" Blog da Horta Biológica: How To Make a Maceration - DIY Herbal Infused Oil

How To Make a Maceration - DIY Herbal Infused Oil

Making a herbal infused oil is an excellent way to take advantage of the full potential of plants, in addition to being very easy to do. In this post we will talk about maceration of plants in vegetable oil and show how it's done. Watch our educational video at the end of the post.

What Is a Maceration?

In a simple way, a maceration consists of extracting active principles of a body using a solvent for extraction. In this post's theme, it is about extracting the active principles from a plant using vegetable oil. 

Why To Make a Maceration?

Plants have many properties and various forms of use. Depending on the type of plant, a macerated oil can be used in relaxing, energizing, and therapeutic massages, it can be used in homemade remedies to relieve muscle pain, as well as balms and to add to the oily phase when formulating face and body lotions. In addition, some plants that are rich in medicinal properties are do not produce oil and must be macerated. Examples of this are Calendula and St John's Wort.

How To Choose The Plant?

The plant to be macerated must be chosen according to the therapeutic purpose. Let's look at just a few simple examples: 

Rosemary - Stimulation and energizing.
Lavender - Soothing, relaxing, and skin healing.
Calendula - Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizer.
Chamomile - Balances emotions.
St John's Wort - Relieves muscle pain.

It is very important to know the plants including their contraindications. In general, pregnant women and babies should not use macerated oils without prior consultation with a doctor, homeopath or naturopath and without knowing their allergies.

Which Oils To Use?

Just like plants, vegetable oils can also be chosen according to its therapeutic function. Each oils has its properties and can also be chosen according to the type of skin.100% vegetable oil must be used and if it is organic, all the better. Let's also look at some simple examples:

Olive Oil or Coconut Oil - Suitable for dry skin. However, coconut oil should only be used if surrounding temperature is always above 25ºC, otherwise it will solidify and the results may be compromised. 

Grape Seed Oil - For combination skin.

Jojoba Oil - for oily skin.

How To Make It?

Macerations can be done with fresh or dried herbs. For some plants it will be better to do with dry leaves and flowers, for others with fresh matter. For this post and video we made the maceration with St John's Wort, which must be made with fresh flowers. Let's see how to do it step-by-step:

  1. Pick the flowers in the morning when they are fresh, after dew has dissipated and, preferably, until 10 am or earlier if a hot day is foreseen.
  2. In a well washed jar (whenever possible sterilized) place fresh St John's wort. There is no exact amount. Use the available plant quantity and choose the size of the jar according to the plant quantity.
  3. Pour the vegetable oil (we used our olive oil because it is a high quality oil that we have in abundance) into the jar until it covers the plant completely to avoid rotting.
  4. Cover the jar and shake it so that plant and oil will be well mixed. 
  5. Place the jar at the window or outdoors under the sun. The heat of the sun will cause the plant to release its active principles in the oil.
  6. Shake the jar daily for 2 - 4 weeks. The less sunlight, the longer it must macerate. We left or jar under the sun for 24 days. Over the days, the oil changes colour to red due to the presence of one of St John's wort compounds, hypericin.
  7. After this time, strain the oil using a cloth, a nut milk bag or a coffee filter. The oil must be very clean and free of plant debris so that it can be stored for longer.
  8. Put a label with name and date.
  9. Store in a dark, cool dry place.

How To Use It?

To use the macerated oil just remove the amount needed for use and re-store in the same way so that it has a longer shelf life. The oil can be used for up to one year. The shelf life of the macerated oil is shortened by the shelf life of the vegetable oil used. If the validity of the vegetable oil used is only 6 months left, this will be the validity of the macerated oil.

Some Important Considerations About St John's Wort Oil

St John's wort oil is widely used to relieve muscle pain, insect bites, and skin lesions such as wounds, irritations, and burns. St John's wort has healing effect of the skin and it also has soothing and antidepressant properties.

The use of this oil required special attention, as it causes photosensitivity, so its application should only be done at night or during the day for those who won't be exposed to the sun afterwards.

It is important to know that St John's wort affects the action of birth control pills and also interferes with several other medications, so it should not be used without prior advice.

There are many advantages to making our own natural products and macerations are the simplest we can do. Its use has numerous benefits and there is no reason not to try. Watch our video where we show you the details.

VIDEO - How To Make a Maceration - DIY Herbal Infused Oil

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