Friday, January 16, 2015

How to Make a Medicinal Oil {Plus Printable} ~ Home Pharmacy Series


{Before we continue further in our Home Pharmacy Series, a simple tutorial on medicinal oils would be in order so that the "how-to-make-a-medicinal-oil" information doesn't need to be repeated each time we share about a specific herb.}

Making medicinal oils are easy and fun because there is so much you can do with them! It doesn't require any "real" work, just mix together some herbs in some good quality oil. Depending on the herbs and oils used, you may enjoy a sweet smelling concoction for luxurious massage oils and lavish body oils. Or, you can prepare medicinal oils to sooth various ailments depending on the plant used.  You can also use your herb infused oil as a base for making handmade lotions, creams, moisturizing bars, balms and salves.


You can use either dried herbs or fresh for this project (I prefer using dried when available as you know the water content has been removed). However if you choose to use fresh, it is recommended to fresh-wilt your herbs first to remove excess moisture from your oil. Here is how herbalist Rosemary Gladstar explains it:

"When I make oils from fresh herbs, before adding the herbs to the oil, I usually freshwilt them: I place them on a basket or screen in a single layer, in a warm area out of direct sunlight, and let them wilt for several hours. They’re ready when they look limp. Fresh wilting allows some of the moisture to evaporate, so there’s less chance of spoilage."


Two Methods to Prepare a Medicinal Oil:

There are two methods to making your medicine oils. The solar infusion is my favorite as it only requires a clean jar filled with herbs and oil which you place in a warm, sunny area (you can cover oil with a light cloth if you want to avoid direct sunlight). This seems to me to be a natural and gentle way to create an herbal oil. However, when in a rush, you can always prepare a batch quickly using the stove top. Both methods are described below.


Type of Oils to Use:

You will want to use a high quality vegetable oil. Keep in mind that olive and coconut oil are both highly medicinal while boasting longer-lasting shelf lives (about 1 year). Almond oil is also a nice choice for more cosmetic purposes since it doesn't have a strong aroma and absorbs quickly. Jojoba is also lovely as it mimics our own moisturizing sebum and therefore works wonders for dry and chapped skin. Grape-seed oil and sunflower oil are convenient choices because many of us have them sitting in our pantry. Just keep in mind the shelf lives of your oils first so that you use your product up before it becomes rancid. 

Note: Cooking oils such as "vegetable" oil, canola oil and corn oil are not recommended.


To Make a Solar Infusion {my preference}:

1.  Gather your fresh or dried herbs (make some or buy some). If using fresh herbs, fresh-wilt them first as shared above and place them in a clean jar.



2.  Cover herbs by at least 1-2 inches with oil making sure they are completely submerged the entire time (with this in mind, the more herbs you use, the more medicinal oil you will produce).

3.  Screw lid on firmly. Let the mixture steep in a warm, sunny spot for 2 - 3 weeks (you can cover oil with a light cloth if you want to avoid direct sunlight).



4.  When the time is up, strain the solids through a fine cheesecloth or a piece of thin cotton/muslin to remove all particles. I found that double straining with a second time through cotton works best.

5. Pour into a clean, dry jar or bottle (we often reuse the glass bottle our oil comes in) and label with the name and date.



Quick Maceration Method:

1.  Place your herbs and oil in a pan (making sure to fresh-wilt the fresh herbs as described above). For better results, use a double boiler.

2.  Cook at a low heat for 20 - 30 minutes (you don't want burnt herbs or oil so be careful that it is gentle).

3.  When the time is up, strain the solids through a fine cheesecloth or a piece of thin cotton/muslin to remove all particles. I found that double straining with a second time through cotton works best.

4. When the oil has cooled off, pour into a clean, dry jar or bottle (we often reuse the glass bottle our oil comes in) and label with the name and date.


Double Strength Infused Oil:

To make your infusion double strength, add another batch of herbs to your finished (and strained) oil and repeat the process one more time.


Optional: Medicinal and Aromatic Additives

You can also add 10 drops of your favorite essential oil to every cup of your infused oil to give it a stronger potency of medicinal benefits and a longer shelf life.



How to Store, Maintain and Print Directions with Labels:

Store oil in a cool, dark area (like your pantry) for 6 - 12 months (or until oil seems "off").

