Hot and cold infused oils have proven quite an effective remedy for treating ailments ranging from arthritic pain to sunburn. It is the active plant ingredients that are extracted in the oil that makes great external treatments, including massage oils, ointments, and creams. When making infused oil, you should know that they will last up to a year if they are kept in a cool, dark place, which elevates its usefulness. The oils are quite potent when used fresh, so it is best to make small amounts to reap the most out of your remedies.
There are two different techniques involved in created infused oils: hot and cold. The hot method is best when working with leafy herbs, such as comfrey, stinging nettle, chickweed, and rosemary. When making hot infused oils, you will use the aerial parts and dried leaves of a plant. Usually 250 grams of dried herb for every 500 milliliters of sunflower oil is acceptable. The equipment needed to make the oil is a glass bowl, saucepan (or double boiler), muslin bag (or jelly bag), winepress, large jug, funnel, and dark glass storage bottles (sterilized with airtight seals).
First, you will place the oil and your chosen herb in a glass bowl that is situated over a pan of simmering water. A double boiler also works well for this process. The ingredients are then gently heated for about three hours. After three hours has passed, you will strain the mixture through a muslin bag that is fitted to a winepress. The contents should fall into a jug. Lastly, you will pour the oil into storage bottles, using a funnel to make the process easier and less messy. When storing, remember to set the bottles in a cool place that does not come in contact with direct sunlight.
Herbs to consider for the creation of hot infused oils include bladderwrack (for arthritic pain); chickweed (for irritating eczema); cleavers (for psoriasis); comfrey (for bruises, sprains, and osteoarthritis); stinging nettle (for eczema and allergic skin rashes and other irritations); and rosemary (for aches and pains).
Cold infused oils work well with flowers (like pot marigold) and involve a slow process where the flowers and oil are packed into a jar that is left alone for several weeks. Usually, cold infused oils are set aside for the creation of massage oils or are used as the foundation for creams and ointments. It is the aerial parts and the flowers (fresh or dried) that are used to make cold infused oils. Required equipment includes a large, glass jar with screw-top, jelly bag, string (or muslin bag and winepress), large jug, funnel, and dark glass storage bottles.
To create cold infused oils, pack a large jar with the herb of your choice and then completely cover the parts with oil. Out the lid on the ingredients and leave the contents on a sunny windowsill or in a greenhouse for about two to three weeks. After the weeks have passed, pour the mixture into a jelly and that is fitted with a string (or elastic band) to the rim of a jug. You may also use a muslin bag and a winepress. Next, squeeze the oil through the bag. After a few weeks, you should strain once more, pouring the results into storage bottles, using a funnel to transfer the mixture.
When making cold infused herbs, there are certain plants that help create better remedies than others. Dried melilot works against varicose eczema; fresh or dried pot marigold petals battle scrapes, dry eczema, and fungal infections (like athlete’s foot); and the fresh flowering tops of St. John’s wort combats minor burns, sunburn, inflamed joints, and scratches.