Originally posted May 15, 2018.
Herbals: Infusing Carrier Oils for Self-Care
One of my hobbies is aromatherapy. I see studying the plant world as an extension of my life-long gardening hobby. I studied at Liz Fulcher’s Aromatic Wisdom Institute, and had the best time learning about how to judge the quality of essential oils, how to mix them and all about carrier oils as well. I especially love infused carrier oils and salves. They have such nice scents and are so calming and have strong, grounding energy.
I myself use the plant world as part of self-care, as emotional balancing, whether it is practicing forest bathing by walking in the woods, spending a day working in my garden, going to a local arboretum to enjoy the professional naturalized plantings, bringing cut flowers in the house or using the grounding energy of the carrier oils and flower essences during stressful times.
One of the DBT Skills for managing your emotions is distracting yourself from intense anxiety, anger or depression using your five senses. Grounding yourself somatically helps bring you back to the moment so you don’t disassociate into strong emotion. As a healing ritual, I give my clients homework to create their own Comfort Kit. You can prepare infused carrier oils or salve to be part of this kit.
The Comfort Kit includes a small token to awaken all five senses, helping ground a person into his body with scent, touch, sight, sound and motion, bringing him back to the moment. Read more about creating a personal Comfort Kit here.
You can buy so many different types of carrier oils at your local heath food store or in good drug stores. And, of course, online there is a nice selection. I do both, I buy comfrey oil online and calendula oil online. And I make my own as a hobby. I plan some time on a relaxed day and spend some quiet time making oils.
Its a relaxing hobby and a way to be in touch with natural herbs and oils, and emotionally satisfying. It’s part of my gardening hobby, as I collect herbs from my garden to dry and to use in infusions. It’s also very easy. You can’t go wrong! We have fairly long winters here in New Jersey, and the 2018 winter was dragging on, so I started some oils in March, as a way to life my mood. There were so many big snowstorms this year in NJ! I’m looking forward to working in my garden. I don’t have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but my mood needed lifting. I decided to make my own comfrey oil to use on my leg that has issues from a bad break (long healed, but still has pain) and my own calendula oil for a family member who has skin issues.
In the summer, I’d use fresh herbs, but I do live in NJ, so I ordered some dried herbs. I ordered organic dried comfrey leaves and organic dried calendula flowers I then checked around the house to see what carrier oil I’d like to use as a base. I was torn between organic olive oil and organic jojoba oil. I decided on organic olive oil as I always use jojoba oil and thought I’d try something different! I had some eight (8) ounce mason jars around the house from some other projects, so I decided to use those. I was very excited when my herbs arrived! It was like a breath of fresh air and so fun to feel the natural herbs in my hands! Very cheering to receive this brightness in the doldrums of March snow and mud!
It was fun to plan a morning to make my oils! I sterilized the mason jars by boiling them in a pot. placed in a steam basket. I then filled the jars a little more than halfway with the the dried herbs. I like a nice strong, colorful infused oil, so I added maybe more than necessary!
Then, I covered the dried herbs with the organic olive oil, date labelled the jars and put them on a windowsill that can be sunny when it’s not constantly snowing in NJ!
I waited 4 – 6 weeks later! And voila! Nicely scented and beautifully colored infused oils to be used for healing purposes! Strain the herbs out through cheesecloth, rinse out the jars and put the oil back in the jars to be used as needed! Take in the joy of creating, the beauty of the plants that surround us on this earth, the scents and the tactile feeling. Enjoy! Here are the oils just one week in! Its hard to see the golden and green colors, but it’s there and the saturated colors are rich and beautiful!
All “cooked!” The finished product!
I poured the oil into sterilized jars and added a capsule of Vitamin E oil for a preservative, although the herbal pills should last about a year if kept in a cool dark place. I plan to make a salve mixing the two oils with some beeswax and maybe some anti-inflammatory essential oils. I’ll keep you posted!
I think my next oil is going to be dandelion oil for its anti-inflammatory properties, so I can use it on my leg that was broken and repaired via surgery, as it tends to swell. Now that its spring, the dandelions are already coming up all around the yard and we don’t spray our yard with herbicides at all. I’ll have fresh dandelions to use in my next herbal infusion!