If you notice condensation on the inside of your lid, wipe with a clean and dry cloth immediately (your herbs may have had too much moisture in them when preparing this).



We are also sharing some printable instructions and labels for your herbal {to learn what an herbal is and to make your own, visit here}. Simply download from the menu link HERE, save and print.



Disclaimer: I am not a certified herbalist but a homemaker interested in the arts of natural healing. The information I have learned has been gleaned through study of some of the following favorite books; Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's GuideGrow Your Own Drugs by James Wong, and The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs by Reader's Digest and websites of herbalists (such as the Bulk Herb Store Blog).

I am not a doctor. While I do seek scientific confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of the herbs and remedies I use, remember that using remedies is a personal decision. Nothing I say on this blog is approved by the FDA or intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. All things on this blog are my opinion or the opinion of others. Also, if you have a medical condition, are taking pharmaceutical drugs, or are pregnant, please consult your physician prior to taking herbs.

23 comments:

  1. Very interesting...and VERY helpful with your instructions, Jes.

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    1. I am glad you found this helpful Dianna! Making herb infused oils is one of the oldest ways that man has utilized God's pharmacy :)

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  2. My dear JES, I loved and I mean loved this post! How interesting and very educational! I greatly appreciate you wisdom and know-hows. Thank you and have a beautiful weekend!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement Stephanie! May you have a beautiful weekend as well :)

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  3. Thank you for sharing your knowledge about essential oils, and making your own. I grew calendula in my garden last year, and used the flowers to make calendula oil. It is so amazing, and has great healing properties. I learned a lot from Rosemary Gladstone's book as well. Thanks for another amazing post about a topic that I want to learn more about!

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    1. Glad this helped. Just wanted to point out though, that this is an herb infused oil and not an essential oil. The essential oils take a lot more plant matter to create as well as a distilled process. As far as calendula oil goes, we are having a lot of fun with it too right now ;) Hope you have a lovely weekend!!

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  4. Hi, JES, Just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you and your blog and all of the wonderful articles/advice you share! You are so knowledgeable about these things, and it is a real blessing that you share that knowledge with the readers here. God bless you!

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    1. Hi Cheryl, thanks for the encouragement! I think it is neat because we all get to share with one another what each of us are learning in life :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Suzie! :)

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  6. Such good directions for medicinal oils! I'm beginning to think you need to compile all of your posts into a complete guide for the homemaker. I'll bet there's a publisher out there that would jump on it if they had a look at your blog. And I'd buy it in a heartbeat, because I'm out of ink again! Give me a book, please. :) lol

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    1. You are too sweet! :) Though I must agree I would rather have a book in my hands ANY day!

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  7. Thank you so much for all of this information! I am already planning this year's garden, though it will be small, to include more medicinal herbs. I like to grow my own herbs, not only because it's cheaper that way, but also because I know exactly what the herb has been in, around or through! Have a great week!

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    1. Very true!! You can grow "organic", what a novel concept, yes? :)

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  8. Great directions.... very useful for beginners and even those who already make herb oils. The medicinal oils are so helpful.... I love having such items on hand and we use them instead of medications. A good oil can also be easily made into a salve which gives it some portability if needed. We use and enjoy both. Thank you for the article. :)

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  9. Great post, thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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  10. I love Rosemary Gladstar's work - thank you for these clear directions and the printables! Thanks so much for linking up to Awesome Life Friday - I hope you'll come back again this week! http://rchreviews.blogspot.com

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  11. What a great post! Thanks for sharing at the Homestead Blog Hop! Hope to see you again this week.

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  12. Great info. I love those EO by doTerra. I just ordered a whole Family Physician kit, can't wait to get them and start using. Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!

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    1. Oh wonderful! You are going to love the oils! That is what I started with too and have since added to a nice collection! They are so useful!!! :)

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  13. Great post. Congrats on being chosen as a featured post on this week’s Wildcrafting Wednesdays! I hope you'll join us again and share more of your awesome posts.
    http://www.herbanmomma.com

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  14. I just went to download this info and the one on medicinal teas and Scribd says they have been taken down. Is there any other way to access the information?
    Thanks

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    1. Thank you for letting me know Davette! I have updated this to a Google Drive download and it should work now! :)

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