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.
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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
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