If you have been making your own body care products for a while, then you might have wondered about which carrier oils are the best oils for herbal infusions – I know I certainly have! The more bang for my buck that I can get into a homemade topical remedy, the better in my book, and here’s why:
Herbs, both freshly dried and fresh off the plant, contain powerful medicinal properties and complex aromatic substances like sesquiterpenes, phenols, aldehydes, etc., that are oil-soluble – meaning, they can be released by and infused into fats. These volatile oils are then available to use topically via the carrier oil you used to infuse the herbs.
I often use infused oils for salves, ointments, body butter, massage oils, lotions, and balms – to name but a few.
You can also infuse herbs into oil for culinary applications like flavorful salad dressings and dipping oils.
Some of my favorite recipes that use herb-infused oil include:
The Best Oils for Herbal Infusions
But which oils are best to use for herbal infusions?
The truth is, you can actually use any plant-based oil (or animal-based like lard, tallow, and emu oil) to create an herbal oil extract.
Since the constituents we’re trying to get out of the herbs using this method are oil-soluble, any sort of fat is going to work. You can use pretty much any carrier oil from common basics like coconut oil and olive oil to more exotic oils like andiroba oil or even plant butter like mango or cupuacu butter.
However, there are, of course, a few specific options that are going to give you the best results and it all has to do with shelf life.
Here is a list of a few carrier oils with long storage capabilities:
- Argan oil – 2 years
- Babassu oil – 2 years
- Castor oil – 5 years
- Coconut oil – 4 years
- Fractionated coconut oil – 5 years +
- Jojoba oil – 5 years
- Meadowfoam oil – 5 years
- Olive oil – 2 years
- Shea butter – 4 years
As you can see, the best oils for herbal infusions are going to be fractionated coconut oil and jojoba oil.
This is because these oils not only have a long shelf life of 5 years, they’re also the least expensive options for the amount of oil you would need to make most recipes.
Both of these carrier oils are odorless and work well for homemade recipes.
Jojoba oil will be lighter in texture and absorb more quickly into the skin whereas fractionated coconut oil is best suited for recipes that require more moisturizing properties and staying power.
Now, if you don’t have any of the options listed above, here are a list of a few more common oils you may have in your pantry and their shelf life:
- Almond oil – 1 year
- Apricot kernel oil – 1 year
- Avocado oil – 1 year
- Flaxseed oil – 6 months
- Grapeseed oil – 1 year
- Sesame oil (unrefined) – 1 year
These carrier oils can be used for herbal infusions just fine and they will extract the medicinal properties of the herbs you use the same as any other oil. You just have to pay more attention to the shelf life of the oil you choose to use.
Other than that, there is no oil that will extract more medicinal properties than another.
What have been your favorite oils to use for making herbal oil infusions?
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