More on Ingesting Dried Herbs or plants

A bit more in Ingesting Herbs and or Plants, Oil Infusions, salves etc.

Oil Infusions

The hot and cold infusion methods outlined below are used to infuse herbs into oil. For cold extractions in oil, cold actually means at room temperature. This method takes time. It takes 6 to 8 weeks to infuse herbs into a carrier oil using only time. The “hot” method is actually a “warm” method of extracting herbs into a carrier oil. Some herbs need the heat to extract and this method also shortens the amount of time needed if you need the remedy sooner. Be careful not to boil or overheat the oil, as this alters the chemical compounds of the herbal properties you are extracting.

Carrier Oils and “Cold” & “Hot” Infusions:
To cold-infuse oil use only dried herbs to start (with a few exceptions), as moisture can make your oil turn rancid or mold. Many carrier oils will work. I prefer organic olive oil as it is temperature stable, well-priced, and works well for salve-making. It is important to purchase organic oils from somewhere with strict labeling laws (like California). Other good carrier oils are sweet almond oil, coconut oil (although it changes consistency with temperature), jojoba oil, baobab oil, tamanu oil, castor oil, grapeseed oil, argan oil, avocado oil, apricot kernel oil, emu oil, and many more. Rendered fat or tallow, like bear fat, can also be used.

“Cold” Oil Infusion:
1. Tear or crush the dried herbs then lightly pack into a clean, sterilized glass jar. Fill a glass jar 1/3rd full with dried herb (for some herbs, like cottonwood buds, I fill it well over half-full).
2. Pour your high-quality organic olive oil (or other natural plant oil) over the herbs. Fill to within ½ inch of the top with your carrier oil. Mix well, removing all air bubbles. Cap and label with herb and date.
3. Store your jar for 6 to 8 weeks. Make sure you don’t go longer than 8 to 10 weeks or your oil may go rancid (cottonwood buds are an exception to this). I often kickstart certain herbs with a little heat by placing my glass jars in a water bath on low (see warm infusions below) for a day or two and then storing for 6 to 8 weeks.
4. After 6 to 8 weeks strain out the herbs using cheesecloth or a tincture press. Squeeze the cheesecloth to get all of the herbal oil out. Pour into a clean, sterile bottle or jar. This oil can be used directly for medicine or for making salves. Lasts about 1 to 2 years.

“Hot” Oil Infusion:

To infuse oils using heat use a crock pot that has a “warm” or very low setting or use a water bath on low on the stovetop. This works well for infusing several oils at once.

1. Tear or crush the dried herbs then lightly pack into a clean, sterilized glass jar. Fill a glass jar 1/3rd full with dried herb (for some herbs, like cottonwood buds or Usnea, I fill it over half-full).
Photo taken by Nicole Apelian
The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies
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2. Pour your high-quality organic olive oil (or other natural plant oil) over the herbs. Fill to within ½ inch of the top with your carrier oil. Mix well, removing all air bubbles. Cap and label with herb and date.

3. Place your glass jars in the crock pot and cook on low for 4 to 7 days, depending on the herb, making sure the water in your water bath/crock pot stays
full. If you are using fresh herbs leave the caps off the jars letting the moisture evaporate out and make sure no water gets in from your water bath.

4. Once cooled, strain herbs using cheesecloth or a tincture press. Pour into a clean, sterile bottle or jar. This oil can be used directly for medicine or for making salves. Lasts about 1 to 2 years.

Salves

Salves are a useful way of applying herbs to the skin. They are useful for treating burns, rashes, skin irritations, bites, wounds, eczema, sore muscles, arthritis, nerve pain, and more. Turning herbal oil infusions into salves provides a good way to apply herbs and to take them with you when not at home.
In order to make a salve, you have to already have turned the herbs into an infused oil (see above). You may also use the “fast method” below:
The quickest method for making herbal salves combines the infusion and salve-mixing steps into one. It uses a lot of dried herb. Combine your herbs and enough oil to cover the herbs in the top of a double-boiler being sure there is water in the bottom half of your double boiler. Simmer for a few hours (don’t overheat – about 100 degrees). Stir, cool slightly, and strain through cheesecloth. Pour back into your double-boiler and add melted beeswax (about 1/4 cup to 1/5 cup per cup of oil) to the oil. Then add 15 to 20 drops or more of each of your essential oils for every 8 oz of oil. Vitamin E can be added to help rancidity. Mix well, pour into containers, and let set.
To make a simple salve out of your infused oil and beeswax:
1. Measure and pour your infused oil(s) into the top part of a double boiler.
2. Add beeswax and melt. I usually use a 1 part beeswax to 4 parts infused oil mixture and common usage is 1/4 cup to 1/5 cup per cup of oil. For 8 oz of oil I use 2 oz of beeswax.
3. Mix together thoroughly until the beeswax has melted.
4. Add 15 to 20 drops or more of each of your essential oils for every 8 oz of infused oil. Vitamin E can be added to help rancidity (1/2 tsp for 16 oz oil). Add essential oils just before pouring.
5. Before you pour into your containers (jars/tins) to set you may add just a few drops to your container
to test the consistency. If it’s too hard add more oil and if it’s too soft add more beeswax. Then complete pouring, label, and date.

Conclusion

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This article is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice and treatment from your personal physician. Readers are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither the publisher nor the author takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person reading or following the information in this book. All readers, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition or supplement program.