by Sarah Petruno, Shamana
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I’ve recently gotten into essential oils, when, not long ago I wasn’t sure if they worked at all and I was distrustful of MLM companies who sold them.
In years past, I’ve used over the counter, drugstore brand essential oils, mostly for aromatherapy, but for some skin and topical preparations, and I hadn’t seen much, if any change.
Then, I was presented with the challenge of helping to support my husband’s healing through Lyme Disease. We went the herbal, supplement, essential oil, and spiritual medicine route for healing this, and a large emphasis of the treatment is on supporting the body’s natural desire to heal.
To develop the healing support plan, which we’ll share in a future post, I needed some essential oils and I was forced to get over my ego, bite the bullet, and order some oils from an MLM.
I went with Young Living, and we’ve only had the oils a short time, and I’m surprised and happy to report that I LOVE THEM. Like, they are magical and have completely changed my mind on essential oils.
Butttt, you’re probably wondering what this all has to do with a Calendula Oil Infusion.
I’ll tell you.
Over the summer, I made a Calendula Oil Infusion, and the oil from that infusion is what I’ve been using to make all of my essential oil concoctions - from body oils, to pain relieving rubs, to glowing face oils.
Herbal infused oils are a fun idea and can be used to infuse the medicinal components of the herbs into the oil, but then you’re left with all this oil and no plan on what to do with it.
So, before creating an oil infusion - have a plan!
Or at least some basic idea of what you’d like to make. Salves, rollerballs of essential oils, body oils, lip balms, etc.
Why would you want to make an herbal infused oil?
For this post, we are focusing on a calendula oil infusion. Calendula is a great flower for topical application of skin conditions (see more in this post), and it is fairly easy to grow in your own garden. It’s a type of marigold and grows prolifically and abundantly with not much intervention by you.
An oil infusion is when you essentially make an herbal tea, but with some kind of carrier, plant oil (olive oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil, etc.) instead of water.
Then, you remove the herbs from the oil, and use the herbal infused oil in topical body preparations. An infusion gives you a way to translate some of the medicinal benefits from the herb into the oil.
With the herbal properties infused into the oil, you then you have a carrier through which to apply that medicine to the skin (the oil).
That’s why you’d want to do an oil infusion - if you want to apply herbal medicine to the skin in a way that isn’t a giant mess (like a poultice).
The medicinal benefit of an infusion is less that it would be using a more concentrated preparation, like a poultice, but it probably would be used more frequently. So, it’s debatable which is better. It’s just a different way of accessing the medicinal benefit of herbs.
You can also infuse crystal energy into the oil if you want to get even fancier. But, you’d want to be careful about the crystal and how it would do in an oil.
The big benefit of an oil infusion is that you can use the oil to make a multitude of different skin products once it’s made. In our house, we have used herbal infused oil to make:
Various body oils with added essential oils
As the carrier oil to fill/dilute essential oil rollerballs
Body and hand lotions
Just buy the containers you need, any additional supplies, and once the oil is done, you can get to crafting.
There are two ways to make an oil infusion:
- By letting the infusion sit in a sunny window for at least 3 weeks
- By heating the oil + herbs on very low heat for 2-4 hours
In this post, we’re going to be working with the Sun Method.
I’ve personally used both methods for doing infusions, and, while I know you might want to do the project right this moment, I highly recommend the Sun Method.
It’s gentler on the herbs, allows for slower infusion, and the sun helps to release the medicinal components into the herbs. Furthermore, this type of infusion allows solar healing energy to be a part of the product (try also a lunar infusion if you want to play around).
How to Make a Calendula Oil Sun Infusion
Makes about 1.25-1.5 cups oil
- Pint jar with lid
- 1 to 1.5 cups of carrier oil of choice. Enough to fill the pint jar with oil after you’ve added the herbs. (I used a mixture of Olive Oil and Almond Oil because that’s what I had on hand)
- Dried calendula flowers, about a cup, plus any additional herbs you might want to throw in.
- Labeling Tape
- Sunny window
- Fine mesh strainer
- Wooden spoon
This isn’t rocket science. Eyeball it. You want enough herbs to fill about ⅓-½ the jar, and enough oil to cover and fill the jar, not leaving much room at the top. (Air can spoil the oil). The great thing about this is that you can’t really mess it up.
1. Start with dried flowers & add them to your jar
If you’ve grown and dried your own flowers, use those. We did that and I threw in some other herbs I had on hand, just what I felt like at the time.
With your flowers/herbs and your jar, you’ll want to add enough plant material to fill the jar about ⅓ to ½ of the way full.
2. Add your oil
Next, fill your jar up with your plant oil of choice. Fill it to cover the herbs and as full as you can get it without being dangerously close to the top. Air spoils herbs. I used a combination of Olive and Almond oil for my most recent batch, but I’ve also used Grapeseed oil in the past. I would be careful of castor oil, because it’s insanely sticky (and can be an allergen). If you want to use that, just make sure to only use a small bit of castor oil with other oils.
3. Label it
Get out your tape and label your jar with what’s inside. You will NOT remember what you did 3+ weeks from now - so be sure to label what you put in there. Put a date on it too.
4. Place it in a sunny window
Find a sunny and warm spot in your house, and place the jar there, where it will live for the next 3+ weeks. When you feel like it or think of it, pick the jar up and invert it a few times to mix up the herbs and the oil. Say nice things to it. Admire it. Look at it lovingly. Put good energy into it.
Let it sit in the sunny spot for at least 3 weeks, though it can go longer. I let my last batch sit for about 6-8 weeks because I kept procrastinating the next step (like it would be hard for some reason?).
5. Strain out the plant material
After your oil has had some time for the sun infusion to take place, it’s time to remove the flowers from the oil so that you may use it in your creative, witchy pursuits.
To do this, grab your jar, grab a fine mesh strainer (I have this set), and grab a big ceramic or glass bowl, or large glass measuring cup.
Place the fine mesh strainer over your bowl, then pour your oil infusion into the bowl through the strainer. Using a spoon to scrape out any extra oil or plant material.
You’ll be left with a heap of flowers in the strainer and your oil in the bowl beneath it. Grab a spoon (wooden, if possible), and press down on the flowers to release any additional oil.
Then, transfer your oil back to the original container.
It’s okay if you have fine herb particles in your oil, that’s to be expected. If this bothers you, you can strain it again through an even finer strainer. But, it’s not necessary.
6. Use the oil!
Now that you’ve completed your oil infusion, it’s time to use it! Earlier in the post, I shared with you the ways in which I use the oil in skin and body preparations. Right now, my favorite usage is in essential oil rollerball bottles.
My current favorite recipe is my Glowing Skin Roller!
In a 10ml Rollerball Bottle (I use these), add 5 Drops each of: