HERB - Question about making oils & extracts was: Making vanilla extract/infused oil

Christina Bean tbean at one.net.au
Mon Nov 27 22:35:05 PST 2000

Depends on what you are trying to do. Period recipies never have specific
quantities it is all add a handful and heat the oil or stand it in the sun
for two weeks then strain it and add another handful and so forth.
I find that in general if you are doing period recipes then a couple of
hanfuls of herb to about 500mls works fine. But if you use petals then they
will soak up more oil then leaves and stems will.
Dry herb tends to be stronger than fresh herb. This is because the water has
left the herb leaving a larger concentration of the active ingredients
behind. So I prefer to use dry herb rather than fresh. I also leave the herb
aqnd oil out in the sun for a couple of weeks. This works really well in a
hot Australian summer but if you want to make batches in the winter then it
can go mouldy. So it is best to put it in a really low oven with the door
open, or next to a heater. You don't want to heat it up to much or you will
denature the oil and destroy and heat labile constituents of the herb.

This is part of a collegia I have taught on different preparations of Herbs.
The first part is just a couple of references to infused oils in period the
next is my recipe that I have found to be effective and that is based on the
different period methods I have read about.

“Oil of roses is made thus. Some boil roses in oil and keep it. Some do fill
a vessel of glass with roses and oil, and they boil it in a cauldron full of
water, and this oil is good
An Herbal: 68

Ye root laid on with oil heals wounds, & with Polenta ye Erysipelata, but
being beaten small, and anointed on with oil it moves sweates.”
Dioscorides: 423
“The leaves, floures, and seeds stamped, and put into a glasse with oile
olive, and set in the hot sun for certain weeks together, and then strained
from those herbs, and the like quantite of new put in and sunned in like
manner, doth make an oile of the colour of bloud, which is a most pretious
remedie for deep wounds and those that are thorow the body, for the sinues
that are prickt, or any wound made with a venomed weapon.”
Gerard: 123.

“The oile of ripe Olives mollifieth and asswageth paine, dissolveth tumors
or swellings, is good for the stiffenesse of the joynts, and against cramps,
especially being mingled according to art, with good and wholesome herbes
appropriate unto these diseases and griefes, as Hypericon, Cammomill, Dill,
Lillies, Roses, and many others, which do fortifie and increase his
Gerard: 264.

“The way of making them is this; Having bruised the herbs of flowers you
would make your oil of, put them into an earthen pot, and to two or three
handfuls of them put a pint of oil, cover the pot with a paper, set it in
the sun about a fortnight or so, according as the sun is in hotness; then
having warmed it very well by the fire press out the herb, &c. very hard in
a press, and add as many more harbs to the same oil; bruise the herbs in
like manner, set them in the sun as before; the oftener you repeat this, the
stronger your oil will be. At last when you concieve it strong enough, boil
both herbs and oil together, till the juice be consumed, which you may know
by its bubbling, and the herbs will be crisp; then strain it while it is
hot, and keep it in a stone or glass vessel for your use
.The general use of
these oils, is for pains in the limbs, roughness of the skin, itch, &c. as
also for ointments and plaiters.
Culpeper; 290.

Modern Infused Oil.
Olive oil
Herb, about 50g worth.

Steep the herb, or herbs in olive oil, out in the sun for about two weeks.
Then strain and press the oil.
Oils of this type can be used for massage (massage is period), to put into
creams, or as a skin treatment. They should not really be used on an open
wound as the oil can sometimes inhibit healing.

-----Original Message-----
From: sunshinegirl <sunshinegirl at steward-net.com>
To: herbalist at ansteorra.org <herbalist at ansteorra.org>
Date: Tuesday, 28 November 2000 5:33
Subject: HERB - Question about making oils & extracts was: Making vanilla
extract/infused oil

>> > Vanilla Oil/extract
>> > Ingredients/supplies needed:
>> > 8 Vanilla Beans
>> > 4 oz - 100% Pure Pressed Sweet Almond Oil
>> > 6 oz.- Vodka (40% ALC/VOL - (80proof)
>As strong as Vanilla is, this seemed like a lot of beans for a small amount
>of product.   Which led me to wonder, is there a standard percentage of
>to alchohal/oils when making extracts and etc?   If so, what is it?   Or is
>every recipie different?
>For those of you who read the original post, would this be a good basic
>recipie for other herbs as well?
>Can you use dried herbs when making oils and extracts, or should you always
>try for fresh?
>Go to http://lists.ansteorra.org/lists.html to perform mailing list tasks.

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