Solar Infused Herbal Oils

A vibrant collection of freshly harvested Calendula flowers.

Utilize the sun to naturally infuse oil with the goodness and essence of herbs.

Simply infusing oil with herbs will transform them into healing, soothing, and relaxing medicinal preparations. There are several ways to infuse oils, but my favorite is the Folk or Simpler’s Method which relies upon the sun to naturally infuse the oil with the goodness and essence of herbs. You can utilize countless herbs, listed below are some of the most popular choices. Other carrier oils may be used, but Jojoba oil and Olive oil are wise choices because they have a long shelf life and are suitable for a variety of applications.

Folk Method for Solar Infused Oils

1. Place herbs in a clean quart jar. If using fresh herbs, then wilt them first for 12 hours to remove most of the moisture (too much moisture will cause your oil to go rancid), cut into small pieces, and crush with a mortar and pestle before adding to jar. You can skip these extra steps if your herbs are dried.

2. Pour oil into the jar, making sure to cover herbs by at least 1” of oil and leaving at least 1/2” of space at the top of the jar so that the herbs will have room to expand. If your herbs soak up all of the oil, then pour more on top to ensure that the herbs are well covered.

3. Stir well, and cap the jar tightly.

4. Place the jar in a sunny and warm windowsill, and shake once or more per day.

5. After 4-6 weeks, strain the herbs out of the oil using cheesecloth. Make sure and squeeze every precious drop of oil out!

6. Pour into glass bottles, and store in a cool dark place. The oil should keep for at least a year.

A calming blend of Chamomile, Lavender and Hops infusing in oil.

Herbs to Infuse:

Arnica flowers (Arnica montana) - indispensible for the external treatment for physical trauma, sprains, bruising and other injuries. Use immediately after strenuous exertion or injury to prevent, relieve and reduce swelling, bruises and pain.

Calendula flowers (Calendula officinalis) - one of my favorite oils with a myriad of uses. Oil infused with Calendula flowers is wonderfully healing and is suitable for sensitive skin and for babies. It helps clear complexions, heal cuts, scrapes, insect bites, diaper rash, and inflammations.

Cayenne peppers (Capsicum annuum) – Used for pain, muscle aches, and arthritis.

Cedar Tips (various species) – For treating fungal infections and skin irritations.

Chickweed (Stellaria media) – Skin disorders, psoriasis, eczema, minor burns, rashes, and other skin irritations.

Comfrey root and leaf (Symphytum officinale) – Deeply healing, used for wounds, bruises, and skin cell proliferation.

Goldenseal or Oregon Grape root (Hydrastis canadensis or Mahonia aquifolium)– Antibacterial, used for treating wounds and skin conditions.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) – Soothing for the skin, and good for cold sores.

Mullein flowers (Verbascum densiflorum) – A classic oil used to soothe, relieve pain, and fend off ear infections.

Myrrh gum (Commiphora myrrha) – Antiseptic, used for scrapes and cuts.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) – Great for massaging into sore muscles.

Plantain (various species) – Soothes and helps speed the recovery process of damaged skin, blisters, insect bites, and rashes.

Poke root (Phytolacca americana) - A powerful woman’s ally traditionally used for mastitis and breast lumps.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) - a stimulating oil for hair treatments, sore muscles, or even for culinary use.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) - craft this red-colored oil made from freshly gathered St. John’s Wort. The oil is anti-inflammatory and can help speed the healing of wounds, bruises, varicose veins, swellings, sunburns, bee stings, nerve damage, scrapes, diaper rash, pain, and mild burns.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) - A strong antiseptic used externally for cuts and scrapes, and it is great for sore muscles.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) – Used for cuts, scraps, rashes, and for minor cases of eczema.

Feel free to combine herbs or infused oils to create special blends:

Floral Oil
An aromatic oil which will lift the spirits and smells divine. Apply to the skin after a shower, bath, or during a massage. The oil will be moisturizing, soothing, relaxing, and calming to the skin. To make, infuse organic Rose Petals, Lavender flowers, or Chamomile flowers in organic Jojoba Oil.

Relaxation Oil
A fragrant blend of relaxing herbs, use after a nighttime bath or shower to help with relaxation, tranquility, and sleep. Or, rub on temples at night before retiring to bed. Infuse a mixture of organic Hops, Chamomile flowers, and Lavender flowers in organic Olive or Jojoba oil.

Happy infusing! 

~ irene

43 Responses to “Solar Infused Herbal Oils”

  1. [...] Solar Infused Herbal Oils « The Mountain Rose Blog [...]

  2. [...] You can utilize countless herbs, listed below are some of the most popular choices.View post: Solar Infused Herbal Oils Free PDF Health Ebook…! bkLib.onDomLoaded(nicEditors.allTextAreas);Leave your [...]

  3. avatar S. Assilem says:

    I thought olive oil had to be kept out of the sun. Can you infuse the oils inside?

