Herbal oils can be used medicinally, as health and beauty products, and even as organic flavorings for healthy meals. Because these products are expensive when bought at stores and often have unwanted and unnecessary chemicals and preservatives, many people choose to make their own homemade herbal oils. Luckily, this is a very easy project and a rather inexpensive one as well.
There are two different methods of making homemade herbal oils. First, there is the cold infusion method. To do this, you simply fill a large, clean jar with the herbs of your choice. Over this, you pour oil until the jar is completely full. The jar can be kept on a sunny shelf or counter for a month, provided it does not get hot. Shake the jar every day. After a month, the oil can be strained into a dark bottle and stored either in a cool, dark cabinet or in the refrigerator.
The hot infusion method is simpler. First, you bring a pot of water to a boil. Over this, place a glass bowl. Add two cups of oil and the herbs of your choice (one cup if dried and two cups if fresh). Keep the water below at a gentle simmer for about three hours before straining the oil into a dark bottle and storing as discussed above.
Whether intended for medicinal use, for flavoring, or for gifts, edible oils require special treatment because they will be ingested. This prevents unwanted pathogens such as botulism and bacteria from ruining your oil and your health. Following good safety procedures also ensures long-lasting good tastes and aromas from your homemade health oils.
First, dried herbs are generally considered safer for oils meant for human consumption. Fresh herbs contain a large amount of water which can encourage bacteria and even botulism. If you store oils in the refrigerator, they will stay fresh longer and also be less like to have unwanted bacterial growth. Contrary to popular belief, bacteria and botulism can grow well in oils.
Because of the high water content of garlic, it is best to store garlic oils in the refrigerator and dispose of them after ten days. Other oils can be safely kept for about three weeks. Adjust your batches so there will be little or no waste.
Oils to be applied topically can be kept longer, although exposure to light and heat should be limited to prevent the oil from going rancid. Otherwise, they are identical to edible oils. Many people have found that adding a few drops of tea tree oil to a bottle of herbal infusion makes the oil keep longer.
What are the best ingredients for homemade herbal oils? The sky is the limit, but many prefer olive, canola, sesame, and nut oils for edible oils. Jojoba, almond, grapeseed, and olive oils are all nice for massage and bath oils.
Herbs also can be varied according to your personal preference. Rosemary, hot peppers, garlic, and herbs are all popular choices for edible oils, while aromatics such as flowers, chamomile, and eucalyptus are pleasant for bath and beauty oils. You can find many herbs that are pleasing to smell and offer medicinal qualities as well.
As you can see, making your own oils is easy enough that anyone can do it. With a little practice, you can make your favorite scents and tastes a part of your diet and your bath and body routine.