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How to infuse oils with herbs and flowers

Difficulty: Beginner
Time: 10 minutes
Yields: 1 jar

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Chamomile infused oil

Infused oils are very versatile and useful. Depending on the herbs and flowers you have used, you can use them in your cooking, as a skin oil, for massage or you can add them to
your balms and lotions. Some of my favourite infused oils are rosemary and garlic infused olive oil, which I use for everything from cooking steak to adding to roast vegetables; calendula and chamomile infused oils to use in balms and lotions (excellent for sensitive skin or baby skin); rose oil made from the petals collected from my own rose bushes (I usually leave some petals in the oil for decoration); and lavender oil as a massage oil or for use in solid lotion bars.

What I do recommend is to use only dried herbs and flowers. Fresh flowers and herbs can cause mould to grow in your oil and it’s easy to prevent that from happening by using dried herbs and flowers. So why risk it?

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Fill a clean, dry jar with dried herbs and/or flowers. Make sure the jar is completely dry, you don’t want mould growing! Fill the jar with oil to completely cover the herbs. My favourite oils to use are sunflower for my balms and lotions, and olive oil for my kitchen oil, but any kind of vegetable oil will work.


Tap the jar gently on the kitchen bench a couple of times to get rid of any air pockets. Then put the lid back on the jar and keep it in a sunny place for a couple of weeks or more. I have my jars on my windowsill where the morning sun can gently warm them up each day. Give the jar a little shake every other day or so.


After 2-4 weeks it’s time to strain the oil. Place a coffee filter in a funnel on top of a bowl or jug. Carefully pour the oil and herbs concoction into the filter. Make sure it’s in a stable set up, you don’t want it to tilt or fall over when it’s filled with oil. If you don’t have a coffee filter, you can also use a cheese cloth or muslin cloth.

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Once you’ve strained the oil, it is ready for use. It will keep for up to 6 months, if stored in a dark coloured bottle out of direct sunlight.

Herb or Flower Infused Oil

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • dried flowers or herbs of your choice
  • 1 jar with lid
  • vegetable oil (enough to fill the jar)

Directions

  1. Fill a clean, dry jar with dried herbs and/or flowers.
  2. Pour the oil in the jar until it completely covers the herbs or flowers.
  3. Tap the jar gently on the bench a few times to get rid of any air pockets.
  4. Place the lid on the jar and keep it in a sunny place for 2-4 weeks.
  5. Strain the oil through a coffee filter, cheese cloth or muslin cloth.
  6. Pour the oil in a dark, coloured bottle. It will keep for up to 6 months.

Where you can get your supplies from

  • dried herbs and flowers: garden, Pure Nature
  • vegetable oils: supermarket
  • jars: supermarket, Warehouse
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Basic balm tutorial

Difficulty: Beginner
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 2 pots (50 mls each)

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Orange balm

Balms are very versatile and can be made for many uses, depending on what ingredients are added. By using conditioning, moisturising oils and butters, you can make a balm for
softening rough skins on your hands and feet. Using infused oils or adding essential oils will also affect the properties of the balm. Lavender soothes the mind and the body. Calendula is a well-known skin healer. Tea tree, manuka, thyme are anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Use arnica infused oils in muscle balms. And lemongrass and eucalyptus in an insect repellent balm.

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A good place to start formulating balms is by using equal parts of wax, oil, and butter. This will give you a good, solid balm. If you want a softer and more spreadable consistency, add more oil or reduce the amount of wax and butters you are using. A salve will have a ratio upwards of 4 parts of oil to one part of wax. The balm of this recipe uses slightly less butter and wax, but will still leave you with a fairly solid balm.

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In a heat proof glass jug (i.e. Pyrex) and add your  vegetable oil, such as olive oil or sunflower oil, and your beeswax (or candelilla wax for a vegan balm). Heat it on high in your microwave for 2 minutes or until the beeswax is fully melted.

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Add your vegetable butter, for example cocoa butter or shea butter, and stir until the butter has completely melted. If you find the mixture is starting to harden, pop it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds or so until it is liquid again.

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Next, add your essential oils and give it another good stir. I’m using orange essential oil here, which is why it is a bright colour 😉

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Finally, carefully pour the balm into the pots and leave them overnight to harden and cool down. Don’t put the lids on, otherwise you will find it will have formed condensation on the inside of the lids, which is a unwanted environment for mould growth.

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Basic Balm

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • 50 ml vegetable oil (such as olive oil, sunflower oil, etc.)
  • 25 g butter (such as shea butter or cocoa butter)
  • 25 g beeswax (or 15 g candelilla wax plus 10 g extra oil for a vegan option)
  • 2 pots (50ml)
  • 4 ml essential oils

Directions

  1. In a heat proof glass jug (i.e. Pyrex), combine the oil and wax. Place it in the microwave and heat on high for 2 minutes initially and then in 1 minute increments until the beeswax has completely melted. Be careful when removing the jug from the microwave, as the mixture will be very hot!
  2. Add the butter and stir until melted. If the butter doesn’t melt completely or if the mixture is starting to harden, pop it back in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. When the mixture is completely liquid, add your essential oils and stir to completely mix in.
  4. Pour the mixture into your pots. Allow to fully cool and harden overnight before putting the lids on.

Where you can get your ingredients from