Many aromatic plants contain volatile oils which can be released by soaking them in vegetable oil. This is sometimes known as an infused oil, not to be confused with an infusion. These oils can then be used as carrier oils (eg. for massage), or can be used in recipes for cosmetic and medicinal ointments. There are two commonly used methods for preparing a macerated oil.

The first method, known as The Sun Method can be used with cider vinegar or witch hazel instead of vegetable oil, and will usually keep for up to 12 months.

  1. Finely chop fresh herbs and pack tightly in a sealable jar.
  2. Seal the jar and leave for 2 weeks in full direct sunlight. Shake jar daily.
  3. Strain and repeat steps one to three with fresh plant material, but using the same oil.
  4. Strain and pour into a dark glass bottle labelled with the name date.

The second method is called The Heating Method, and is used more commonly as it is faster and more practical if the oil is needed more immediately. Using this method will also allow the oil to be kept for up to 12 months.

  1. Place finely chopped herbs in a heat-proof bowl.
  2. Completely cover the the herbs with vegetable oil.
  3. Place the bowl over a pan of boiling water and heat for 1 hour.
  4. Remove the bowl containing the mixture from the heat. Strain and repeat steps one to three.
  5. Strain the mixture and store in a dark glass bottle (label with name and date).

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