Making & Using Herbal Infused Oils: Calendula & Olive Oil

Posted on May 27, 2013 in Blog, DIY Beauty, Recipes | 6 comments

Making & Using Herbal Infused Oils: Calendula & Olive Oil

In the process of brainstorming for a new line of homemade skincare products that I’m planning to make and sell on Etsy (stay tuned!) I’ve been experimenting with making homemade herbal infused oils. Herbal infused oils are, as the name suggests, oils that have been steeped with herbs for a period of time until the oil takes on some of the properties of that herb. Herbal infused oils make a wonderful addition to homemade salves, ointments, lotions, and other body care products. They can also be incorporated into massage oils, homemade soaps, or added to a hot bath.

Herbs with high levels of volatile oils (i.e. lavender, rosemary, peppermint, chamomile, pine, etc.) OR high level of fat-soluble components (i.e. calendula, mullein, comfrey, plantain, etc.) lend themselves well to making herbal infused oils.

Flickr Photo Credit: http://flic.kr/p/bZuXsj

Flickr Photo Credit: Juan Eduardo Andres

Calendula

Since I’ve been wanting to incorporate calendula into my own skincare regimen I decided to start there with my experimentation. If you’re not familiar with this wonder plant, check this out:

“Calendula has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, antifungal, antiviral, and immunostimulant properties making it useful for disinfecting and treating minor wounds, conjunctivitis, cuts, scrapes, chapped or chafed  skin, bruises, burns, athlete’s foot, acne, yeast infections, bee stings, diaper rashes, and other minor irritations and infections of the skin.” -Mountain Rose Blog

Reading this, I’m left to wonder: What can’t calendula do?

That said, I hit up my local apothecary for some dried calendula petals and then my trusty kitchen cabinet for a recycled glass jar and some olive oil and I was ready to make calendula infused oil.

Calendula Infused Oil - CreativeSimpleLife.com

Choosing An Oil

I recommend choosing the oil for your infusion based on your final plans for your herbal oil. While I’ve read that olive oil is great for salves and ointments and almond oil is lovely for lip balms and oil-based skin moisturizers, I would advise you to use what you like. If this process is new to you, try deciding first what you’ll do with your herbal oil when it’s finished (see end of article for ideas), find a recipe, and then choose your oil, herbs, and method from there. I chose to infuse my calendula petals in olive oil and hope to make a calendula salve with it when it is finished.

Choosing an Infusion Method

There are a few different ways to make herbal infused oils. Choose a method based on the type of herb you are using and whether you are using fresh or dried herbs. I recommend doing some quick Google research to see which method best suits your herb and oil of choice. Below is a brief overview of your herb-infusion options. I decided to go with a cold-infusion process for my calendula petals.

1. Cold-infused Herbal Oil: The cold-infusion method is simple. Here are the basic steps.

Step 1: Fill a glass jar halfway with herbs.
Step 2: Pour oil over herbs, covering by at least an inch.
Step 3: Stir with chopstick or knife to release air bubbles.
Step 4: Shake daily for 2 to 8 weeks.
Step 5: Strain herbs through cheesecloth and store herb-infused oil for use!

2. Sun-infused Herbal Oil: To make solar, or sun-infused herbal oil, start by following the directions above for cold-infused herbal oil. The only difference with this method is that you will place your steeping herbs on a sunny counter or windowsill while they are infusing to allow the warmth of the sun to assist in the process. Some folks choose to place their jar inside a paper bag to prevent damage to the herbs or oil from the sun’s UV rays.

3.  Heat-infused Herbal Oil: With this quick method you can make herbal infused oils in one afternoon. Basically, you combine the herbs and oil in a double boiler, crock pot, or electric yogurt maker and heat slowly over low heat (100°-140°) for 2 to 5 hours, then strain and you are done!

To learn more about each of the above methods, use the title links provided!

Using Your Herbal Infused Oil

Once you’ve made your herbal infused oil, you’ll probably want to use it. But how? Great question!

Below are some fun recipes & uses for homemade herbal infused oils to get you started!

DIY Herbal Salves

Calendula Salve & Calendula Lip Balm

Comfrey Salve, St. John’s Wort Cold Sore Balm,  & Rosemary Massage Oil

Herbal Infused Baby Oil

This great list of medicinal herbal oils has recipes and instructions based on what herb you are using!

Pre-Made Salve

If you’re not in the mood to make your own calendula salve, check out the Chamomile & Calendula Herbal Healing Salve at our Etsy Store!

chamomile calendula salve

Chamomile & Calendula Herbal Healing Salve from the Creative Simple Life Etsy Store

Get Started

6 Comments

  1. I’ve been wanting to make a calendula healing salve or lotion for my daughter’s eczema. I ordered some calendula tea (just dried petals) because it was so much cheaper than ordering from the herbal suppliers. You think I can make the infusion with that?

    • Sure!

    • So much depends on the source of your herb. You really have not way of knowing ( unless the supplier dates their tea ) how old the tea is. It is important, especially if you are trying to help a medical condition, that you use the BEST possible herb possible. It is best to grow your own, but if that is not possible, then see if there is a local source of calendula. I have been working with calendula for years and make both salves and tinctures. I have been growing my own for the past 5 years and the difference is unbelievable. If the calendula tea is bright colored and smells good, then you might be lucky. But if it is pale and does not have much of a smell, then chances are slim that it will be very medicinal. You get what you pay for! Good luck though, nothing more rewarding than making a product that makes someone feel better, especially your own family. Comfrey, plantain and chamomile are also great herbs to use in a formula for any skin issue.

  2. This is great! Kyle and I are thinking about buying a house that has a huge gardening space, so I’ve been thinking about growing some Calendula next year for homemade baby products! I’ll remember this if that dream comes true. : )

  3. I was planning to do calendula and chamomile infused coconut oil as one ingredient in baby lotion. That should work fine, right?

    • That should work well. The only thing to consider is that coconut oil is solid below 75°F and this may make infusion tricky.

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