What do lotions, salves, and massages have in common? What can you use on a pulled muscle that will not only relax it, but penetrate deep down into the tissues to bring healing to that area?
Herbal infused oils and liniments… that’s what!
These two herbal preparations are very similar, and today we’ll be talking about what infused oils and liniments are, how you can use them, and of course, how to make them yourself at home.
Herbal Infused Oils
Herbal infused oils are one of the most basic herbal preparations there are, and they serve as a base for many therapeutic and skincare products you can make at home or find on store shelves.
When it comes to making herbal infused oils the possibilities are endless! There are countless combinations of herbs you can use as well as a wide range of oils that can be blended together.
Infused oils have many different uses. They can be used on their own to nourish the skin, as a lubricant for a massage, or to promote healing on wounds. They can also be used to lightly sauté foods, replace plain vegetable oil in a recipe, or blended with vinegar to make homemade salad dressings.
Infused oils can also be used as a base in herbal salves, creams, lotions, hair products like shampoos and conditioners, and more.
As you can see, there are many uses for herbal oils, but how do you actually infuse herbs into oils?
Well, the process that I’m gonna share with you today is the quick version of infusing herbs into oils, but there are actually several different methods. They all work great, but everyone has their preference. Personally, I infuse my oils differently depending upon what I’m using them for. If you wanna know more about how to make and use herbal infused oils checkout my e-book Making Herbal Infused Oils: The Ultimate How To Guide. It’s a quick read that will tell you all about the different methods and you get 5 exclusive infused oil recipes that I formulated myself to try out. You’ll love them!
How To Make Herbal Infused Oils (In Less Than An Hour)
- Find two saucepans, one larger than the other so that the smaller one sits just inside the larger one.
- Fill the larger pan with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil on the stove.
- In the smaller saucepan, place 1 part herb to 2-3 parts oil in the pan.
- Once water is boiling in the large saucepan, place the smaller pan (the one with the herbs and oil) inside. Let this sit for 30-60 minutes. Keep an eye on it making sure the water doesn’t evaporate out of the large pan on the bottom (if it starts to get low, add some more) and that your oil in the top pan doesn’t start to boil or smoke.
- When time is up, place a paper towel inside a stainless steel strainer over a bowl. Pour the warm oil and herbs into the paper towel. The towel and strainer will catch the herbs and the warm oil will filter through leaving you with an herbal infused oil in your bowel.
- Bottle, label, and store.
Note About Herb-Oil Ratios
The amount of herbs to oil doesn’t have to be precise and will vary based on how you’re planning on using the oil and the herbs being infused. The more herbs to oil, the stronger your infusion will be. The more oil to herbs the weaker your infusion will be.
For example, if you’re infusing garlic into olive oil for a yummy cooking oil, chances are you’ll use more oil to garlic since garlic is strong, but if you’re infusing rose petals into almond oil to make a lovely face cream you’ll probably want to use more rose to oil so the infusion is stronger. Make sense?
The amount of herbs to oil will also vary based on how dense your herbs are. Another example is with comfrey oil and arnica oil. Comfrey is a leaf, and it’s more dense than arnica (fluffy flowers) is. It would take more oil to cover the fluffy arnica than it would to cover the comfrey leaves so you’d have to adjust your oil amounts depending on the herb used.
Now what about herbal liniments?
An herbal liniment is made very much like an herbal tincture (which we’ll be talking about soon) except that it’s made using rubbing alcohol instead of liquor, and liniments are for external use only. Let me say that again. Liniments are not to be consumed internally. DON’T DRINK THEM!!!
Herbal liniments are most commonly used for disinfecting things or using to penetrate deep down into the tissues to decrease pain and inflammation and bring healing to an area. They are excellent herbal preparations for first aid kits and medicine cabinets.
An example of a disinfecting liniment is Dr. Kloss’s Disinfecting Liniment (found in his book Back To Eden) which is great for boils or abscesses, acne, ingrown toenails, or cleansing the skin using as a mouth wash. Simply wash the infected or sore area hourly with the liniment to help reduce pain, redness, and swelling.
Examples of using liniments for decreasing pain, inflammation, and promoting healing would be when using them on pulled muscles, sprained ankles, or headaches. Pour a small amount of liniment on a clean cotton ball and rub over the affected area every 1-2 hours until relief if felt.
Below are the steps to making an herbal liniment. Try to keep up won’t you… it’s so complicated. Just joking!!
How To Make An Herbal Liniment
- Fill clean glass jar 1/3 full of herbs.
- Pour rubbing alcohol (70%) over herbs filling jar up 1 inch from the top.
- Cap and let sit for 7 days shaking once each day.
- After 7 days strain herbs from alcohol. Bottle, label, and store.
So that’s it for today. So far in this series you’ve learned how to make herbal teas, infusions, decoctions, washes, compresses, fomentations, poultices, powders, electuaries, oils, and liniments. You’re on your way to becoming an herbalist mama! Go you!