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Make Your Own: Infused Oils

September 8th, 2010

Along with using plantain as a quick treatment for bug bites and other wounds, I’m also trying to make some plantain essential oil so I can make a beeswax salve to carry with me. Then when I’m out and about I can still have access to it’s therapeutic benefits. I decided I would try to make some plantain essential oil here at home instead of purchasing it, so I read a few articles on making essential oils at home. These are different than distilled oils that you buy which are much more concentrated. Since I don’t have a home still, so I’ll be making oils that are infused with herbs not the distilled essential oils.

I read a few articles and each had different methods of making essential oils, different amounts of herbs were used in each recipe. I made mine by using a combination of all the recipes I read. I didn’t want to make a whole cup of oil as I thought I wouldn’t be able to use it up quickly, so I made a half cup. I simply chopped up 3 Tablespoons of fresh plantain and put them in a small jar and topped it with 1/2 cup of good organic olive oil (you can use other types of oil if you’d like, I happen to always have olive oil on hand).

Some recipes called for the heating of the oil and herbs, some simply called for steeping for a few days in a warm spot then removing the spent herbs and adding fresh herbs every couple days. I’m opting for this non-heating method. I’ve been steeping the herbs on my kitchen windowsill and will be refreshing the herbs a few times until the oil smells strongly of plantain. If the weather gets too cold, I may warm the oil occasionally is a pan of water, but only until slightly warm, not too much heat as I’m thinking this may damage some of the benefits of the herbs.

When it’s finished I plan on putting it in an amber bottle with an eye dropper. This winter I’ll experiment in making salves with beeswax that I’ll be able to carry around in a little tin, I’ll be sure to blog about it when I do. I’m also looking forward to making more essential oils, I bought a tea tree plant this spring and I’m hoping to make tea tree oil next, as we use a lot of tea tree oil here at Chiot’s Run.

Have you ever made essential oils at home? Do you use essential oils often?

15 Comments to “Make Your Own: Infused Oils”
  1. Lisa Brown on September 8, 2010 at 7:03 am

    I do use essentials oils a fair amount. Lavender/Patchouli as perfume, peppermint in my tea for my acid reflux….etc…. Would love to hear what you use for what.
    Love your blog, its nice that you take the time almost every day! thanks, Lisa

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  2. Sense of Home on September 8, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I have never made essential oil, though I use them all the time and making my own sounds like an interesting idea. My daughter is a licensed reflexologist and aromatherapist and uses esstential oils in her practice. She has told me there is a big difference in the quality of essential oils on the market, I wonder how making my own would compare, I will have to ask her about the process.


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    • Susy on September 8, 2010 at 9:06 am

      I would imagine these are close to the diluted oil you make with essential oils. Many true essential oils are too concentrated to used directly on the skin so you dilute them in olive oil or some other carrier oil. Usually a few drop of essential oil for each Tablespoon of olive/grapeseed/jojoba oil.

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  3. Laura on September 8, 2010 at 9:00 am

    i’m currently in the 2nd year of a 3 year apprenticeship for herbal medicine making. Your post really through me when you talked about making essential oils. We just call what you are making an infused oil. What I’ve been taught is that an essential oil is the distilled kind of oil and any other method is an infused oil. I’m not sure about the method you’re using and will be interested in hearing how it goes. I make mine by chopping up the plant and putting in enough oil that it will mix well. Then setting it in a cool, dark spot for six weeks before straining and either using or storing.
    I look forward to hearing how your experiment goes.

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    • Susy on September 8, 2010 at 9:04 am

      Oh yes, infused oils, I couldn’t think of the term when writing this. I’ve read about making a cheap still at home with pots & stuff, but not sure I’m to the challenge of trying to extract pure essential oils.

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  4. Patrice Wassmann on September 8, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Can’t there be a problem with botulism with herbs stored in oil?

    Reply to Patrice Wassmann's comment

    • Susy on September 8, 2010 at 9:53 am

      You actually strain the herbs out after you’ve infused the oil. Plus the majority of herbs are antiseptic/antifungal so I’m guessing that helps.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Chandelle on September 8, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Yes, this is an infused oil, not an essential oil. The process for making essential oils involves distillation of ENORMOUS amounts of plant material and it can be quite difficult to do at home. I gave it a try once when I had a profusion of lavender and it was an absolute disaster. I just stick with infused oils, which work just fine for almost everything, with a fraction of the effort and waste!

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  6. Attila on September 8, 2010 at 11:56 am

    My favourite use for the essential oils I buy is making an air freshener; 1 part water to 1 part white vinegar, (1/4 pint of each) and a few drops of essential oil; today I used lavender and tea tree. I use a pump spray bottle and it’s really good. Commercial air fresheners make me gag.

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  7. Miranda on September 8, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Wow – i never considered doing this. I’ve made infused oils for culinary uses before – i’ll have to try making some infused oils for skin therapy as well. Thanks for the idea!

    Reply to Miranda's comment

  8. isabel on September 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    That’s so clever – thank you for sharing, and your photos always make life seem so beautiful, even the cuts and bumps!

    Reply to isabel's comment

  9. nic@nipitinthebud on September 8, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    buying a tee tree plant, what a good idea. We use it medicinally but it’s most popular use in our house is to deoderise G’s badminton trainers! I’ve not infused oils for medicinal purposes and have had varying degrees of success with cooking oils. Have had a few disappointing and expensive experiments turn rancid ;o(

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  10. Debbie on September 8, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    This sounds like a great idea. I’m going to attempt this too. Sounds interesting. I’ll be waiting for your update post.

    Reply to Debbie's comment

  11. Sustainable Eats on September 9, 2010 at 1:51 am

    I make chammomile and borage infused oil that I later use in lotions. The plantain would be another great one to have on hand though! I also love to make rose geranium infused oil simply because it smells so marvelous. I have a feeling I’ll be needing some aromatherapy to get me through this winter since we never got summer.

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  12. JoAnn Davidsn on July 30, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I have Calendula flowers soaking in oil now to make a face cream. I use extra VirginOliveOil. I recently made Cayenne cream/salve, and evergreen cream/salve, and evergreen cayenne cream/salve. Also Dandelion cream, and rose petal cream, both of which I have always bought and used as face cream,and mint cream salve which is wonderful rubbed on the feet. I recently retired and had planed to make my own. I get bees wax from a local bee keeper. Evergreen was very interesting to make. I got pine needles in January when you should for the oil. It’s good stuff. Some of these you can put a bit of honey in for all its benefits. Cayenne and the evergreen work good on bug bites from gardening!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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