An infusion, is similar to a tincture, however we utilize oil instead of alcohol. The definition for infusion is defined as: Prima materia (plant or other material) placed into an alcohol base to extract its aroma or medicinal properties. Ideally a high proof alcohol without additives. Bay Rum and Bacardi is the alcohol base in the Bay Rum Aftershave. In Botanical Natural Perfumery we use infusions in our solid perfume and oil based perfumes.
"Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light" —Roethke
INFUSED HERBAL BASE OIL adapted from Eva-Marie Lind, Aromatiques
An excellent, 'extra' virgin, cold pressed olive oil
Fresh Botanicals (Dry out well, 6 hours is a general rule. Layering petals and leaves between unbleached paper towels works well.)
or Dried Botanicals (Only use the 'petals' of flowers. Not the inner regions such as calyx of the bloom.)
Other optional ingredients:
A 'preservative' for your product. Tincture of benzoin or Vitamin E Oil
Glass jar with airtight lid or canning jar
One of the easiest and most fun methods for making an infused oil is the Solar Method. If using fresh herbal plant material always double your quantity used when incorporating dried herbs. When using fresh herbs it is best to allow the herbs to wilt for 5-8 hrs to reduce their water content.
This can be done either by tying a bundle of herbs and hanging upside down from a rafter or by laying them out on a screen which allows airflow above and under your product. Allow to wilt in a dry-air, open area.
15 gm dried herbs or 30 gm fresh herb
1 cup oil ~ preferably virgin cold pressed olive
The quantity of your herbs can be adjusted for strength. Place herbs in a canning jar and pour oil over them, taking care that all of your plant material is covered. Cap with a tightly fitting lid. To help breakdown your plant material add 1 Tbspn of white wine. Leave your jar to sit in the sun all day and at night remove and place in a hot water cupboard. Maintain this process for 2 weeks. Remove the lidded area of your canning jar and replace with 3-4 layers of muslin, attaching this tightly with the screw on rim portion of your lid. Strain your oil. To have a stronger aromatic oil, repeat this process until you have obtained product pleasant to your nose.
In Aromatherapy we use infusions in bath salts, face and body oils, soaps, balms and salt scrubs. Julie of Infiore uses a very highly concentrated Calendula infused grape seed oil in her facial products. Instead of creating your own infusions you can also purchase them from reputable sources for your handcrafted beauty products. Jeanne Rose has several books published with recipes. Jade Shutes of the East West School of Herbal Studies has courses as well as a workbook titled "The Blending Manual" with some great information. Jade also recommends the book The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook.
The Herbals Medicine Makers Handbook
The East West School of Herbal and Aromatic Studies
Images above ©Roxana Villa