My dear nature people,
I have done so many macerations until now, that it was about time to write this post. You’ll see that making your own macerated oils is very simple and is a very welcome know-how at your household 🙂 You can use them as massage oils, put them in your baths or as a vital and healing ingredients in home made cosmetics. Read on to learn how to do that 🙂
So what exactly are the macerated and carrier oils?
A macerated oil is when you infuse the dried or fresh herb(s) into carrier oil and the herbs healing properties get extracted into the oil. Carrier oils can be Sunflower (Helianthus annuus), Olive (Olea europaea), Sweet Almond (Prunus amygdalus dulcis), Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) and many other oils. I like to use sunflower and sweet almond, since they don’t have a strong scent themselves and as such, the scent of dried herbs and flowers gets better extraction.
Why do we make the macerated oils?
As mentioned in the preface, these oils can be used alone for the application on your skin, and are very important in the natural skin care products (creams, balms, butters, lip balms etc.). They especially come in handy if your skin is over sensitive and you can’t use the usual cosmetics brands.
Which macerated oils can I make?
You can make pretty much everything that has a positive, and healing impact on your health and well being. You can either purchase the herbs at health stores or harvest them yourself; just make sure you have the right ones.
I’ve made Calendula macerated oils most often, as I am making the Healing Calendula body butter and Calendula kiss lip balm, Lavender oil that is a vital ingredient in my Rich Lavender body balm and bath salts, St. John’s Wort oil for the amazingly healing properties of irritated skin, Rosemary oil, Mullein oil and Norway spruce oil that I am making today.
How to make a macerated oil?
There are several methods of how one can make a macerated oil. I mainly use the “heat method”. That is placing the bowl over a pan with hot water (called bain-maire) and heat it very gently for three hours. Pay attention to the water in the pan, as it can evaporate after a while and you really don’t want to cook your herbs. That is also the reason why it is so important to not over heat the macerations, as herbs can loose their medicinal properties. The ratio of dried herb and oil that I am using is 1:5; for instance, 100g of dried herb and 500ml of the oil.
1. Measure the oil and herb quantities.
2. Place the dried herb into the bowl and pour the oil over it.
3. Place the bowl over the pan with water and cover it with the lid. Gently heat for about three hours.
4. Strain the oil through a muslin cloth and let the oil drip until it gets colder when you can squeeze some of the oil additionally. Don’t do it while it’s hot as you can get burns (trust me 🙂
5. Pour the oil into the sterilised dark glass bottle and label it with the name, date and the quantity. It’s better to pour into the dark bottle, but if you don’t have one, just make sure to place the bottle into somewhere dark. I know you think you won’t forget what you have in here or at least when you did it, but believe me when I say that these things do get out of our minds if we don’t use them every day 🙂
The above photos from the process are with the Calendula (Calendula officinalis) and this amazing herb is my absolute favourite as it helps to treat the dermatitis, irritated skin, dry skin as well as skin after sunburn, scars and eczema. Its actions are antibacterial, astringent, antifungal and anti-inflammatory. All in all, absolutely amazing for anyone who has ever experienced dry skin, dermatitis and even allergic reactions to skin care products. It has really helped me and I adore everything about this herb: its healing properties, how it looks, the amazing smell and its powerful colour and strength it’s given me 🙂 This is me, hugging the bag of dried Calendula as I was excited over the rooftop after buying 1kg of the dried Calendula 🙂
The next oil that I’ve made with the heat and the sun method was St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). This amazing healing herb has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, analgesic, astringent and sedative properties. It is often referred to as the “first aid herb” due to its healing properties, calming down the irritated skin, heal sunburn. But it can do so much more, both internally and externally. Internally it can help you with stomach issues and for depression and externally you can apply it to areas of rheumatism and arthritis. Not to mention that as a dried herb you can drink this one as a tea to calm you down; internally is mainly known for helping to heal with the above mentioned depression, anxiety and calming down your nerves. Amazingly versatile 🙂 On the next photo is this versatile medicinal herb macerated in the oil, using heat method.
Next one is Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) oil. Lavender has antibacterial, analgesic, antiseptic and antidepressant properties. Do not confuse the macerated Lavender oil with the Essential oil. Essential oils are highly concentrated and their scent is very strong; they also can’t be applied directly on your skin, but rather need to be diluted in carrier oils firstly. I often prefer the macerated oils over essentials as it just seems more natural and just really real to me. It’s like holding the herbs and smelling their every bit 🙂 Of course I do use essential oils in my skin care products, but I am also using these macerated oils.
Two days ago I made this Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) macerated oil for my partner, who is currently suffering from joint pain. This aromatic herb has many properties, including but not limited to antiseptic, diuretic, antispasmodic and antidepressive. How can you remain in bad mood once you smell this Mediterranean herb? 🙂 Rosemary enhances circulation and as such, helps to relieve pain in joints and muscles. I added it to bath and made a massage oil 🙂
Today I made the macerated oil from Norway spruce, aka the Christmas tree branches. I separated the needles from branches and since I’ve been experimenting with macerated oils a lot lately, I figured I can make so much more of this amazing tree than just compost it. I will add the infused oil in baths for it stimulates the circulation and as such, it helps with aching joints and muscles. You can also inhale it or simply dab it onto the candle diffuser and it will refresh your home as well as help to heal, open up and clear your lungs 🙂 I know my hands on this photo look dirty, but the scent is absolutely amazing! I just love it when I can make so many creations with just one “thing”; this tree branch was lying on the forest ground when I picked it up to decorate my home with it at Christmas time, now I’m making the oil with its help and the branches are going to be composted. Just really love it when I can make so much good with one tree brunch 🙂
The second method is the so-called “sun method”. Meaning that you expose the dried herbs, infused in oils, to the sun light. I did so, while being at the sea side in Croatia where the sun is really strong which is very important in order to get the best out of the herbs. You can leave them from two and up to six weeks on the sun, depending on your needs (just watch out for the mold). It’s also good to give them a shake every day or so all the healing beauties are extracted from the amazing herbs.
With this method I made Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) oil, which is great for various things, including ear infections, wounds, piles and eczema. It has mild diuretic, sedative and anti-inflammatory properties. The other oil on the sun was of course Calendula; I put one jar on the sun for two weeks and the other jar for six weeks. The second jar was so much stronger! The third oil on my terrace in lovely Croatia was St. John’s Wort oil. The main difference in this one and the other extracted with heat method, was that the St John’s Wort macerated oil on the sun had much much stronger and sharper scent. And here’s a photo of these oils, sun bathing 🙂
And these are all the oils I currently have at home. I am so looking forward to making more and more of these amazingly healing oils with pure scents of nature 🙂
And for the end, daily from my colourful Tea Christmas tree 🙂 I publish these on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts every day 🙂 WorldNaturelle online store is currently under construction, but you’ll soon be able to order 🙂
Due to many questions I receive, I am now offering a free session – since this article I’ve became a super passionate Herbalist, Life Coach and Healthy Foodie and would love to chat with you! It can be about this article, any questions you may have, about food, herbalism or life coaching 🙂 You can book your session here. Yay, I’m really excited to be speaking with you – I love meeting new people and chatting everything healthy! 🙂
With lots of love,
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Curtis, S., Green, L., Ody, P. & Vilinac, D. (2011). Neal’s Yard Remedies: Cook, Brew, and Blend your own herbs. London: DK.
Fleischhauer, S. G., Guthmann, J. & Spiegelberger, R. (2007). Essbare Wildpflanzen. Munich: AT Verlag.