Herbal infusions are a great way to incorporate natural ingredients into your bath and body products. We recommend using only dried herbs and powders. Using fresh herbs can be done but requires extra preparation with acid washes to prevent the risk of botulism contamination. Dried herbs and powders do not have the risk of such disease.
There are three basic ways to infuse oils. They include cold method, solar method and heat method.
Cold infusions are made by placing the herbs in a Mason jar and covering with oil. Set the oil in a cool dry place for 4-8 weeks. Make sure to shake the jar 1-2 x per day.
Solar infusions are made the same way as cold infusions but they are left on a kitchen windowsill for 2-4 weeks. You can place the jar in a brown bag to prevent the solar bleaching of natural colors.
Slow cooker heat induced method is our favorite way to infuse dried natural powders and herbs. For this method fill mason jars with oil and add herbal powder or botanicals. We like using olive oil best because it has a naturally long shelf life at room temperature. Fill as many jars as you would like that can comfortably fit in the slow cooker. Use the slow cooker rack so that the jars do not sit directly on the heated bottom. If your slow cooker does not have a bottom rack, use a towel to protect the glass jars. Once the jars are in place, fill the slower cooker with water. Turn the slow cooker to the warm setting, approximately 100º-120ºF, and keep on warm for 3-5 hours. The slower and lower you infuse the oils the better they will turn out.
When your oils have been adequately infused it is time to strain and discard the herbs. We like to use pantyhose as our strainer, hold tightly to the jar opening. Stain the infused oil into a clean mason jar and label for future use. If the infused oil is stored in a cool dry location it is typically good for up to one year.
To infuse dried herbal powders, follow the above process using two Tablespoons of herbal powder in six ounces of vegetable oil.