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How To Make Herbal Infused Oils

The following is a guest post by Melissa Vines of Nourish Baby Organics.

My first experience in making my own skin care products began as an experiment to soothe my son’s eczema. I had tried several over-the-counter remedies (without much success), and was now looking for something simple, effective, and without added preservatives or toxic chemicals.

So, I infused a little bottle of olive oil with Calendula and Chamomile flowers, and massaged the infusion onto his skin. He didn’t shake or cry like I’d seen him do so many times before, and his skin calmed almost immediately. As the redness started to fade away, I realized that something I created had finally worked. I was hooked from that point on!

Making your own infused oil is an easy project that you can do at home too, and there are so many different ways you can customize it to suit you and your family’s needs. Choose certain herbs to calm irritation from eczema, rashes, sunburns and even poison ivy. You may spot apply the oil to irritated skin, use it all over to moisturize, or add it to your bathwater for a soothing soak.

Here are some suggested herbs and uses…

  • Calendula– for slow-healing wounds, rashes, eczema, inflammation, sunburns, itchiness, poison ivy, said to be an effective insect repellent
  • Chamomile– for minor cuts, irritation, eczema, fungal infections, sunburns, calming, sleep aid
  • Chickweed– for inflammation, minor burns and skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema
  • Comfrey– for minor burns, rashes, insect bites and itchiness
  • Lavender– healing, calming effect, sleep aid, sunburns, said to be an insect repellent too
  • Plantain– for slow healing wounds, inflammation, poison ivy, insect bites
  • Rosemary– used on itchy scalps and for dandruff
  • St. John’s Wort– for wounds, sunburns, bee stings, bruises, inflammation

Ingredients & Materials

I suggest using sweet almond, jojoba, olive and sunflower oils because they are extremely moisturizing and can resist heat well. Along with your chosen herbs and oil, you will need a mason jar, a strainer, cheesecloth and a glass bottle for storing. Mountain Rose Herbs is my go-to source for organic herbs, oils and supplies. They have everything you need to make your own handcrafted skin care products. Okay, let’s get started!

Prepare the Herbs

The ratio I use is 1 ounce herbs to 10 ounces oil. You can either weigh the herbs in a food scale or measure them with a measuring cup. For the majority of herbs 1 ounce will equal 1 cup except for Calendua which is a very light and fluffy herb, instead 1 ounce of Calendula is approximately 3 cups.

Make the Infusion

Put herbs in mason jar and cover with 10 ounces of oil. Screw lid on and give it a little shake to make sure herbs are saturated in oil.

Place in a sunny spot by a window in your house or on your porch and allow to infuse for 3-6 weeks, shaking it frequently. Optional oven method: Best things come to those who wait but if you just can’t wait several weeks then use the oven method. Put herbs and oil into an oven safe glass bowl, preheat oven to 250 degrees, turn off and place bowl inside. Allow to infuse for 24 hours.

Once oil has reached desired infusion place a strainer over a bowl and line it with cheesecloth. Pour your infused oil through the strainer into bowl.

Gather cheesecloth up and around herbs and squeeze every last bit out because that is where the good stuff is!

Storing Your Herbal-Infused Oils

Pour into a glass bottle for storing. My favorite is an amber glass bottle because it prolongs the shelf life. Speaking of shelf life…add ½ tsp of vitamin e oil to your herbal infusion to keep it good for up to two years. Without the vitamin e oil expect the shelf life to be about a year. There is no need to use another preservative because no water is involved. When water is added that’s when things can get funky. Bacteria loves to grow in moist climates so make sure your jars and bottles are dry prior to getting started.

Last step is to label your infusion and date it. Here is a source for great printable apothecary labels that are sure to look great on your handcrafted creation. Have fun with it and enjoy your finished product!

Have you made any herbal infused oils? For what purposes? Which of these herbs do you think would be most helpful to you?

Melissa Vines resides in Tennessee where she balances life as a mom to two small children and running a organic skin care for babies, Nourish Baby Organics.  You can find Melissa blogging about her kids, work and natural parenting on her blog, the nourished nest.

Reading Time:

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  1. Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger)

    So funny… I use this same technique for infusing oil for salads! I infuse the oil with basil, rosemary, thyme, or oregano. Plus a few cloves of garlic. Then I use the oil just like I would use plain olive oil (with some vinegar or lemon for dressing). It’s incredibly flavored.

    • Melissa Vines

      Rivki that sounds incredible! I’m going to try that. Thanks for sharing!

  2. jessica

    this looks so fun and easy! i’ve never made infused oil, but i made an apple cider hair rinse that i gave my sisters for christmas!

    • Melissa Vines

      Jessica these make great gifts. Everyone loves them especially when you use lavender to infuse with. You could add some sugar to the oil and make a really nice scrub to gift also! 🙂

  3. Georgia

    Hi, thanks so much for the post! I’ve got a lot of herbs growing this year and have been wanting to do some oil infusing. Just wondering if you’re using dry herbs or fresh, or does it matter?

    • Melissa Vines

      Great question Georgia! People use dry or fresh but I prefer dry because fresh herbs have moisture in them which in my opinion could lead to bacteria growth. To dry herbs tie 5-10 stems together and hang in a dark area for 2-3 weeks. Then strip leaves or petals from stems to use. Have fun!

  4. Rachel @ The Travel Pen

    Does this work to make air fresheners, too? I see those oil air fresheners at the store…would this create something similar?

    • Nicole

      I’d love to know if this is possible, too. Let’s see if Melissa has any insight! 🙂

    • Melissa Vines

      Hi Rachel, I have never tried that so I can’t say for sure. If it’s the warmer that has a candle under it I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I would probably add some essential oils to it to make it a little bit stronger. Good thought!

  5. Kyle

    I would keep the extraction jars out of any direct sunlight. Warmth will speed the process, but sunlight could degrade or destroy the actives that you’re extracting from the herbs. After preparation, I would store the infusions in amber or blue glass jars to minimize degradation during storage.

    Just my two cents.

    • Carmen

      Thanks Melissa, it sounds very simply and the ingredients are things that we usually have at home. I will give it a try.

  6. Marcia Meng

    Thanks for your infomation! I just tried to make soap yesterday. Some of sope recipes have written down infusion oil but not much info for making infusion oil. So, Base on your info I’m confident to do it. ^^

  7. liz

    Is it 10 oz oil per each herb? If you use two herbs is it 20 oz of oil or is it still just 10 oz?

    • Melissa Vines

      Hi Liz, this is an older article I wrote and just came across again so I wanted to address your question. Yes, it is 10 oz of oil per 1 oz of chosen herb. For each herb you use the same ratio. If you use 2 oz of herbs you would use 20 oz of oil. 🙂

  8. BTV

    Is it possible to use dried spices in this way, instead of herbs? I was thinking of using cinammon and/or cloves.

  9. Audrey

    Is it possible to squeeze the cheesecloth too hard? I think I did. I have dark red colored debris balls that won’t filter out of my beautiful golden colored amla infused coconut oil. Have you ever encountered that? What do you think happened? I used coffee filters but this dark red matter slips right through and would sit at the bottom of my bowl. What is that stuff? I had to resort to using a ladle to scoop my oil out and losing more than I cared to.

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