Infused herbal oils and ointments

ointmentGarden Apothecary – Make Your Own Infused Herbal Oils and Ointment with Robyn Francis

There are numerous simple remedies and products for healthy living and eating that can be easily made at home with standard kitchen equipment equipment. The Garden Apothecary shares simple recipes, solutions and tips for low-impact natural living, starting with how to make your own herbal infused oils and herbal ointments.

Infused Oils are vegetable oils infused with fresh or dried herbs. The base oil absorbs (is infused with) the essential oils from the fresh herbs which contain the plants healing properties and aroma. What base oil you choose largely depends on the intended end use (skin care, culinary or healing) and nature of the plant you’re infusing. For delicates like rose petals I prefer to use macadmia oil or organic sunflower oil, whereas for more pungent aromatic herbs or for medicinal purposes I generally use organic cold-pressed olive oil. Recommend you avoid Canola Oil due to the risk of GMO contamination.


Infused oils can be used in the kitchen, for massage and body oils and to make the base oil for ointments and salves. One of my favourites is infused Rosemary in virgin olive oil. I use this in the kitchen for roasting potatoes, cooking lamb etc, but its also wonderful for the skin and as a base for therapeutic massage oil. Infused Rosemary in Olive oil is also traditionally used as a hair tonic– massaged into the scalp and through the hair it can reduce dandruff and splitting ends (leave oil in hair for around 2 or 3 hours before washing out).

Some popular and commonly grown herbs good for infused oils include rosemary, rose petals, citrus blossoms, marjoram, thyme, sage, lemongrass and calendula flowers.

Cold method – bruise fresh herb and place in a wide top jar. Cover herb with vegetable oil and place in sunny location, like a window sill, (it needs the sun to warm the oil) and shake several times daily. After 3 days strain and replace herbs with fresh herbs and repeat process 2-3 times. When the oil is sufficiently infused, strain and decant into sterilised bottles.

Heat method (Bain Marie) – bruise fresh herb and place in stainless steel bowl, add oil until herb is just covered, place bowl with herb and oil over saucepan with 3cm water in bottom of pan and place on stove on low heat. The steam from the simmering water gently heats the oil, which absorbs the herbs essential oils and healing properties. Bain Marie for approximately 1 hour and check the water occasionally (don’t let it boil dry). NB do not directly heat the oil on the stove.

When done, strain oil through muslin cloth and store for use.

Store in a cool dark place.

Tip: Keep unusual sauce, vinegar and oil bottles to decant your infused oils into. When you fill the bottle with the Roselmary Oil you can insert a sprig of fresh rosemay into the jar – it looks absolutely divine and with minimal decoration makes a wonderful gift with a genuinely personal touch.


Herbal Ointment

To make a herbal ointment or salve you first need to make an infused oil as above with the herb and strain through muslin cloth.

Measure the oil and return to a clean stainless bowl on the Bain Marie

Add 14gr beeswax per 100ml infused oil.

Heat until beeswax has melted.

Stir well with a clean teaspoon or bamboo skewer

Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

Store in a cool dark place.

Herbs commonly used for making ointments include Calendula Flowers, Comfrey (lead and root), Chickweed and Sage.


Award code – MA000075 Modern Awards Normal.dotm 0 0 2009-09-03T09:33:00Z 2009-09-03T09:33:00Z 1 14 80 Permaculture Education 1 1 98 12.0 0 false 18 pt 18 pt 0 0 false false false This information states traditional uses of herbs and should not be interpreted as medical advice

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