Materials needed (Method 1 requires patience, or you can skip to method 2):
- Therapeutic Grade Herb - I cannot stress this enough! It must be therapeutic grade, not soap grade or you are wasting valuable oil.
- Cold pressed Vegetable Oil that is readily absorbed (Almond or Sunflower are best)- High Oleic Sunflower has a longer shelf life, I prefer to use this as there is a least likely chance of allergies.
- Vitamin E (Optional)
- Mason jar- (I use a 1 litre jar, it holds approximately 100 grams of petals and 1000 grams of oil and without a proper press yields about 600mL's of finished product.)
- Muslin bags or cloth.
- Dark Amber bottle
- Stuff as many aerial plant parts as possible into the mason jar (this is the infusion method for all aerial plant parts).
- Fill the jar with your chosen oil to the top.
- Let sit for a few minutes until all the air bubbles escape.
- Fill again.
- Repeat steps 1-5 until the jar is full and no air bubbles relaim. Stirring the mixture with a VERY clean spoon (preferably sterile) helps the process go quicker.
- Close jar, write on the lid what date you made the oil. Count 6 weeks from that date and label when it will be ready. Don't forget to label the ingredients and the weight you added of each. If you added 100 grams of Petals and 1000 grams of oil, this will make a 10% concentration of herb to oil. (100/1000 = 10%)
- Place the jar in a sunny window for 6 weeks, turning every so often.
- When the oil is infused (the second date on your lid) pour oil into a clean glass container.
Remove the oil soaked herb and using a muslin bag or potato press, squeeze the herb so the oil drains into the same container. This is the most concentrated oil and you want to keep it.
- Continue to do this until no oil can be squeezed out. It will take muscle strength and patience.
- Discard the herb (or in the case of some herbs, save to add as colourant for soap later).
- Let the infused oil sit overnight covered to allow all the sediment to fall to the bottom.
Run the oil through muslin cloth again and bottle in dark amber bottles. Adding Vitamin E to the oil will prolong it's shelf life. (Add it at a rate of 100IU to 1oz of oil).
You now have sun infused Calendula oil!
Method 2 (not as hard, but also not as effective due to the heat used):
- Follow Steps 1-5 above.
- Place closed mason jar in a pan filled with water (like a double boiler).
- Place in the oven on the lowest temperature for 4-6 hours checking often.
- Follow steps 8-13 above after 4-6 hours.
- The reason this method is not as effective is due to the high heat used to infuse the oil. It kills much of the good qualities of both the oil and the herb.