Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oiling

So, I've been doing lots of research for my thesis on wood betony, and seeing how it has been touted as a supreme wound healer, it was time I made some wound healing wood betony preparation.

I decided to make some oil, which can be conveniently turned into salve for cuts, scrapes and bruises. While I was at it, I thought it was time to make some chamomile flower oil, which I've been wanting to make for ...well, years...

It's the middle of winter and the snow is a falling outside. We're covered in white fluffy stuff, and I haven't moved my car in days. So fresh herbs are out of the question, but nice and effective healing oils can be made with dried herbs. Though I usually prefer fresh plant oils, made very carefully so water is removed from the finished product, dried plant oils are much less likely to go bad, moldy or rancid from carelessness in preparation.

I'm a simpler at heart, and often don't measure a thing when I'm making herbal medicines, unless I'm formulating something I want to recreate later for a client or for some other reason. So I just filled my jars with dried herb. (about halfway full). Then I poured olive oil over the herbs, enough to soak in, and enough to cover the herbs by an inch or two.

You can let dried herbs steep in oil for several weeks for a nice infusion, but I'm impatient, so I'm using the hot water bath method, so my oils will only take 3 days to week. I just lid my jars and then stick them in a hot water bath for several hours over several days. I don't want the oil to cook the herbs, so I never let the water boil, but bring it to just starting to form bubbles on the bottom of the pan, and steaming warm. The jar sit in the water, lids above the water line ( to prevent water from seeping in), and let them steep in the warm for several days. As the water cools off I just turn the stove on again until warm again. You can also do this in a crockpot set on low, but it is easier to overheat the herbs in the crockpot.

The wood betony oil is turning a nice emerald green, and the chamomile a golden green herbal color. Meanwhile I sip on a mug of ginger infusion with a splash of summer ripe peach brandy. Perfect for a winters night.

2 comments:

Hxaosanto said...

Mmm...oils. :-)

Sarah said...

What a really great blog you have here. Thank you so much for sharing this info. I've been wanting to learn how to make my own oils for awhile now but haven't gotten around to researching how to do it. I'm so happy I found your blog. I'll be reading it often.

Sarah
www.spiralcreek.wordpress.com

"The mother of us all, the oldest of us all, Hard, splendid as rock, Let the beauty you love, be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth"~ Rumi ~