HERBAL INFUSED OIL + SALVE


Looking to make your own flower/herb infused oils and salves? Below are the methods I've been using for years to create my formulas. Once you learn the  basics of oil and salve making, you can customize your blends and creations to use the flowers and leaves readily available to you. Growing echinacea? Or rosemary? Maybe plantain is popping up everywhere in your yard? All of these plants hold valuable medicinal properties that can be incorporated into your recipes, along with your good intentions while creating them. 

Creating your own herbal products is a way to continue honor the plants you're growing long into the winter season. It allows you control over the ingredients you're applying to your skin - you are the maker. 

Everything our bodies touch is absorbed our skin, our largest organ; it breathes it all in. Be gentle to it, to yourself. 
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Herbal infused oils are simple to make and can be used in a variety of ways: 
-Use them as is to moisturize face and body, or as a shaving oil.
-Combine 1 part castor oil to 4 parts of infused oil, and use as a cleansing face oil.
-Apply to scalp and hair as a treatment oil. 
-Use as the base to make salve. 
Create the blend for your needs using the appropriate oil; some oils are better for the face (jojoba, sweet almond), some for the body (grapeseed, coconut), some for hair (hemp). 

Herbal salves are also great for both skin or hair. Beeswax offers protection against moisture loss in skin, and in small amounts, is great for smoothing unruly hair. Choose the infused oil to best suit your needs. Beware here - when making salve, be sure your oil is heat-safe. Some oils do not like heat! Namely hemp, rosehip seed, avocado. Mountain Rose Herbs has a great selection of carrier oils, and also notes the heat tolerance of each. 

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WORKING WITH HERBS:
Use intention + be mindful. You're creating medicine using gifts from the earth - treat the process as a mindful meditiation. 
Research ingredient sources. Always use organic oils and always know where your beeswax and oils are coming from; Amazon is not always the best choice here. 
Dedicate tools + supplies. Beeswax is messy! 
Take good notes. Save your recipes. Record results. Write everything down - especially if you'd like to replicate the recipe again. How did you like the end result? Did it need more oil or more beeswax? Make notes for the next time. 

HERB HARVESTING:
Only take what you need. 
Harvest on a dry morning, while volatile oils are strongest.
Dry in a well-ventilated space out of sunlight.
Time to dry will vary. 
Label and store in an airtight container out of direct sunlight. 

SUPPLIES NEEDED FOR INFUSING OILS: 
dried plant material
carrier oil (jojoba/olive/almond, etc.)
large, airtight jar with lid
cheesecloth + funnel
bottles/jars + label

METHOD:
Place dried herbs in your jar and cover completely with oil. Shake well and allow herbs to settle. Add more oil if needed to cover. Plant matter should move freely in the oil.
Label + date your jar.

Place in the sun (or not, depending on the oil) and shake daily. 
Infuse for at least 4 weeks. 
Or, infuse over very low heat (about 120 degrees) for 8 hours in a water bath. Strain into an airtight bottle. Label + date bottle.

SUPPLIES NEEDED FOR SALVE MAKING: 
heat safe carrier oil (3 parts total)
beeswax (1 part)
essential oils, if using 
heat safe measuring cup + pot
scale (use weight, not volume)
sterile jar + label

METHOD: 
Combine 1 part beeswax to 3 parts oil in measuring cup and place in a water bath. Melt over very, very low heat. 
Make sure water is level with oil + watch to maintain as water evaporates off.
Use caution to not allow water to bubble or boil over into your oil.
Test for consistency as if you're making jam (Scoop out a small bit and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Test it. Too oily? Add a bit more beeswax. Too thick? Add a bit more oil. Test again.)
Add essential oils, if using, just before pouring. 
Stir.
Pour carefully. 
Allow to cure. 
Label your jar.
Record results.
Enjoy the process.