|Infused oils are prepared by taking fresh plant material and steeping them in a base oil for 6 weeks. There are many methods and approaches to making infused oils, including heating the oil and using dried plant material. However, heating compromises the integrity of the oil and with dried plant material, certain aspects of the plant are lost in the drying process. |
Some plants, however, are high in moisture content and do require wilting prior to steeping in oil. This includes comfrey, chickweed, and calendula. Lavender, rose petals, and evergreens can be steeped directly in the base oil because they have a lower moisture content. I like to use olive oil as my base because it is healing to the skin and is the most stable of all oils.
Infused oils are preferred by the herbalist as they extract all of the healing qualities of the plant including the oil-soluble vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, water-distilled essential oils are isolates and do not contain all of the healing qualities of the plants. Because essential oil extracts contain only a component of the plant, which is then highly concentrated, they are similar to pharmaceuticals and can have harmful effects. Infused oils rarely if ever cause any type of concern.
As winter approaches we can harvest many of the needles, leaves, or fronds from Everygreen Trees or Shrubs for the purpose of infusing in oil. While each of these oils has its own specific healing qualities, one that they all have in common is terpenes. Terpenes are compounds that are responsible for their scent. Terpenes offer antispasmodic qualities and the scent is penetrating. These actions make evergreen-infused oils superb remedies for applying to the chest to relieve congestion. These compounds are also antiseptic and antibacterial, which can prevent dry skin from becoming infected during the winter months as well.
Some of my favorite evergreen trees/shrubs to infuse in oil are: Juniper (Juniperus sp), Pine (Pinus sp), Fir (Abies sp), Spruce (Picea sp), and Hemlock (Tsuga sp).
One can harvest these all year long and have them on hand through the winter to help provide relief during the cold and flu season
Hi Linda, is there a trick other than steeping the needles/leaves of cedar or pine? I tried this but was disappointed the scent wasn’t strong…as strong as I was hoping.
You can put a little bit of vodka to cover the herb before you pour oil over the herbs. This will heighten the volatile oils. It is important however not to compare these to essential extracts. Infused oils are whole herbs intended more for the healing qualities imparted into the oil, than the scent. Essential oil extracts are isolates and as such are missing many of the healing qualities of the whole plant. I hope that makes sense and is helpful.
Linda, The photo of you with a cat depicts your nurturing spirit. Wondering if evergreen infused oils can be used on a car with respiratory congestion. What are your thoughts?
I think you are asking if you can put infused oils in a car, to help relieve respiratory congestion. I am not sure how you would do this, as infused are not like essential oil extracts, they do not permeate the air in the same way. What I would suggest is putting the whole plant in the vehicle, either as I do, a “smudge” type wand of evergreens on the dash or in a sachet. I hope that helps and makes sense.