The one thing I have here in abundance is comfrey
Lots and lots of comfrey
Comfrey is an exceptionally useful plant. The one thing it is very good at is healing and soothing skin. Infusing oil with comfrey is one way to access this plant’s skin nurturing properties.
I am going to use olive oil here which will eventually be used to make soap. If I was making a salve or a lotion for my skin I would use either grapeseed or sunflower oil as I find olive oil is too heavy to apply directly to my skin. Both grapeseed oil and sunflower oil have many benefits and they are more readily available and affordable than other commonly used oils such as jojoba or avocado, at least in my neck of the woods.
Since I am using the infused olive oil to make soap, I wasn’t concerned with the quality of the oil. In other words, you don’t need cold pressed extra virgin olive oil for soap. Plain old, ordinary, on-sale-at-your-local-grocery-store olive oil will do just fine. Of course comfrey is not the only herb that can be used to infuse oil. Chickweed, calendula, lavender, rose petals, violets, St. John’s Wort, and dandelions are all excellent choices. Be aware that some herbs do not make a good oil, even though they have healing and demulcent properties. Examples include horsetail and mullien, which make an oil with an unpleasant texture.
If you are using fresh herbs, let them wilt overnight. If you are using dried herbs, you can skip this step.
Once the herbs have wilted, chop them up.
Place the chopped herbs in a clean, glass jar and cover with oil. Make sure that all the plant matter is covered.
You will need to cover your infusing oil to keep it free of dirt, dust, insects, and other impurities. However, infused oils are subject to mold and you want the oil to “breath” so that any extra moisture can evaporate. You can cover your jar with cheesecloth, an old tshirt, or a hanky and an elastic band. I had some window screen left over from a screen repair and I cut some to fit the inside of a canning jar ring.
Once your jar of oil is covered, label it with the name of the herb (or herbs, you can certainly use more than one herb), the oil used, and the date. DO NOT skip the labeling step as one jar of green oily stuff looks like any other jar of green oily stuff.
Place the jar in a sunny window to cook for about 6 weeks. Check every now and then to make sure that the sun is not burning the herbs or that mold is developing. Discard any oil that is burnt, moldy, or smells rancid.
After 6 weeks, strain your oil. You can use a mesh strainer, cheesecloth, coffee filters, old tshirts or dish towels. DO NOT press or squeeze the plant material. This will result in cloudy oil with solids bits that will be more likely to go bad. Once your oil has been strained, pour it into a glass bottle for storage and label it. I store my oils in the fridge, but I don’t think this is strictly necessary for oils that will not be used internally. Use your common sense. Your infused oils will keep for about a year. Discard any oils that have gone moldy or smell rancid.
How would you use infused oils, or maybe you already have? Leave your comments below and let us know.
Remember that I just some stranger on the internet. Nothing said here is to be taken as medical advice and you should always rely on your own judgement and common sense. Any attempt to duplicate the activities shown are are entirely at your own risk.