Macerated oils

The volatile oils contained in aromatic plants can be released by soaking them in vegetable oil.  This is called an infused or macerated oil.  Macerated oils can be used as carrier oils or they can be incorporated into cosmetic recipes.  There are two methods of preparation.

 

The Sun Method

This method can also be used with cider vinegar or witch hazel instead of vegetable oil.  The oil will keep for up to 12 months.

 

What you will need:

Finely chopped fresh herbs

Vegetable oil (virgin olive oil, sweet almond oil or sunflower oil)

Sealable jar

Sieve

Dark glass bottle

 

What to do:

Pack a sealable jar tightly with the finely chopped fresh herbs.  Cover the herbs with a good quality vegetable oil – virgin olive oil and sweet almond oil are best.  Make sure that the plant material is completely covered by the oil for both optimum extraction and to avoid contaminating the oil.  Seal the jar and leave in direct sunlight for 2 weeks, shaking daily.

Strain and repeat with fresh plant material.  Leave for another 2 weeks, shaking daily.  Strain, pour into a dark glass bottle and label with the name and date.

 

The Heat Method

This method is faster and more practical, the macerated oil will keep for up to 12 months.  It is not necessary to use a cold-pressed oil for this method.

 

What you will need: 

Finely chopped fresh herbs

Vegetable oil

Boiling water

Heat proof bowl

Saucepan

Sieve

Dark glass bottle

 

What to do:

Place the finely chopped herbs in a bowl.  Cover with vegetable oil.  Place the bowl containing the mixture over a pan of boiling water, cover and heat for 1 hour.

Remove from the heat, strain and repeat with fresh herbs. Strain, pour into a dark glass bottle and label with name and date.

 

Herbs used in macerated oils include:

Calendula, comfrey, garlic, mullein, St Johns Wort

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