Solar Infused Herbal Oils

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

By |September 22nd, 2010|Categories: Misc|Tags: |47 Comments

About the Author:

avatar
Irene Wolansky is the Customer Experience Director at Mountain Rose Herbs. Born and raised on the Oregon coast, her interests include crafting body care products and herbal medicine, harvesting mushrooms, gardening, brewing herbal mead, fermentation, and exploring wild areas.

47 Comments

  1. avatar

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

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    […] You can utilize countless herbs, listed below are some of the most popular choices.View post: Solar Infused Herbal Oils Free PDF Health Ebook…Remedies4.com! bkLib.onDomLoaded(nicEditors.allTextAreas);Leave your […]

  4. avatar
    S. Assilem May 31, 2012 at 10:50 am - Reply

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

    • avatar
      Irene May 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      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

  5. avatar
    JMS June 22, 2013 at 10:44 am - Reply

    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 June 26, 2013 at 8:10 am - Reply

      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 June 28, 2013 at 10:41 am - Reply

        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 July 3, 2013 at 7:40 am - Reply

          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

  6. avatar
    trishrose July 11, 2013 at 5:36 am - Reply

    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 July 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm - Reply

      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

  7. avatar
    Angela McGuire December 13, 2013 at 5:38 pm - Reply

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

    • avatar
      Kori December 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      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

  8. avatar
    Dominique January 5, 2014 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    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?

    Thanks!

    • avatar
      Kori January 6, 2014 at 8:37 am - Reply

      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

  9. avatar
    Belinda May 24, 2014 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    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 May 27, 2014 at 10:40 am - Reply

      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

  10. avatar
    Chrisi June 6, 2014 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    Hello!
    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.
    Thanks!

    • avatar
      Kori June 9, 2014 at 8:55 am - Reply

      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

  11. avatar

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  12. avatar

    […] 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 […]

  13. avatar

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  14. avatar
    Gabi June 23, 2014 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    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.

    Gabi

    • avatar
      Kori June 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm - Reply

      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

  15. avatar
    Tammy June 30, 2014 at 6:11 am - Reply

    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 June 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm - Reply

      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!

  16. avatar
    Lois July 2, 2014 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    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 July 3, 2014 at 7:00 am - Reply

      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

  17. avatar

    […] Solar Infused  Herbal Oils […]

  18. avatar

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

  19. avatar
    mary September 3, 2014 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    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 September 4, 2014 at 7:18 am - Reply

      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

  20. avatar
    Lisa Harris September 6, 2014 at 11:13 am - Reply

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

    • avatar
      Kori September 9, 2014 at 12:32 pm - Reply

      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

  21. avatar
    Barbara Ogolsky September 14, 2014 at 11:06 am - Reply

    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 September 16, 2014 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      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

  22. avatar
    Belinda Davis October 1, 2014 at 10:57 am - Reply

    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 October 1, 2014 at 11:09 am - Reply

      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

  23. avatar
    Fenil October 15, 2014 at 8:54 am - Reply

    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 October 15, 2014 at 9:39 am - Reply

      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

  24. avatar
    Cristina November 9, 2014 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    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 November 10, 2014 at 9:02 am - Reply

      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

  25. avatar
    jo December 1, 2014 at 4:10 am - Reply

    Hi, thanks for your wonderful and informative blog. I have a question about St John’s wort oil. I had some villagers infuse some St John’s wort for me seeing that I can’t get it fresh. I didn’t see the infusing method nor did I see the olive oil it was infused in. 6 months later it is developing little white waxy crystals in it around the edge of the bottles and down the bottom. It smells strong and is very red but I don’t think the smell is bad. I wonder if you might have ever experienced this before and if this is okay or not? Thanks.

    • avatar
      Kori December 1, 2014 at 12:03 pm - Reply

      Hi Jo~Thank you for sharing your question and concerns. I’m afraid that we really can’t evaluate the quality of your oil from afar. My best suggestion would be to check with a local herbalist, or, perhaps, the folks who created it for you to see if this is common or atypical. I do wish we could be of more help and I wish you the best! ~Kori

  26. avatar
    Jen December 16, 2014 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    Hello,

    I really appreciate this article and website, I am learning tons!!  I have a few questions in regards to infusing oils.  I have read several books on herbs and infusing and in the books it is mentioned that Virgin Olive Oil should be used when infusing.  I wanted to use Jojoba becuase of the milder more femine scent (olive oil is not really what I want to smell like :o).  1) Can I use other oils aside from EVO or will they go rancid quickly?  2) Can I blend the herbs however I want or would that be dangerous at all?  3) I have not sun at all where I'm at can I still infuse the oil effectively just with time?  4) Can I use several oils at the same time i.e.  grapeseed/ jojob/EVO when infusing, or should I just use one at a time?  5) Do you recommend any books to further my knowledge on herbs?  Sorry for all the questions, but I'm doing so much research and enjoying all the learning.  Thank you so much for your time.  I really do appreciate this!!

    • avatar
      Alieta December 17, 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Hi there Jen,  How exciting!  What a fun world you have to indulge in learning :) You know, if you find a method that works for you (blending oils, herbs etc) then you should utilize that method.  While learning, and exploring however,  I’ve found that the more minimal you keep it the more fun you can have blending and creating recipes and making the most of your oil infusions.  I suggest infusing one herb at a time into one preferred oil — and jojoba works just fine!  Jojoba is actually a wax, and is extremely shelf stable. I actually prefer jojoba oil, argan oil, grapeseed oil and almond oil before olive oil, but most of my recipes are for my face and hair — and these are the less “greasy” options. So, it really depends on what you are infusing the oils for.  You can read a detailed description of all of the oils we offer here. Without so much sun around, the infusion will take longer, waiting 2 months rather than just one for example, but then you get to call it a moon infusion! :) My favorite essential oil book (as in mine is falling apart it’s been through so much) is Kathi Keville’s Aromatherapy a complete guide. If you already have that one, check out the rest of our recomended books on essential oils and aromatherapy. I hope this helps, have a lovely day Jen! ~Alieta

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