Many times we have in the garden, or even in pots, plants that we do not know that if we dry them they can be very useful. In this article we want to explain to you how we can prepare infused oil with the dried flowers of our garden to obtain their properties and be able to use them in creams and ointments.
A MACERATED OIL is nothing more than oil infused with the essence and therapeutic properties of a plant that we let macerate in the oil.
Some examples of macerated oils and their properties:
Arnica (flowers): Contusions, bumps, bruises, oedema, heavy legs. Arnica, St. John’s wort and Calendula are 3 plants against muscle pain with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that, when used externally, can help relieve injuries and inflammations. They prevent and help muscle and ligament recovery.
St. John’s Flower (flowers): Although many people know this herb for its antidepressant properties, it is tremendously useful, at the same time, to treat muscle pain due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Daisy (daisy flowers): Skin toner, repairer, tightener, neck, bust and décolleté shaper. Restructuring and nourishing.
Calendula (marigold flowers): Powerful anti-inflammatory, healing and disinfectant, which treats fragile, dry, rough, tight and reactive skin. Calendula calms irritations, cracks, frostbite, small wounds, razor burns, psoriasis, eczema, ulcers, sunburns, hives, insect bites … And even the pain of bruises and neuralgias.
Chamomile (flowers): Inflammation of the face, itching, rosacea (redness).
Sea Buckthorn (berries): These berries have a lot of vitamin C that make of this macerated oil a very good anti-aging oil to give glow to our skin.
Mallow (flowers): mature skin, dry and sensitive skin, rosacea. Softening.
Carrot (roots): The carrot macerate produces an orange oil very rich in carotenes. This infused oil promotes tanning and allows the skin to maintain an even tone after sun. Softening, regenerating and soothing.
Plantain (leaves): Plantain stands out for its healing and calming power; hence it is ideal for treating small wounds or bites. To this must be added its emollient properties that help hydrate the skin. It is also anti-inflammatory and detoxifying.
Laurel (leaves): Treatment of acne, oily skin, sores and ulcerations, in case of cooling, in massages and to relieve rheumatism.
Rosemary (leaves): Oily, mixed skin. Firming and draining, in addition to improving microcirculation.
Rose (flowers): Wrinkles, aging, age spots. Rose is a great rebalancing agent that treats dehydrated, devitalized, dry skin, with cracks, scars, acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis.
Green tea (leaves): Decreases the production and storage of fat. Powerful antioxidant.
Vanilla (pods): Skin tonic, protective, softening and nourishing. Softens face and body skin and is a mild scrub with a delicious scent for use in massage oils. Also, in our culinary preparations of cakes or vinaigrettes (in addition, if it is for cooking, it is not necessary to filter it).
Red vine (leaves): Improves blood circulation. Heavy leg care.
WHY TO MAKE A MACERATED OIL
If you’re wondering why to bother making macerated oils when we have essential oil, it is important to know that not every constituent of a plant comes over in distillation. Only the smaller molecules come over using that method and so we never quite capture the essence of the whole plant.
Maceration captures the heavier larger molecules. Other extraction techniques will capture other chemicals too. Water extracts will harness the water-based compounds, for example. So, the more ways you have to extract the properties of a plant, the closer you get to accessing everything that plant has to offer.
When making a cream that is based on lavender, for example, then you can augment the therapeutic effect by also including macerated lavender oil and even the fluid extracts or hydrosols too.
In addition, another advantage of macerated oils is that they add properties to our recipes in a milder way than essential oils. These can sometimes cause rashes on sensitive skin.
Also, you may have access to a plant that doesn’t have a corresponding essential oil, like Lilac or Elderflower for example, or perhaps you wish to use a plant where the essential oil is very expensive, Jasmine (distilled) or Lemon Balm, for example. By using maceration, you can access the healing chemical compounds in these plants and use them in your skincare.
As we said before, many times we have plants in the garden that we do not know that if we dry them, they can be very useful. This is the case with the humble marigolds. Surely many of us have them in the garden without knowing it. However, calendula flowers have great therapeutic value if we collect and dry them.
CALENDULA is a plant with great therapeutic potential for the skin. Regenerates, fights possible germs and fights against inflammation. It is a restorer par excellence of irritated skin, with itching, eczema, chilblains caused by cold, etc.
Another use for calendula oil is to treat earaches. We will place 2 to 3 drops in our ear and hold a hot bag or cloth over it. However, if the symptoms persist or there is an infection, it will be better to consult with our doctor.
By letting the flowers infuse in oil, we can extract many of those properties and incorporate them into easy-to-use products such as: recipes for salves, lip balms, soaps, creams and lotions.
That is why we are going to explain below the two known methods to prepare an oleate, that is, to infuse a vegetable oil with the properties of an herb or plant.
In this case, we are going to explain how to prepare a calendula macerated oil, although it would be perfectly possible with any other dried plant or flower.
CALENDULA INFUSED OIL
We will need dried calendula flowers for this. Fresh herbs can also be used to prepare the infused oils, but this is not a good idea because the water content of fresh flowers and herbs tends to create moulds and spoil the oleates.
Simply, we will spread the previously collected flowers on a paper towel in a dry place or in the sun and we will turn them daily for a week or two until they are completely dry.
When we have them dry, we will fill 1/3 of a glass jar with our dried flowers and we will refill it with some oil that does not easily rancid like those of jojoba, apricot, coconut, almonds or even olive. (See entry about rancidity of oils).
As in the “freak of natural” website is said: “Jojoba and coconut oils are also often used or added, while sweet almond oil suit best the making of smaller batches as it goes rancid faster then the other oils”.
We will cover the jar well and store it in a cool, dark place, for a minimum of four weeks (40 days is usually ideal). We will shake it periodically. There are even “schools” that affirm that it should be given the light of the sun and the moon for that question of the energies. Anyway, don’t worry if you don’t, the result will also be acceptable.
After 40 days, we will strain the flowers and we will have our macerated oil ready. To strain the herbs, you can use a cotton filter or a fine cloth. In some cases, you will have to repeat the operation so that the oil is clean of residues.
The oil, now infused oil, we will reserve it in a bottle, if possible, in dark glass so that it has a longer expiration date. We will keep the jar in a dry and dark place, protected from heat sources. And if we think that our oil can become rancid, we can add a little wheat germ oil or a few drops of vitamin E to prevent oxidation and rancidity.
IT IS POSSIBLE TO MAKE A FASTER PROCESS WITH A HOT METHOD like the one detailed by Maria Treben in her books.
In this case, we would place our oil, with the flowers or dried plants, in a glass container (temperature resistant) to the water bath. And we would keep it on a very soft heat for several hours (1 to 3 hours according to various sources). It is important that the temperature of the assembly does not exceed 50º degrees Celsius so that the oil does not become harmful and the oleate does not lose properties.
This hot method is best suited for harder parts of the plant such as roots.
After this time, we will filter well and package as in the previous case.
With this method, it is possible to use the infused oil immediately. Although it is also possible, after infusing it, to reinforce the process and obtain a better infused oil by letting it macerate a few more days in a dark place.
If you have tried it, leave us your comments:)