Thursday, 21 November 2013 05:40

Warm Oil Infusion Method

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I think the best way to create oil infusions is the Warm Infusion Method. It extracts more of the active properties of your herbs slowly without shocking them or needing to add unnecessary chemicals.  

This method takes time, so be sure to plan this on a day where you can hang around all day to complete the process and not be rushed.

CHOOSING YOUR OIL

I have written a section on oils so you can decide which is the best for your particular infusion. You can also use oils like Almond, Sesame, Castor, Coconut, and Jojoba. One of the most common oils used for hair products for dry hair is olive oil.  If you use olive oil, look for a low scent, light cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil in  your supermarket. I am using Coconut oil for this tutorial.

CHOOSING YOUR HERBS/FLOWERS

I like to use fresh herbs whenever I can, which require more vigilance to help prevent rancidity from the water content that is extracted when using herbs fresh, but dried herbs are just as useful, easier to get your hands on and you have less risk of spoilage! Just make sure the dried herbs you use do not have any additives.

For dried leaves and flowers, finely powder them - let fresh herb and flowers wilt  before infusing (to reduce moisture content) and then chop them as fine as you can.  Mix your herbs with your chosen oil, so that there is about 1/4 oil resting above the herbs.  If you are using coconut oil or another oil solid at room temperature, warm the oil gently until liquid before adding your herbs.

WARMING THE OIL INFUSION

If you have a double boiler, you can use this to warm the infusion. If you don’t, you can put your infusion into a glass jar and place the jar into a warm pot of water. Cover the jar with a tea towel to keep the warmth in.  Keep your oil warm to the touch by warming up the water as needed.

Dried herbs will absorb more oil than fresh so if you use dried herbs it is important to check the oil level after about an hour and add more if necessry.

Leave the infusion for about 10 hours, then strain. Use a cheesecloth, muslin, cotton or jelly strainer bag to strain the infusion and try to remove as much plant material as possible. If necessary, strain a second time using a finer cloth. After a day of brewing (about 8 – 10 hours), you’ll be ready to strain your oil for the first time.  

RESTING THE OIL INFUSION

 Leave the infusion to settle for a few days. When you see settlement accumulating on teh bottom of the jar, it is trim to strain it again. This time you must get ALL the plant material out, especially if you used fresh herbs. You may have to repeat this process again after another day. Keep doing it until no sediment accumulates at the bottom.

STORING THE OIL INFUSION

Herbal oil infusions are sensitive to light and heat so always store your infusion in a dark container like an amber or blue bottle, and store in a cool dark place

If you would like to add preservatives, now is the time to do so. Vitamin E is a natural preservative, as is rosemary oil. Do your research and choose wisely.

Last modified on Sunday, 19 November 2017 12:28
Patricia "Deecoily" Gaines

Patricia Gaines aka Deecoily is the founder and creator of Nappturality in 2002, the beginning of the natural hair movement. Since 2000 she has been blogging on all things natural hair, Black culture and politics.

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