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Oil infusion at home is relatively simple and a great way to customize the scents or flavours that you can use both in recipes and for aromatherapy or skin care.

The infused oils can be added to recipes, heated over a tealight candle or absorbed by bottled reeds to have an aromatherapeutic effect in your home, rubbed on dry skin or rhinoceros elbows, used as a restorative hair treatment or added to a hot bath to combine aromatic steam, soothing heat for sore muscles and smooth, clean skin.

You will need an oil to use as a base, dried herbs or other scents and/or flavourings, a mason jar, a pot or double boiler, cheesecloth or coffee filter.

Step 1: Choosing Ingredients

A good base oil depends on the intended use but you should focus on texture, heat tolerance and palatability if you're planning on consuming it.

You can use almost any oil, adding more essential oils for scent or fresh or dried herbs for flavour - but remember that the natural makeup of the oil will be combined with the other ingredients, not simply masked. If you hate the smell or taste of [for example; olive oil] just don't use it.


A little about the ingredients I chose for this instructable:

BASIL is high in vitamin A and beta carotene, reduces inflammation and fever, is a fungicidal and soothes headaches.

CINNAMON is an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic and improves circulation.

CLOVES are anti-fungal and anti-septic and due to a high concentration of eugenol are a highly effective analgesic optimized for oral pain.

GRAPESEED OIL is relatively light or mild in scent, flavour and texture and as such makes a good medium for edible oils.

LAVENDER can assist in the treatment of anxiety, tension and is also a sleep aid.

MINERAL OIL is colourless and odourless (although often sold with scent added) however it is poorly biodegradable and not recommended for consumption and as such is not the best choice for infusion (it's better suited for the purpose of demonstration.)

OLIVE OIL is not only a common recipe ingredient but good for the skin and hair - it has been used for centuries in this way and is a very versatile choice for a scented/flavoured oil base.

ORANGE is astringent, full of vitamin C and the fruity scent or flavour tends to be rather invigorating.

PEPPERMINT reduces stress, is anti-spasmodic and pleasantly aromatic.

ROSEMARY is antioxidant, antiseptic and analgesic, stimulates blood flow, works to reduce fever and is good for the skin.

EUCALYPTUS is antiseptic, decongestant and an effective insect repellent.

YLANG YLANG is relaxing due to the sweet and unique floral scent it imparts.

Step 2: Combining Them

Either in a small dish or mason jar, mix your chosen ingredients into the base oil and ensure that they are well-saturated.

Step 3: Seal Tightly

In a mason jar, combine your ingredients and seal the lid tightly.

Step 4: Heat

In a double boiler or slowly simmering in an inch of water, heat your jarred oil for approximately one hour on low on the stovetop. Watch for a colour change and for condensation inside the jar.

Note: You should use a rack (not pictured) to protect your glass jars, especially if you are not using a double boiler. Thanks for the reminder Myrrhmaid!

For a stronger infusion, leave your oil in a sunny window for two weeks (shaking every few days.)

Step 5: Strain and Save

Once cooled, strain your oils through a cheesecloth, coffee filter or fine strainer.

Set aside and save for later use.

Step 6: Making Good Use

The oils can now be added to recipes, heated over a tealight candle or absorbed by bottled reeds to have an aromatherapeutic effect in your home, rubbed on dry skin or rhinoceros elbows, used as a restorative hair treatment or added to a hot bath to combine aromatic steam, soothing heat for sore muscles and smooth, clean skin.

Many of the herbal ingredients can be infused into a tea that can also be added to baths or used as a tonic in hot compresses. - Home Reme-Teas
Great Instructable! Thanks! I want to try this! Just a FYI,... Be sure and put the jars on a rack in the pan or they can break when they heat on the flat bottom. OXO
Thank-you! Yes, a rack is very important (I've made a note in the 'ible) - I was using a double boiler for this and overlooked it. Cheers!
Olive oil also degrades with exposure to sunlight. That is why it is sold in colored/tinted glass or plastic bottles. I also like to store my essential oil combinations in 2-4 oz aluminum spray bottles. They are protected from sunlight, are in a unbreakable container & convenient to dispense into the air, in my hair, on my skin or in a tissue for me to breathe in the aroma like for when I have a migraine. They don't leach chemicals like plastic & are inexpensive too. Jojoba oil happens to be my favorite carrier oil. I have never heated anything though! Now I want to try it!
<p>Hi, thanks for sharing this very clear presentation! May I just add that the cells which contain the essential oils, burst at 150&deg;F or 65&deg;C, so I make infused oil using a thermometer to check when this is attained. I also use dark jars to store the oil as the therapeutic quality of EOs and thus infused oils degrades on exposure to light. Similarly, if you are using the sunlight method to infuse the oil, use a dark jar, which will both absorb heat and protect from light. I am adding your Instructable to a new collection I'm setting up: Self-sufficiency - Homesteading - Organic. All the very best, Pavlovafowl aka Sue</p>
<p>I second using dark glass (amber or cobalt) vials for the final product. My mom is an aromatherapist and said dark glass is something to look for in a quality oil, as it will keep the oils' properties from degrading.</p>
Thanks for your additional advice! When you said you check the temperature, how do you do so if using the Mason jars? I'm a beginner.
<p>When I do it, I don't actually seal the jars - in fact I just use an old jam jar, that way I can check with my thermometer. It's really difficult to evaluate the temperature inside a sealed jar because of the conduction through the glass and the time needed to maintain the temperature of the water. I think you would have to do some experiments, just with an open jar with a bath maintained at 150&deg;F and see when the inside of the jar reaches the temperature. I make oils for therapeutic use so I am sort of really keen on obtaining an optimum strength infused oil. Hence, also I keep mine in dark jars to, to preserve that. Everything is about experimenting though and it's always such fun making your own stuff - I am experimenting making organic perfume and makeup at the moment. All the best, Sue</p>
Thank you. I want to do this as well.

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