Thanks for sharing your herbal travails with us, MistressOfTheMoon.
I like to post my mistakes for others to learn from, too...as in, "Don't do it this way," lol. I love that rounded bottle in the picture you posted, an interesting design.
Out of the four types of heating processes mentioned in the OP, I think sun-infusion or double-boiler methods are best. Even a crock pot gets too hot, even at its lowest setting. I can't say I'm a big fan of directly
heating carrier oils, unless the "herb" in the oil is something very "hearty," like the lemon peels the lady in the video above (in the OP) used. Leaves and/or flower petals, I find, tend to be too delicate and fussy for direct heat. Maybe someone else has had good results with directly heating delicate herbs in oils, and could share their tips.
Personally, I don't heat herbs in an oil blend at all. I just let them sit in the oil, shake the bottle or jar, etc.
lilgeekess wrote:Now I do have some questions for you.
1. Will Apple Cider vinegar have the same effect on dried herbs? Break down their plant material for better infusion?
2. Does Apple Cider vinegar affect the scent of the oil? I am making elemental herbs and would prefer that they emitted a scent that resembled the herbs I put in.
3. Is it alright if I use "mild and light tasting" olive oil? I find that extra virgin olive oil overpowers the aroma of my herbs.
Any input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
1. Apple cidar vinegar (ACV) does break down the herbs' constituents. I don't know about a "better" infusion, but it's probably a quicker process than that of using oil, and quicker doesn't necessarily equate with better. I have heard of people using vinegar, or even using vodka as a solvent in which to infuse herbs. If those are all that's used (without the oil) I think it would be considered creating a "tincture
, rather than an "oil." As the guy in the Mountain Rose vid above mentions though, you could put a teaspoon or so of ACV in an oil infusion just to give it a boost. But, it appears that most people either use all-oil, or all-alcohol, or all-vinegar in their herbal infusions.
2. I have not used my precious organic ACV for herbal stuff, only because I like to use it for other things (like take it internally, use it as a hair rinse, etc.). But, now that you mention it, maybe I will buy some less-expensive ACV and try it in herbal infusions. I have
used vodka before, though (since alcohol is totally expendable to me, as I don't drink).
I tried an experiment last year: I bottled some magnolia petals in vodka, some in olive oil, and steam-distilled some others. The petals in the vodka have, to this day, stayed pretty much true to their original scent; not so with the oil-infused petals. They went kinda' acrid-smelling. And the magnolia petals really reacted poorly to the steam distillation from the git-go; they smelled awful (the heat was super super low, but maybe they just don't like being steamed). When I make the time to continue working on this project, I plan to add top and bottom notes to the base magnolia scent (maybe something citrus-y for the top, and something earthy for the bottom), pour the mixture into a nice glass spray bottle, and use it as an after-shower "body spray." But, all that's for another day I guess, haha.
3. After trial and error, I have come to the conclusion that even the mild olive oil is still too overpowering. I just switched altogether to almond oil for magical oils, etc. But, olive oil is great for home-made (dry) hair and skin products, as I have read in many places over the years that it is very similar to the sebum
, or natural oil that our glands produce. It is very compatible with the human body.