In a previous post we learned how to make oil infusions,and turn them into medicinal salves. Of course, infused oils are not just for medicinal use, you can make culinary infusions too. Either way, to make an infusion you will have to choose a base oil to infuse; so here we’ll be going over some of the oils you can use for oil infusions, with a couple bonus infusion ideas too.
Olive oil lasts longer, is readily available, and is less expensive that other oils. According to Olive Oil Times, it boosts your immune system and is effective against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Olive oil is really good for your skin too. People have used olive oil for centuries for personal care. It is a great skin moisturizer, in part because it contains linoleic acid, a compound that prevents water from evaporating.
Grape seed oil, will be lighter on your skin. It’s easily absorbed and gentle on the skin. Known in the cosmetics industry as a carrier oil, grape seed oil is used in a wide variety of commercially available creams and lotions. You can use this to your benefit when making your own quality infused oils.
Sesame Oil is known for its warming and medicinal properties. Vitamin E contained in sesame oil acts as excellent antioxidant thus it is useful to protect from free radicals and oxidation that come with sun exposure, and is often used as a moisturizer to repair damaged skin cells.
It is safe to apply sesame oil to inflamed or wounded skin and is used for treating skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help prevent bacterial infections. It is not necessary to add other ingredients or mix it with other types of essential oils. As the oil is extracted from sesame seeds, it is already an antibacterial substance.
Almond oil is good for dry, mature and sensitive skin. Skin irritation, such as itching and swelling, can also be reduced with topical applications of almond oil. There are many skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema that cause inflammation of the skin, as well as redness and an itchy rash. Apply almond oil for temporarily relief from the inflammation and irritation associated with these conditions.
For some, however, almond oil can be a skin irritant, so before applying it to the skin, a small patch test should be done to determine if you have an allergy, or sensitivity, to almond oil.
Palm oil is the second most common vegetable oil produced worldwide. It has benefits to your hair and skin, also containing Vitamin E (which as we mentioned earlier, is a strong antioxidant). It is useful in shampoos, soaps, and lotions for its ability to remove oil and dirt from hair and skin. It also contains an agent that helps restore the natural oils that most soaps and shampoos strip away.
Personally I avoid using palm oil because the industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced.
Coconut oil is the newest “go to” oil in the cosmetic business. It has properties of all the above oils combined. It has the strong disinfectant and antimicrobial properties. As a result, when applied on the skin, coconut oil protects you from microbial infections that can get into open wounds or even enter the body through the pores.
Other oils you might consider trying are castor oil, avocado oil, shea butter, walnut oil, even organic vegetable shortening has its own set of good for your skin properties. Check your local grocery store and see what kind of oil they carry.
How to use your infused oil
Your infusion may be just the creation you need for cooking. Consider adding basil, mint, lemon, pepper or garlic to your oil. Your imagination is the limit when it comes to herbal infused oils.
Herb infused oils are great for your body. Use them to remove makeup, make a salve from them, or add them to your own sunscreen. Learn the medicinal uses of the herbs you add to your infused oil for making targeted oils.
Some examples are:
Arthritis massage oil or salve. Ginger Root, Echinacea Herb, St. John’s Wort, Boswellia Serrata and Cayenne.
Sore Muscle – St Johns wort, ginger and a touch of cayenne to increase circulation
Dreamtime – Mugwort, lavender. and chamomile
Wound healing and chapped skin– calendula, yarrow. and plantain
These are just a few examples, there are so many! An infused oil is useful for many home remedies and complements your herb garden nicely. if you take the time to learn this useful skill, you will use it for years to come.