What are Infused Oils?
Though similar to essential oils in the sense that they both contain plant material, there are some key differences in how infused oils are made and the uses for them. Infused oils can also be easily made at home. Here are some key things to know about infused oils.
Infused Oils are oils that contain the properties of herbs, spices or fragrant leaves that permeate the oil through the process of maceration. It’s a way of producing an oil that carries both the benefits of the herb or herbs used, as well as the main carrier oil itself.
How are Infused Oils Different from Essential Oils?
Compared to essential oils, infused oils use a smaller amount of plant material, are safe for both internal and external use, are good for the skin and can be used without dilution. They also have subtle scents.
Essential oils, on the other hand, require a lot more plant material, are usually not suitable for internal use, and could even cause rashes and allergic reactions. Essential oils also need to be diluted before use, and their scents may be too powerful for some.
How do you make Infused Oils?
To begin, you will need a crock pot, as well as a strainer – an unbleached muslin cloth is recommended, usually available at fabric stores. You will also need a carrier oil as well as the desired herbs you want to infuse the oil with.
- Make sure that the crock pot has a low heat setting, as this is one of the best ways to make infused oils.
- The low heat setting is essential for gently heating the oil, to prevent it from being overheated as the oil infuses. Look out for crock pots with multiple heat settings as it’s likely to be a more sensitive model which will allow you to adjust to the desired low heat setting.
- Before you begin, make sure that the crock pot you’re using is completely clean and spotless – you do not want any contaminants in your infused oil. Next, prepare the amount of herbs you’ll need for the infused oil.
- Typically, the ratio of herbs to oil is usually 1:4 or 1:3, if you are using dried herbs. If you are using fresh herbs, double the amount of herbs used.
- Add the two together, and heat at the lowest heat setting for two hours.
- Stir every 10-15 minutes – use a timer to remind you to stir at these intervals.
- After two hours, using your unbleached muslin cloth, carefully strain the oil into a clean container.
- The oil should be strained at least twice to remove any remaining herb particles, as leaving herb particles in the infused oil can cause the oil to go bad easily.
Plants commonly used to make Infused Oils
Some plants that are commonly found in infused oils are arnica flowers, burdock seeds, calendula flowers, comfrey leaves or roots, dandelion flowers, plantain leaves, poke roots, spruce needles, St. John’s Wort flowers, yarrow blossoms and yellow dock roots.
Uses for Infused Oils
Infused oils are multipurpose and can be applied directly on to the body. They can be used to heal and ease the pain of wounds, and other burns or rashes, scrapes and bruises. They can also be applied onto the body after being incorporated into ointments, salves and lip balms.
Also suitable for use as a moisturizer or nourishment for scalp and hair, they can be applied after bathing. Other uses include oil as anointment in rituals or as a sexual lubricant. For those who do not enjoy the strong scents of essential oils, infused oils are a good option. As they are also safe for ingestion, they are more versatile as compared to essential oils and boast just as many benefits and uses.