Making herbal oils is easy, and they can be used for many purposes. Start with high quality dried herbs and put them in your favorite carrier oil.
Here are just a few carrier oils you could consider:
Almond oil (organic, expeller pressed): non-greasy, contains vitamin E, good for normal and dry skin, very moisturizing, good for delicate skin, great as a massage oil and base for lip balms
Hemp seed oil (organic, unrefined): high in omega fatty acids, good for improving skin texture, relieves redness and inflammation, promotes barrier function, great for all skin types
Jojoba seed oil (organic): light to medium oil (technically a liquid wax ester) that is closest to our skin’s own sebum, does not feel oily when applied, rapidly absorbs, all-purpose oil for skin, hair and nails, one of my favorites!
Olive oil (extra virgin): one of the most versatile of the oils, can be used in cooking (low heat), incredible in skin care products
Sunflower seed oil (organic, cold-pressed): light, non-greasy, great for cooking and topical products, superior for dry, irritated or delicate skin due to its incredible barrier protection, good choice for those allergic to nut oils
Here we will make a lavender oil. Lavender takes her name from the Latin 'lavare,' which means to wash. Historically, the flowering herb has been widely used to scent bathwater and soap. Although lavender is a member of the mint family and can soothe indigestion and relieve tension, I use it sparingly in beverage teas as it can be “soapy” in taste. In Europe, it is still approved as a traditional herbal medicine for the relief of mild symptoms of mental stress and exhaustion and to aid sleep. Many people use lavender essential oil in diffusers for these purposes.
The aroma of lavender is luscious and calming. When applied topically, lavender can soothe irritated skin (e.g., bug bites, sunburn, eczema) and act as a mild antiseptic for minor cuts and wounds. I like to make lavender oil to use as a massage oil to soothe dry, irritated skin and as a base for lip balm and wound salves.
Herbal oils should be made in small batches.
Using a glass mason jar and a canning funnel fill the jar ½ to 1/3 of the way full of lavender flowers. Next add your oil. I use almond oil. Cover the lavender flowers completely with the almond oil. Stir with a chopstick or glass rod (no metal). Put parchment over the top of the mason jar before you put on the lid so again no metal is touching the oil. Keep in a warm dark place out of light and shake it daily. After 2 weeks strain through cheese cloth or muslin and put the oil into a dark colored glass jar to protect from light. You can add ½ tsp Vitamin E oil per 8 oz of the herbal oil to help prevent rancidity. The oil will last about a year.
Depending upon your use and the size of your family, 4-8 ounces is often sufficient. Store them in the refrigerator to extend their shelf life, or keep in a cool, dark cabinet.
Other Herbal Oils:
Basil leaf (Ocimum basilicum): This is an absolute must for the kitchen. I take freshly dried basil from my garden and steep it in olive oil. I make it in small batches and store it in the refrigerator. Basil oil is great when cooking eggs, drizzled over mozzarella and tomatoes or blended with balsamic vinegar for serving over salad. Do the same with oregano and other popular culinary herbs.
Calendula flower (Calendula officinalis): This is one of the very best multipurpose herbal oils. Calendula is very soothing for irritated skin. It is great for diaper rash, bug bites, and to soothe eczema. Calendula oil is great as a massage oil or as a base for ointments or lip balm.
Plantain leaf (Plantago spp): Not to be confused with the banana-like plantain, this green plant has been used to soothe irritated tissue for centuries. Internally, plantain soothes a sore throat and irritated GI tract, while topically it soothes irritated skin, eases the itch of bug bites and helps to heal minor wounds. I harvest plantain throughout the summer and use the freshly dried leaves to make herbal oils that can be used as a body oil or as the base for a wound salve.
Note: I recommend using only dried herbs for herbal oils to prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria. I make fresh herb oils for use in the kitchen, but these are used within a day of preparation.
To buy your ingredients go to npscript.com/theherbdoctor and also check out Mountain Rose Herbs website.