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Thread: Making your own scented oils

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    Eldritch Priestess Willow's Avatar
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    Making your own scented oils

    Recently I've been looking into ways of obtaining the things that are important to me while also being more earth and wallet-friendly, and have come across something called the "cold method" (I may have the words wrong) to create your own scented oils.

    Basically, the method is to place your dried herb(s) of choice into a jar that can be sealed, put enough olive oil or vodka into the jar to just cover the herbs and let the jar sit for a few weeks while occasionally turning the jar to make sure the herbs stay coated. Then straining the dried herbs out and using the fluid as a scented oil in a diffuser or for anointing. There are a few variations on the method, and on ways to increase the strength of the resultant product, but that's basically the gist of it.

    I was wondering if anyone has tried this and what your results were like? Do you have any pointers?

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Making your own scented oils

    I make infused oils all the time...the key is to use as small of bits as possible--run your plant matter through a blender, food mill, food processor, etc. It makes for more surface area contact between the oil and the plant. You can reinfuse the oil multiple times for a stronger presence of the plant. You can also use essential oils in conjunction with it. I have a number of concoctions I use reguarly if you are looking for anything in particular

    Also, I prefer sunflower oil as my carrier oil, with grapeseed oil or vitamin E (it acts as a preservative) for anything general purpose. REally, you should choose you carrier on the basis of what you want to use the oil for.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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    Re: Making your own scented oils

    I'm harvesting herbs from my garden and getting ready to make my own oils now (for the first time).
    But concerning the cold method, don't you have to open the jar occasionally to let out whatever gas there is?
    I read somewhere that the oils would go bad if you don't "vent" them.

    Maybe thalassa would like to share more about how she does it?

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Making your own scented oils

    Quote Originally Posted by Odahviing View Post
    I'm harvesting herbs from my garden and getting ready to make my own oils now (for the first time).
    But concerning the cold method, don't you have to open the jar occasionally to let out whatever gas there is?
    I read somewhere that the oils would go bad if you don't "vent" them.

    Maybe thalassa would like to share more about how she does it?
    No, you don't have to vent. There shouldn't be anything in them to react, particularly with dry herbs. The key is to use clean stuff and have no water present--water is what makes mold/rot, which is what would make gasses...though probably not in enough quantity to know that you were even doing anything).

    Wash your herbs before you dry them (just rinse them really well and drain them---I use a salad spinner, but a collander works just fine). With herbs that have a high water content, make sure they are totally dried. Some herbs with a very low water content do okay to infuse fresh, but I don't find any benefit added to that in a functional sense (this article explains more on infusing fresh herbs for culinary purposes and has some useful info). Once your herbs are dried, crush or grind them (depends on the herb)--you don't want a powder, that becomes too hard to strain, but something about the consistency of a commercial tea is good.

    Make sure you clean your jars (don't forget the lid!) thoroughly--a dishwasher, or if by hand, extra hot water and soap, or even a little bleach in the water (2 teaspoons/10 mL to 1 gallon/3.8 L)--and then air dry inverted on a clean drying rack (towel drying tends to put whatever is on the towel back in the jar you just cleaned). Make sure everything is clean...it doesn't have to be aseptic or anything, just clean.

    I have a selection of jar sizes (you don't always want/need a the same amount of oil)....because you want to fill up the jar completely. Personally, I generally fill the jar with the herbs (again, this depends on the herb) somewhere between 2/3 and completely full--don't pack them, just loosely filled. And then cover with oil (one or a combination) all the way to the top of the jar.

    You may or may not want to add something that will act as a preservative--a sprig of rosemary, some vitamin E oil, and grapeseed oil as most of the carrier, all work fairly well, depending on how long you plan to keep the oil. Carrier oils have a shelf life. This is the biggest thing that limits how long your oil is "good" Some shelf-lives are as short as 2-3 months, others as long as 6 months or a year, or even longer.

    Stick your jar somewhere dark and cool....you can take it out and shake it every few days. Honestly, its really not necessary. I've been doing this for years--sometimes I've shaken, sometimes not...there's really no difference in the final product. What I do instead, it check my infusions about every week, and I turn them over each time. Most infusions I let sit about 6 weeks.

    Then its time to get the herbs out of the oil. This can be tricky. I would recommend at the minimum, a mesh strainer, and coffee filters. Better is a potato ricer and a cone-shaped collander (called a chinois--even better with a stand, these are often used to make sauces and purees by hand). Also, an extra jar or two. I drain the oil overnight from one jar into another through the strainer (in my case, the chinois) (which I cover, tent-style over the top with a clean cloth), then take out the herbs anad smush them in the potato ricer to press out more oil from the herbs. After that, I put a coffee filter in the strainer and run the oil again through a coffee filter into a new jar (it could be the original jar, cleaned out and dried) to filter out anything I missed the first time. You could also use cheese cloth, or a super fine mesh strainer. This part usually takes a while (you can set it and forget it) too, because it takes time for the oil to drip out the coffee filter.

    Also, rather than throwing the herbs away, depending on the formulation, you can put them in muslin bags and use them in your bath. After your bath (depending on what else you've used in the bath, you may need to rinse the left overs) you can squeeze out the excess water and compost the herbs (and wash, dry, and reuse the bag).

    It sounds more complicated maybe than it actually is... Anyhoo, when you are done, you can do whatever with your oil. For food oils, I bottle them. For stuff to use on the skin, I generally make a salve with beeswax and cocoa butter.
    Last edited by thalassa; 18 Sep 2014 at 04:15.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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    Sr. Member loststarshine's Avatar
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    Re: Making your own scented oils

    interesting I was thinking of making my own after looking at prices.

    carrier oils pros and cons?

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Making your own scented oils

    Quote Originally Posted by loststarshine View Post
    interesting I was thinking of making my own after looking at prices.

    carrier oils pros and cons?
    Ask and ye shall recieve...I think I cross-posted it somewhere on the forum too, but I know its on my blog for sure.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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    Re: Making your own scented oils

    Wow, fantastic! Thank you very much, thalassa! Just what I needed now that me herbs are almost ready...

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    Eldritch Priestess Willow's Avatar
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    Re: Making your own scented oils

    Thank you for your responses! I will definitely be giving this a try in the near future. Don't have a lot of time here today, but I'm bookmarking the information. ^^

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    Sr. Member loststarshine's Avatar
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    Re: Making your own scented oils

    Quote Originally Posted by thalassa View Post
    Ask and ye shall recieve...I think I cross-posted it somewhere on the forum too, but I know its on my blog for sure.
    Thank you so much!!!!

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