For my own practise, the use of oils is usually fairly limited. I have used oil blends for dressing candles, but other than that, I only use oil blends in cosmetic or aromatherapy applications.
However, in an effort to make this post more interesting and useful than a two sentence “I don’t really use them”, I can tell you how to make your own herb infused oils at home.
This recipe is super easy, and while it doesn’t require any fancy set up, you are going to want to save project for a day when you have the time to be at home for several hours.
The first thing you’re going to need is a base oil. Depending on the use, you will want something that doesn’t have a strong fragrance of its own (leave the olive oil in the cupboard). For my applications, I generally choose an oil that feels nice on the skin as well. An easy choice for most is grapeseed oil.
Next, you want to choose your herbs. If you are using it for a spell, then you might choose an herb blend that will help aid your goal, or if you just want one scent, then make sure that you have plenty of that particular herb on hand. You can use dried herbs if you can’t get a hold of fresh, but I would tend to recommend that you wait until the herb you want is in season. The energy is better with fresh herbs, I find.
I don’t usually make more than 1/4 cup of oil at a time, and for that I use at least one full cup of fresh herb, or 1/2 of dried. Put the oil in a small saucepan one the stove on the low setting, add the herbs and let steep for at least an hour (I usually let it steep until the scent starts to waft into my living room).
If you are in a situation where a hot infusion won’t work, then you do have the option of using a cold infusion. This takes considerably longer, however, and you need a cool, dark place to keep your jar.
For a cold infusion, choose a clean glass jar (size is up to you), and cram it as full as you can with fresh herbs (I’ve never done this with dried herbs, but I’m sure you could still get away with the 2:1 ratio we used above for the hot infusion), and pour your oil over top. Close up the lid and store in a cool, dark place.
If you are infusing aerial parts (ie leaves and flowers), change your herbs every 2-3 days. Strain your oil into a bowl, restuff your jar and pour the oil back into the jar. If you are using roots or more woody parts of the herb, you should be fine to leave it up to a week.
I would give your cold infusion at least two weeks. Strain out the herbs, and store your infused oil in a dark glass bottle or jar out of direct sunlight. Depending on the type of carrier oil used, you may want to store your infusion in the fridge.
When I make oils, I tend to use them right away, so I can’t really tell you how long they will keep, but I can tell you to always trust your nose. If it smells funky, throw it out.
Oh, and this recipe is not for ingesting. Topical use only, folks.
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