How To Make a Herbal Oil

What you'll need

Dried Herbs Buy Dried Herbs

Olive oil (or Jojoba oil)

Glass lidded-jar

Cheesecloth or muslin

Dark bottle or jar for storage Buy Glass Jar



Infusing oil naturally, using the power of sunlight, is one of the oldest and most effective ways of extracting the properties of a dried herb. Herbal oils can be used to make a variety of useful products from massage oils and creams to shampoos and lip balms. You could use many different carrier oils but the best choices are olive oil or jojoba oil, because they will last longer than other oils and are easier to get hold of. Rosemary and Lavender are possibly the most commonly oil-infused herbs but herbal oil can be made with Calendula (Marigold flowers), Arnica, Thyme, Peppermint, Comfrey, Myrrh, Clove, Coriander or Basil.

To make your herbal oil in the traditional way, using sunlight to warm the oil, fill a clean, glass, lidded jar with your dried herbs (you can crush the herbs a little before adding to the jar to make it easier for the herb’s natural oils to escape). Pour enough oil into the jar to cover the herbs and then add a little extra on top. To be more precise, use 1 measure of herb to 4 measures of oil, for example, if you use 20g of dried herbs then you’d need 80g olive oil.

Now put the cap back on tightly and leave the jar in a sunny window for between 3 and 4 weeks. When you’re happy that the herbs have infused through the oil, strain out the herbs and pour into a dark, glass bottle or jar. The oil is now ready to use.

If you’re less patient and want your oil sooner than two weeks, you can use an oven to speed up the infusion process. Place your dried herbs and olive oil in the same measurements, in a lidded cooking pot or pan with enough oil to cover the herbs and the bottom half of the pot. The most difficult thing with this method is not heating up the oil so much that the herbs ‘fry’ so turn the oven on at the lowest temperature possible and heat for several hours and check every now and then to make sure it’s not overheating . When you feel confident the herbs have infused into the oil, such as taking on the colour and scent of the herb, take the pot out of the oven and leave to cool. Now strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or muslin and decant into your desired glass bottle or jar.

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