Aromatherapy and Infused Oils
Infused oils are another type of oil used in aromatherapy. Infusion is an extraction process that does not involve boiling. Rather, an ingredient, usually a herb, is steeped or soaked for a period of time in some type of liquid so that its active ingredients or soluble elements can be removed. A gentle heat source is needed, such as the sun. When steeped or soaked in oil, the end result is infused oils.
Infused oils can be used several different ways. They can be added into ointments, creams, lotions, shampoos and other personal care products that are applied topically. In aromatherapy, infused oils are commonly mixed into essential oils or carrier oils. Some people prefer to use infused oils without first mixing them into other ingredients. Unlike essential oils, infused oils are not nearly as concentrated, making them safe to use alone.
Many who practice aromatherapy prefer to use infused oils instead of essential oils. Depending on the plant, it sometimes is just not possible to extract a sufficient quantity of essential oils to make the process cost-effective or worthwhile. Many infused oils provide the user with multiple benefits, which is another reason why they are preferred. Probably the biggest reason why people prefer infused oils is because they can create their own easily and inexpensively.
Creating your own infused oils is easy. You need just a few items: a glass container with tight-fitting lid, a slightly crumbled, completely dried herb or plant, and cold-pressed carrier oil. Using dried herbs is better than using fresh as the moisture contained in fresh can cause mold to develop.
After you’ve gathered your ingredients, simply place the herb/flower/plant into the glass container, fill the container half-full with your preferred cold-pressed oil (olive or sunflower work well), cover tightly and place in the sun or next to a heat source for a minimum of 24-hours. A windowsill works just fine.
When the steeping process is finished, hold a sieve over another container and filter the oil. Next, pass the sieved oil through a piece of cheesecloth. Be sure to squeeze the cheesecloth so you get every drop! And make sure you have removed every piece of plant matter to avoid spoilage.
If you would rather not make your own infused oils, don’t worry. You’ll find plenty of outlets that sell infused oils, especially on the Internet. All you’ll need then is your credit card and a shipping address.
Examples of infused oils
St. John’s Wort
This infused oil is great for soothing and moisturizing any type of skin. It is also effective when applied after exposure to the sun.
Oil infused with calendula is used by many for its healing qualities. It helps soothe skin and it can also help to balance out skin that is oily.
Arnica infused oils are great to use when massaging. In liquid form, it’s an excellent alternative to arnica cream. Just be sure to keep arnica infused oils away from open wounds.