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Process of Plant Infusion

Updated: Apr 21

Drying Herbs- for culinary use or as herbal teas. After you harvest the plant materials, you can place them in a basket with a cloth or paper towel in the bottom to soak up any moisture, hang them up, or put them in a paper bag. Once they are well dried, put them into a glass jar and label them. Storing dried herbs in a dark and cool environment is best to prolong their shelf life. These dried herbs can be utilized throughout the year as tea, spices, infused oils, ground up for facial products, or distilled for hydrosols and essential oils.

Infusion or Maceration is another method of extraction used for plants and herbs, typically used for non-aromatic plants. However, I have successfully infused many dried aromatic plants from my botanical garden, including German chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and Yarrow (Acheilia millefolium).

Examples of Infused Oils:

Arnica (Arnica montana) flowers are used in the maceration process, while the plant's roots are used for homeopathic remedies. Arnica oil is useful as a compress when used as soon as possible on injuries with unbroken skin. Arnica oil is one of my favorites for reducing pain and inflammation in fractures, sprains, bruises, strained muscles, tendons, contusions, and swellings. It is excellent to use in a massage oil blend to reduce muscle and joint inflammation.

Precautions: Arnica oil should only be used externally, not internally. Do not use it on cuts or open wounds. It is best not to use arnica during pregnancy or while nursing. If taking blood-thinning medication, consult a physician.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) has incredible anti-inflammatory and vulnerary properties; it is particularly useful for imbalances of the circulatory system. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it useful in balms and salves for wounds, bruises, bedsores, and skin rashes. The infused oil is excellent for skin care, particularly eczema. In addition, it is a perfect hydrosol to add to skin care products.

Rosehip (Rosa canina) is exceptional for tissue regeneration and conditions such as facial wrinkles, premature aging, burns, and scars following surgery. Its ability for skin regeneration and repair is due to high levels of both gamma-linolenic acid (47.4%) and linolenic fatty acids (33%). These seeds also contain high levels of vitamin C, which assists the immune system and reduces the stress response.

St. John's Wort (Hypericum periforatum) is useful as an anti-inflammatory for wounds, mild burns, soothing inflamed nerves, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, sores, ulcers, muscles or organs in spasm, sprains, or bruises. The infused oil has a red color with a light scent and is fairly gentle to the skin. It seems to also have a beneficial effect on reducing stress and anxiety.

Use 5-10% in an aromatherapy blend with other carrier oils and essential oils.

Photosensitivity caution: Do not apply before going into the sun.

Process of Oil Infusion

Oil Infusion Process:

STEP 1- Dry the flower heads, herbs, or plant material for a day or two.

Method- Dry plants in a basket with a cloth or paper towel in the bottom to soak up any moisture, hang them up, or place them in a paper bag.

* This year was the first time I infused St. John's Wort oil with the daily fresh-picked flowers. I did this as an experiment to see if more of the hypericin would be present. The hypericin gives the oil its red color and is apparently responsible for the antianxiety effect of St. John's wort.

STEP 2- Once the plant material is dry, chop, crush, or grind it into small pieces or powder. You can infuse just one plant or a combination of plants like German chamomile (Matricaria recutita), rosehip (Rosa canina), and calendula (Calendula officinalis).

STEP 3- Place the plant material into a glass jar and cover it with a base of organic olive oil (Olea europaea) or organic jojoba oil (Simmondsia chinensis). Both oils have a very long shelf life and will not go rancid. Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) is the best choice for delicate and aromatic flowers. Remember to use a label with the ingredients and date of infusion.

STEP 4- This mixture is then left in a dark, warm environment for four to eight weeks, shaking the mixture daily 100 times until the base oil has absorbed the properties and essential oils from the plant material. When you see the plant matter degrade, it is time for the next step.

STEP 5—Drain off and filter the plant matter using a funnel and strainer. If there are any small particles, use an additional paper filter or cheesecloth.

STEP 6- Bottle - It is always best to store the finished product in a dark amber bottle.

STEP 7- Label- Include the common and botanical name of the plant and the date of final processing and filtering.

Alcohol Infusion: This process allows you to use freshly harvested plant material without drying it first. It is typically utilized for non-aromatic herb plants like Motherwort (Leonurus cardiac) and Echinacea Root (Echinacea purpurea) used as herbal tinctures. Follow the same instructions for the oil infusion.

Resources Chemistry of St. John's Wort: Hypericin and Hyperforin;

Comparison of German St. John's wort products according to hyperforin and total hypericin content; ; Retreived10/06/2022

Clinical use of St. John's wort; ; Retreived10/06/2022


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