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Herbal Oils - How and Why?

Herbal oils have been used for generations, spanning cultures worldwide. What is herbal oiling though?

The practice of herbal oiling, put simply, is utilizing infused oils in a way that facilitates health and wellness. There are many different ways to use herbal oils and each one has its own benefits. Many different cultures have known about herbal oiling for centuries and is deeply ingrained in healing traditions.





What is an Herbal Oil?

Infused oils are often mistaken for essential oils, which are very different. When a whole herb in infused in oil, it encapsulates so much more than just the volatile oils (aka essential oil) of the plant. Fixed oils extract certain constituents from plants including resins, volatile oils, and flavonoids (anti-oxidants).


There are two popular methods for oils infusions.


  1. The "Folk Method" - After preparing your oil infusion, cover the jar with wax paper and a lid. Shake a few times daily for at least a month. Strain oil and press the plant material. Let the oil sit for a day or two more to allow and plant particles to settle to the bottom of the jar, then decant the oil.

  2. The "Digestion Method" - After preparing your oil infusion, cover the jar with wax paper and a lid, and set it in a water bath. Some warming apparatus' include a yogurt maker or a crockpot (if it can stay at 100*). Set the apparatus to around 100* for at 24 hours to a couple days. Stir occasionally. Strain oil and press the plant material. Let the oil sit for a day or two more to allow and plant particles to settle to the bottom of the jar, then decant the oil.

*There are some herbs that prefer to be infused fresh, but these are few. A good rule of thumb is to use dried herbs.



Why Use an Herbal Oil

Now that you know the 'how', let's move onto the "why. Herbal oils are a beloved remedy for many herbalist of all different cultures. Oils provide a sensual vehicle that carries the nutritional and therapeutic qualities of herbs to the skin quite efficiently. They can be used both internally and externally.


Some lovely ways to work with oils-


Oil Pulling - this is typically done by swishing some oil around in your mouth (with coconut or sesame oil in the Ayurvedic tradition) and then spitting the oil out.

Dry Oiling - gently massage oil into dry skin, usually the face, to pull dirt and toxins to the surface. gently wipe the oil off your face with a warm/hot wash cloth.

Oil as a Moisturizer - this is best done on wet skin, so the oil will absorb more readily into your skin. a great practice for after a shower/bath/swimming.

In the Bath - pretty self explanatory. add some oil into your bath for moisture, nourishment, and absorption of the herbal constituents.



Ear Drops - garlic oil has a traditional use for ear aches and infections.

Internally - just as you would add some oil to your food, herbal oils can also be taken internally to coat the mucous membranes that line your digestive tract. *not all herbal oils are safe for consumption. check with your local herbalist before ingesting.

First Aid - certain herbs such as calendula, yarrow, plantain, and saint john's wort make excellent oils and salves for your first aid kit for wounds, scrapes, and sun burns

Skin Health - As stated in the beginning, oils are the perfect vehicle for delivering herbal benefits to your skin. Along with moisturizing, different herbal oils can help fight infections, soothe inflammation, promote skin cell regeneration, promote faster healing, and provide a protective layer for your skin.

Aromatherapy - since infused oils extract a plant's volatile oils, they can have a direct effect on your central nervous system and mental/emotional capacity.

Massage - last but not least, massage is a beautiful way to work with herbal oils. there are many different reasons for massage (pain relief, lymphatic flow, pleasure, grounding into/reconnecting with your body, healing from trauma, etc) and all of them benefit from adding herbal oils.



On a last note, we will be releasing a new herbal oil line soon. It includes 4 different oils. Each of them have specific benefits and are safe for external use only. To be the first to know when they are available, make sure to sign up for our newsletter, here.

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