Once you have selected your herbs, making an herbal oil is simple. Herbal oils extract the power of herbs into an easily-absorbed and potent source and are the first step in making salves and ointments.
There are several methods for infusing an oil: double-broiler, crockpot, and solar. Solar-infused is the simplest (and most ancient).
How to Make a Solar-Infused Herbal Oil
You will need:
- Herbs (I am making an anti-bacterial* green salve using a combination of these herbs.)
- Good-quality oil, preferably olive oil for green salves
- Canning jar and lid
- A warm, sunny spot
- Select your herbs.
- If you pick fresh herbs, fresh-wilt them first by letting them sit in a warm place (out of direct sunlight) for a few hours until they have lost most of their water content. Too much moisture can ruin the oil.
- Fill a clean mason jar 1/3 to 1/2 full of herbs.
- Cover with oil, leaving about two inches of head space.
- Screw lid on tightly and let sit in a sunny windowsill for about two weeks.
- Strain out herbs with a cheesecloth.
- (Optional) If you want an extra potent herbal oil, repeat steps 1-6 using the herbal oil you just strained.
- Store your herbal oil, tightly covered, in a cool dark place or use it to make an herbal salve.
Properly prepared herbal oils made with olive oil should last for several months to a year in a cool dark place. If it starts to smell off, discard and make a new batch!
*Anti-bacterial in the sense that the herbal properties fight bad bacteria, but hopefully don’t contribute to the rise of super bugs like improperly used anti-bacterial soaps might.
I am not a doctor or a nurse. The only hospital I have ever worked at is a doll hospital. There, a band-aid (or plantain!) can cure a heart attack. Please use discretion and seek medical assistance for serious injuries!
[Full discloser: links to products in this post are my referral links.]