Saturday, April 4, 2009

How to make a Solar Infused Herbal Oil

Making a solar infused herbal massage oil is super easy and economical. Not to mention extremely satisfying.

What you will need is;

4 oz. of carrier oil (I like almond or jojoba)

1 oz of herbs (good ones to try are rosemary, lavender, arnica)

A glass jar with a lid

mesh strainer

Combine the herbs and oil in the glass jar and make sure the lid is tight. Set this out in a sunny spot in your window for several weeks. When you have determined the oil is done, strain through the cheesecloth and be sure to wring any excess oil from the herbs. LEt the oil sit overnight uncovered. The next day you can add essential oils (or not) up to 15 drops per 4 oz or as desired. Essential oils are optional but nice for making massage oil, bath oils, etc!

Some good oils to infuse for a nice massage oil are lavender (calming), lemon balm (rejuvanating), calendula flowers (Wonderful skin emollient) arnica (pain relief), rose petals (joyful) . Don't be afraid to experiment!

EDITED- One of my readers made a good point about my method in that everyone's process will not be as speedy as I am used to making solar oils in the strong desert sun! (oops! )

You indeed may have to adjust some of my recipes to where you are.

It may take many weeks or months for your oil to solar infuse depending on where you live. I would set your bottle/jar in a window or on a counter or shelf that gets sunlight during the day.

I am going to edit the above post.

**Alternately, you may also choose to infuse herbs into oil on the stovetop! I will talk more about that in a future post!


  1. Hi April

    I found your blog through your comment on Kiva Rose' latest posting. I just wanted to make a comment about sun infusing herbal oils - I hope you don't mind. It really does depend where you are in the world whether or not you can sun infuse or whether you need to do a double infused heat infusion. Leaving in the sun for several hours is really only possible in high summer in a hot climate such a Tucson. I'm in the UK and the only oil I sun infuse is SJW and I leave that in my kitchen windowsill for several months before I strain. You may find that your methods of producing infused oils change now you are living in New Hampshire. I cook mine in a double boiler or a crockpot for 2 hours, straining and adding fresh plant material to heat for another two hours. You also didn't mention about the need to let your infused oil stand for several hours or days if you are using fresh plant material so the oil and water content from the plant can separate effectively. Otherwise your oil may well go rancid. Essential oils can be good for preserving the oil, but they can mask the scent of the herb itself, unless you are adding specific oils for your massage. Good luck with all your herbal pursuits!

  2. Thanks for mentioning these things! Good points! I am sure on a learning curve now that I am out of the desert and back in the North East USA!

  3. To help the sun heat your herbal oil, you could use a solar concentrator, that is, something that reflects the sun back on to the bottle. You do not want the oil to get too hot, but take a look at some of the "solar ovens"for ideas on how to concentrate the sun's rays to help out where there is a weak sun. An actual solar oven could be used but you would have to watch it closely in order not to over heat your oil.
    Once you have removed the herbs you will need to separate any liquid from the oil to keep it from going rancid eventually. Place in the fridge for a few hours, the oil should solidify and the liquid will separate from it, the same way you remove fat from stock.