    • avatar Irene says:

      Hi S. Assilem,
      Thank you so much for your e-mail and for the thoughtful question! When infusing herbal oils, they are traditionally placed inside on a sunny and warm windowsill. However, you could definitely place a towel or paper bag over them if you wish to keep the oil hidden from the sunlight.
      Thank you again for your question, happy infusing!
      ~ irene

  4. avatar JMS says:

    I use evening primrose oil, safflower oil and jojoba as the carrier oil in my infusions. I am concerned about EPO going rancid from sunlight. Can EPO be used for solar infusions?

    • avatar Irene says:

      Hi JMS,

      Thank you for your message, and for the great question!

      I would recommend using Safflower and/or Jojoba oil for the solar infusion, and then add Evening Primrose Oil to your final formula. Evening Primrose Oil is sensitive, and I would also be concerned about using it in a solar infusion.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns, and thanks again!

      ~ Irene

      • avatar Herbalist says:

        Thank you Irene! Perfect, thank helps!

        Since I used EPO for one of my solar infusions already, do you think it’s spoiled and ought to be tossed? It smells normal, but I wouldn’t like to think it may be compromised!

        Thanks Irene!

        • avatar Irene says:

          Hi Herbalist,
          Thank you for your reply! If the oil smells fine, then it may still be good. Usually, oils will have an “off” smell when they become rancid, but it may be difficult to tell – especially when the oil has been infused with various herbs and has taken on their scents in addition to its own. If you don’t feel comfortable using the oil, then I would probably dispose of it. But, it’s really up to you and your comfort level.
          I hope that this helps, and thanks again!
          ~ Irene

  5. avatar trishrose says:

    For a honeysuckle infused oil would you have to dry the flowers for 12 hours before adding them to the oil? Also if using it for aromatics would you strain flowers and repeat to make a double infused oil to make the fragrance stronger and if so how do you go about doing that? One more question for making flower essences in water is distilled water ok?

    • avatar Irene says:

      Dear trishrose,

      Thank you for the wonderful question. Wow, Honeysuckle infused oil sounds amazing!

      Since Honeysuckle flowers are so delicate, it might be difficult to extract the aromatics from them. I would only wilt them for a few hours or overnight, so that they are barely wilted and not too dry. You may need to infuse the oil twice to achieve a stronger scent. To do this, you would infuse the oil as normal, strain it, then return the strained oil to the container, add new plant material, then allow it to infuse again. You could also try infusing the flowers in alcohol to see if it would better extract the aromatics.

      I have never made flower essences before, but would personally use spring water, rain water, or fresh clean water from a creek.

      We wish you the best of luck with your infused oil and flower essence making adventures! We’d love to hear how they turn out. :-)

      ~ Irene

  6. avatar Angela McGuire says:

    How about using Rice Bran oil instead of olive or safflower? It has a long shelf life. Please advise:):)

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Angela~Thanks for your question. You could definitely give Rice Bran oil a try. There are so many oils for infusions that it is fun to experiment and try oils and herbs you like. Good luck! ~Kori

  7. avatar Dominique says:

    Hi! Loved your article. Can you do this in the winter by leaving the jar on a south-facing windowsill, or will the winter draftiness defeat the purpose and cool the oil too much?


    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Dominique~Thank you for reading the blog! You can still create a solar infusion during the winter months, it just might take a bit longer since you are not getting as much sunlight. Some people like to add a little heat to the infusion via a heating pad, crock pot or gently heat the infusion first and then let it sit in the sun for several weeks. I hope this answers your question and good luck! ~Kori

  8. avatar Belinda says:

    I was wondering, to make an oil infused with St John’s Wort would I use the leaves as well as the flowers or only one or the other? We have it growing wild and I’d love to be able to use it. Thanks so much for your help.

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Belinda~Both the leaves and the flower buds can be used for infusions. Thanks so much for checking in with us and good luck! ~Kori

  9. avatar Chrisi says:

    I was wondering could you make your infusion just outside on a southfacing deck? My house has wide overhangs and the windowsills don’t get very sunny.

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Chrisi~Thank you for your question. You could definitely make your infused oils outside–especially during dry, sunny weather. You will just want to make sure they are protected from any moisture or critters getting into the infusion as that may cause some problems :) Good luck! ~Kori

  10. […] via Solar Infused Herbal Oils « The Mountain Rose Blog. […]

  11. […] now is also the perfect time of year to utilize the powerful sun for infusing oils. This is a great way to add the healing properties of herbs to a body care recipe. I like to keep […]

  12. […] and very easy to grow, you may even want to create your own oregano-infused oil.  Check out this great article by Mountain Rose Herbs for more […]

  13. avatar Gabi says:

    Thank you for a very informative article!

    I picked some arnica flowers yesterday and would like to infuse them in oil. Do I use only the petals or the whole flower with the green part? As they are wilting/drying the flowers are sort of falling apart and showing some white at the bottom of the petals.

    Thank you for your advice.


