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Sometimes you are in a pinch and you need herbal infused oils right away! While in a perfect world I would make my oils and let them sit for at least 3 months before straining and using them, time isn’t always so friendly. Especially if you discover that all your current oils have gone rancid (like I did two days ago). I am so grateful for the many sunscreen orders that are rolling in, but that means I need herbal infused oils now! I don’t have the luxury of time in this particular matter, so what’s a herbalist to do?

 

Break out the slow cooker, that’s what!

 

Now I must stipulate – this trick shouldn’t be your go-to method for making herbal infused oils. Not to be a herbal snob, but the slow passage of time is definitely a better method. However this is perfectly acceptable especially when time is a factor.

What You Need

  • slow cooker or crockpot
  • mason jars
  • carrier oil (almond, apricot kernel, olive etc)
  • dried herbs

 

Side Note: I was taught that using fresh herbs is better for making infused oils. While I do agree that their medicine is more potent, the headache of decanting all the water off makes it completely not worth it for me. If you miss even a drop of water (which is very easy to do) you risk your entire batch going rancid and quickly. It is for that reason that I save my fresh herbs for tinctures and used dried (or mostly dried) for infused oils.

Herbal Oils

What To Do

  • Fill your mason jar with your herb of choice
    • Popular herbs to infuse include:
      • calendula
      • lavender
      • plantain
      • chickweed
      • mullein
      • arnica
      • st johns wort
    • There are two thoughts on filling your jars. Some folks just say fill it to the top. But if you require a more precise ratio (for example if you are product making for resale), the following numbers may be helpful for you. I make my infused oils in a 1:7 ratio and use the following numbers. Please note that this chart can be used interchangeably for tinctures or infused oil preparations.

 

1 to 7 ratio chart

  • Next fill your jar with your carrier oil of choice. Give it some time to settle and then top off your jar if all your herbs aren’t covered
  • Secure your lid well
  • Line the bottom of your crock with washcloths or a tea towel (this is to avoid the jars directly touching the crockpot and it helps to stabilize them)
  • Place your jars in making sure they are flat and stable as you do
  • Fill your slow cooker about 3/4 of the way full of water
  • Set the temperature to low or warm depending on if you slow cooker runs hot (mine does and low boils the water)
    • Resist the temptation to set the temperature to high! Oils like olive are not high heat stable and will go rancid at those heats. Faster is not better in this case.
  • Ideally you will want to leave your oils for 6-8 hours minimum
  • Once the jars are cool to the touch you can strain your herb material and begin your product making

 

There you have it folks. Making herbal infused oils when you are in a pinch! I hope this helps.

 

Peace and love,

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