they don’t contain water. Remember water = higher chance of microbial growth therefore, please note that the method for making an herbal infused oil out of fresh herbs is different as they naturally contain water.
To begin with, you’ll need to decide what properties you’d like your herbal infused oil to have. In other words, what are you planning to use it for? Perhaps you’re hoping to sooth a particular skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis? Maybe you’d like to create a luxurious massage oil? Perhaps a soothing facial oil for make up removal? Or an antiseptic and wound healing oil for your home first aid kit? Have a look through the list below of herbs that are well suited to an oil infusion and the topical actions and indications of these herbs for some inspiration.
Burdock root– Wound healing, suits dry, scaly conditions of the skin
Calendula flowers– Antiseptic, soothing, anti-inflammatory. Ideal for minor burns, wounds and ulcers, nappy rash.
Comfrey leaf- Vulnerary and astringent. The ultimate wound healer. Great for varicose veins and ulcers
Ginger– Anti-inflammatory great for muscle sprains and injuries
Gotu kola– Healing promoter and anti-inflammatory. A wonderful allrounder for healthy skin.
Marshmallow root– A soothing and nourishing emollient, indicated for varicose veins, abscesses and boils.
Mullein leaf– Anti-inflammatory and therefore wonderful for inflamed skin and ear infections
Yarrow– Antiseptic and astringent. Great for minor wounds.
1 cup of dried herb(s) of your choice
2 cups carrier oil (This can be olive, almond, sunflower, apricot)
You’ll also need:
1 glass jar with a lid (to fit herbs + oil)
Brown paper bag
Glass measuring jug
Unbleached muslin cloth
200ml amber glass bottle with lid
- Sterilise your glass jar and lid using boiling water. Dry thoroughly either in a warm oven, or using paper towel.
- Grind your herbs down to a powder using either a thoroughly cleaned blender or mortar and pestle. We are aiming to increase the amount of surface area of the herb that will come in contact with the oil.
- Place your herb into the glass jar and pour over your chosen oil. Make sure all of the herb is covered to prevent spoilage. Lid tightly.
- Label the paper bag with your ingredients and the date. Place your oil infusion into the paper bag and find a warm spot in your home to store it (a window sill works well).
- Store for 4-6 weeks, shaking the jar often when you pass it to invigorate the mixture. Watch the colour of the oil change as it takes on the properties of the herbs.
- Once ready, sterilise your glass measuring jug, metal sieve and glass amber bottle. Place your muslin cloth over the sieve and sit on top of the measuring jug.
- Strain through your herbal oil and squeeze tightly to extract the oil from the herb.
- Pour into your amber bottle, label and keep in a cool dark place or refrigerate until ready for use.