    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Gabi~Thank you for your question! Some flowers can bit a bit finicky to work with, aren’t they? You can use either the petals or the whole flower in your infused oils. It won’t matter if they are crumpled and falling apart since they will still impart all their properties into the oil. Good luck with your project! ~Kori

  14. avatar Tammy says:

    Would it be possible to use coconut oil, not fractionated, in an infusion with calendula? My upstairs stays warm enough to keep it from solidifying. Thanks!

    • avatar Alieta says:

      Hey there Tammy, you most definitely could infuse herbs into coconut oil if you have a setting that keeps it from solidifying! I’ve personally never done this but that is because my coconut oil is pretty much solid year round! :) Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  15. avatar Lois says:

    Is it not possible to infuse DRIED St John’s Wort? I bought some today and saw now on your blog to use it fresh. Was wondering why with this one herb?

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Lois~Thank you for your question! You can use dried St. John’s Wort for an infused oil, however, there are some herbs that are much better infused fresh (St. John’s Wort and Lemon Balm are a couple.) Good luck! ~Kori

  16. […] via Solar Infused Herbal Oils « The Mountain Rose Blog. […]

  17. avatar mary says:

    When infusing herb or combination of herbs, can you leave herbs in oil or does it have to be strained. I’m asking because I have seen some online stores that sell their 1/2 Oz bottles of herbal oil but have herbs in them.

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Mary~Thanks so much for reading the blog and sharing your question! My best answer is, it depends :) I have left some herbs like fresh mint and lemon balm in infused vinegars that I use for culinary purposes. When it comes to infusing herbs in oils, it is best to strain them well before using in salves, liniments and lotions. The little bits of plant material, when exposed to the air, will cause your finished product to spoil faster. You can leave the herbs in the oils for a while, however, if the jars are well sealed and away from direct light and temperature fluctuations after the initial infusion. Over time, the properties do break down and the infused oils do not last indefinitely. Cheers! ~Kori

  18. avatar Lisa Harris says:

    My Calendula infused oil has been sitting for a month. It smells bad-not like any I have made before. What happened?

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Lisa~Thank you for checking in with us. Unfortunately, it would be difficult for us to know what went wrong with your infusion since there are so many variables. If you used fresh calendula, it could be that there was too much moisture in the flowers or there could have been exposure to air, or there could be bugs, bacteria, a dirty jar, etc. So many things! My best suggestion would be to compost it and start a fresh batch. Good luck! ~Kori

  19. avatar Barbara Ogolsky says:

    I tried making solar infused lavender oil per your recipe. I used olive oil and lavender flowers. After 4 weeks squeezed through cheesecloth. The oil smells like olive oil. No scent of lavender at all. I am very disappointed. Any suggestions????

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Barbara~Thanks so much for checking in with us. Infused oils often do not have strong scents. While the oils absorb the properties of the herbs, the oils themselves have their own properties as well (including scent!) If you are using the oil for a soap or body care product, you can always add lavender essential oil to make sure you have a stronger scent. I do hope this answers your question and good luck with your project! ~Kori

  20. avatar Belinda Davis says:

    Is there any concern about UV rays or high temps destroying the properties of the herb? I’d like to know more of the science behind the preferred methods.

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Belinda~Thank you for sharing your question and for reading the blog. I have never heard of UV rays destroying the herbal properties if herbs are infused properly. High temperatures could definitely affect the quality of your oil infusion, however, and that is why low heat is recommended when you gently heat the oils for a quicker infusion. I do hope this helps and thanks again for stopping by. ~Kori

  21. avatar Fenil says:

    I would like to infuse Sunflower oil with Lavender and Calendula using the solar method but your website mentions that extreme heat and light can lessen the shelf life of the Sunflower oil. I am also concerned about destroying the nutrients in the oil if the sunlight gets too strong. Any advice?

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Fenil~Thank you for checking in with us again. Yes, extreme heat and light can affect the integrity of the oils and the herbs. You can either do a longer infusion and keep it out of the very hot and direct sunlight, or keep an eye on it and remove it from the window during the hottest part of the day. A little supervision might go a long way in guiding your oil infusion. Good luck! ~Kori

  22. avatar Cristina says:

    I made an infusion of red and pink rose petals and sunflower oil. Since I do not have any sunny windows :( I place the jar for 3 days and 3 nights in a crockpot. Was that OK? Also I wanted to make a tincture that would keep the scent of the rose petals…how do I do that? Thank you so much

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Cristina~Thank you for sharing your questions. Normally, when using gentle heat, like a crockpot, it is best to only have the heat on for an hour or so and then allow the herbs and oils to infuse with the heat off for another day (or 3, if you’d like.) Having the heat on for 3 days would likely be a bit much. I also just allow time to infuse–sun or shadow :) Putting the flowers or herbs in a jar with oil and allowing it to infuse for month or two regardless of whether it is in the sun or not is a nice, gentle way to create an infused oil. As for a rose tincture, you could certainly give it a try. I don’t know if the rose scent will be overpowered by the alcohol, however, as I’ve never tried it myself. I know that some very strong-smelling herbs (like skullcap and valerian) do impart quite a scent to a tincture. Good luck! ~Kori

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