By using different herbs and proper oils one can make herbal oil at home. The combination of herbs and oil is important when you prepare herbal oils at home. One can use vegetable oil – good quality vegetable oil to prepare the herbal oil. However this herbal oil prepared using vegetable oils does not long last. If you want to store oil for long term use olive oil, jojoba oil, castor oil, sweet almond oil or sesame oil. These oils are good for hair and skin. Oils infused with herbs are easy to prepare at home.
The two methods one can use to prepare medicinal herbal oil are:
- Double boiler method – a traditional method of preparing herbal oil
- Solar infused oil
Double boiler method is a quick way to prepare herbal oil. One should make sure that temperature of oil is kept between 30 to 40 C. To use this method, collect the herb that you want to prepare oil and chop it. Best is to use dried herbs for oil preparation.
- In a double boiler put chopped herb. Cover the herb with selected oil that you want to infuse the herb with.
- Bring the oil to simmer. Do not boil the oil or overheat. Let the content simmer for half an hour to 45 minutes.
- When the oil starts turning green, pale green or you feel herb content is released in the oil and smells strongly – lower the heat for another five minutes or so. Turn off the heat.
- Strain the cooked herbs using strainer. Use a muslin cloth as a liner for fine filtration of the oil. Allow oil to cool and transfer it to a bottle. Label the bottle and store in cool and dark place.
Instead of using double boiler one can directly heat oil in a vessel. Monitoring oil temperature is very important. At boiling temperature properties of herbs can destroy.
Solar infused oil: Using Sun light (sun energy) to extract herbal content is another method for herbal oil infusion. Summer is the best time to use this method as plenty of sun rays available in summer.
- Chop and place herbs in a glass jar.
- Cover the herbs using the preferred oil, close the lid tightly.
- Place the jar where there is plenty of sun light is available.
- Let the content steep for two to three weeks. After 2 or 3 weeks notice that the color of the oil changes to green, light green or golden yellow. In addition, oil will have herbal odor.
- Using a strainer lined with muslin cloth, strain the oil. Label and store the infused oil in cool and dark place.
- Instead of fresh herbs, dry the herbs and use for herbal oil making. Reason for this is, water content could interfere in oil preparation. Where as dry herbs will make infusion strong and the contents from herbs easily steep in the oil. Another way is to wilt the fresh herbs to remove maximum water content by placing the herbs in Sun light for few hours. Wilting removes some of the water content from herbs.
- Best oils for herbal infusions are – olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil and are more stable.
- If you notice odd odor or oil appears cloudy then discard it. If you notice any particles like mold, immediately discard the spoiled oil. Adding vitamin E, or Tocopherol, can help oils from going rancid too quickly. It is a powerful antioxidant and protects oil from spoiling.
- Use a clear, dry container to store infused oil. There should not be any moisture in it. Presence of water or moisture can lead to development of microorganisms over time.
These two methods can be used for preparing bath oil, medicinal herbal oil, hair oil etc at home.
Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: January 14, 2020