There is something beautiful in the alchemy behind taking pure ingredients and making luxurious, healing products. These herbal infusions can be wild crafted by you very economically, using plants growing in your own garden. The oils can be applied directly to skin, or you can use them as an ingredient in salves, lotions & soap making.
My lavender/rose hip infused oil is my go to remedy to alleviate the pain and swelling on my leg from an old injury. The oil gives soothing relief, and comfort and increases the blood circulation in that area minimizing the appearance of a varicose vein that has made an appearance.
There are many good carrier oils to choose from. Here are a few of my favourites for skincare.
Organic Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis)
Try to make sure that what you’re buying is 100% cold pressed (unrefined) and organic. Jojoba oil contains unique liquid waxes and fatty acids that nourish the skin. It is excellent combined with other skin care oils, adding balance and fortifying the benefits provided.
Organic Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus amygdalus dulcis)
Try to make sure that what you’re buying is 100% cold pressed (unrefined) and organic. Sweet Almond Oil is a natural source of skin-nourishing fatty acids and lipids. It has a rich, skin nurturing consistency that provides a nice glide during massage. It is excellent for bath and after-shower applications, and especially appropriate for dry-skin care.
Many herbs can be grown in your garden. If you don’t have access to fresh herbs, You can try working with dried herbs dried or essential oils.
Lavender – One of the best known healing oils, with a chemically complex structure. The botanical name Lavandula, comes from Latin lavare, which means “to wash.”. It’s topical properties are well known for being; anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-depressant, antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, analgesic, calmative, detoxifier, hypotensive, and sedative.
Echinacea – Also knows as purple cone flower. Known to herbalists as one of the most powerful immune boosters available. The botanical name Echinacea comes from Greek ekhinos, meaning “hedgehog” due to the spiny central disk. It’s topical properties are well known for being; anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal.
Rose hip – The rose hip, also known as rose haw or rose hep, is the fruit of the rose plant. There are many varieties. The plant is high in antioxidants and is commonly used for eczema, dermatitis, sunburn, moisturizing mature skin and healing scars. The Botanical name R. Canaina is derived from the common name ‘dog rose’ its use is traced back to ancient Greece. It’s topical properties are well know for being; astringent, anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, cleansing, anti-depressant.
Mint – Commonly used to relieve headaches, muscle aches, cool inflamed joints, nasal congestion, mosquito repellent & Menstrual pain. The botanical name Mentha Piperita comes from Greek piperita meaning “peppery,” which distinguishes peppermint from other forms of mint. It’s topical properties are well known for being; astringent, anti-viral, anti-fungal, stimulating, anti-septic, anti-nausea, relaxes peripheral blood vessels,
Sage – Renowned for its natural disinfectant and deodorizing properties. Excellent for eliminating body odor and well knows for it’s capacity to heal the skin. Useful for healing insect bites and wounds. The botanical name Salvia comes from Salvare which means “to cure” in Latin. It’s topical properties are well known for being; anti-septic, astringent, Relaxing, antiperspirant, anti-bacterial, estrogenic.
Rose Petals – Rose petals infused in oil release a gentle feminine scent, not at all overpowering. A true rose essential oil can cost a small fortune, but you can extract some of the benefits from the roses in your own oil diffusion. Be sure to use organic rose petals that have not been sprayed or treated with chemicals. The botanical name will vary across rose species. We have an abundance of Rosa Rugosa so we use that for all of our culinary and medicinal infusions. It’s topical proprieties are know for: Antimicrobial, Relaxation & Heightened Libido, and can be used as part of a program for treating depression.
Note: you can create infusions with dandelions, lilacs, hibiscus and many other organic herbal items. If you make soap, herbal infused oils are a really nice way to elevate and add more depth to the scents of your product.
Wash and dry fresh herbs. You can also use dried herbs.
Lightly bruise the herbs to release the fragrance. A Mortar and Pestle works great.
Add the herbs to your choice of oil. We use 2-3Tbsp of herbs per 1 cup of oil but there is no hard rule.
Leave in a cool dark place for two or three weeks. Stir daily and inspect for mould. It is important that you keep all of the plant material submerged.
Note: For a stronger scent you can simply do a second round of infusion. Strain the mixture, discard the old herbs/petals and then add fresh material to the oil for a second round of infusion.
Herb infused oils will keep for several months (I have many that are six months old). They will keep longer when stored in a cool dark place or the refrigerator. Just be sure to label them if you stick them in the fridge.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, breast feeding or have health conditions, use caution and get advice from a professional herbalist before using herbs/essential oils.