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Why choosing herbal infused oil over essential oils

As a certified Aromatherapist, essential oils are a part of my daily life – well almost. From treating minor skin problems to aches and emotional imbalance, there are more than a handful of oils I ‘meet’ regularly and treasure like they were my friends to console, heal, energise and cheer.

But I also know sometimes the simplest forms of herbal application can do so much, and though essential oils always seem so convenient, there are some good reasons why infused oils may be a better option for everyday use.

Here are why:

1. Infused oils are milder

Remember, essential oils were historically used to treat diseases hence called aromatherapy. With a topical application (such as massage oil blend), essential oils are directly absorbed into the bloodstream and the unique combination of constituents interact with the body’s chemistry affecting certain organs or body system. That is why there are a lot of contraindications and utmost care to be taken when using aromatherapy.  On the other hand, infused oils, though capture large constituents of each plant, almost never cause any irritation unless of course you are allergic to a specific herb.

2. Infused oils capture larger constituents

There are some studies showing infused oil captures constituents that aren’t found in the essential oil, and this appears to be accurate if we understand only small amounts of essential oil are generally present in the plant at any one time. Infused oils, therefore, offer a broader spectrum of applications.

3. Environmental impact

As explained in point 2, only small amounts of essential oils are present in the plant hence the production of essential oils takes a massive amount of plant materials and that is why generally essential oils are expensive. The rose and lavender fields in the world would not be able to fulfil the needs of the commercial demand alone.

How to make slow sun & moon infusion oil

There are several ways to make a herbal infusion (the quickest way to do it in another blog read here) but I gathered the best result is made from this slow method. This method is the simplest of all other methods but it requires more time (4-6 weeks!), and there are some simple tricks to make the oil potent and beautiful.

Before we dive in, I recommend you plan to infuse the oil according to the moon’s waxing and waning cycle. Traditionally tinctures have been made on the new moon and strained on the following full moon so that the energy of the moon can draw out the properties of the herbs.

You will also find a spot with bright windowsills to place the jar during the day time, you will want to incorporate the energy of the sun into your oil too.

What base oil and herbs to chose

The options are endless; you can choose 1 type of vegetable oil or herb, or blend several of each. The choice is entirely yours but I would highlight the importance of the quality of your ingredient as always. It is always best to use seasonal local item that are organic. If you already know what you are going to use the infused oil for, then the process of selecting the ingredients may be a little easier as you start thinking about the efficacy and property.

Ingredients

80% Rice bran oil (preferably organic)

20% Coconut oil (preferably extra virgin organic)

Dried herbs: Lemongrass, Yellow ginger and Kaffier lime leaf*

*You can use fresh herbs but the shelf-life would be much shorter and extra care must be taken to decrease the chance of growth of mold or bacteria. So I usually dry the herbs under the sun or dehydrator or oven.

Equipment

Sterilised, dry glass jar with a tight-fitting lid
Cheesecloth
Funnel

Directions

Infusing process

  • Sterilize the container and all equipment. See the basic steps here:
  • Wash, chop or grind the herbs. Make sure they are completely dry.
  • Once your herbs and oils are combined in the jar and sealed, place the jar in a sunny windowsill or directly in the sunlight. If you are following the moon’s cycle, then until the following full moon otherwise between 4-6 weeks.
  • Every 1-3 days, roll the jar in your hands to help mix the contents and release the herbal constituents into the oil.

Extracting process

  • Fit cheesecloth around the rim of a glass pitcher or a large container.
  • Squeeze the mixture until the very last drop using the cheesecloth.
  • Pour the strained liquid into clean, dark glass bottles using a funnel.
  • Label the herb and date of extraction. Usually infused oils using dry herbs will last a year or longer.

How to use the oil

Massage oils (body and face),  mix with cream, lotion or balm.

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