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How to Make Infusions for Beauty Products From Your Garden Plants
A water based infusion is similar to a very strong tea. You will use about ½ ounce (14 grams) of dried botanical, or 1 ounce (28 grams) of fresh botanicals, to one cup of boiling water. Allow steeping, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes, then strain through a cheesecloth. You can use these types of infusions in lotions, creams, hair rinses, or used as is as a skin toner. If you are using the infusion as a skin toner or treatment for acne, refrigerate after use. Water infusions can keep for up to 4 weeks.
Most of the beneficial compounds of your botanicals are oil soluble, which means that they will release their health benefits when soaked in oil. Oil infusions are also great in lotions, creams, but they are vital for products that are waterless, such as ointments, massage oils, or balms. Oil infusions work best when made with dried plant material. You can create oil infusions by one of two methods:
- Warm Oil Infusions: This is a quick way of extracting the medicinal compounds from your plants. Put 1 cup of dried or 2 cups of fresh leaves, flower petals, or flowers in a large sauce pan. Cover your plants with 3 cups of a high quality oil such as sweet almond oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, or jojoba oil. Place that saucepan inside a larger pan of simmering water (or use a double boiler if you have one). Cover the pan with the herbs and allow to sit on the stove and simmer for about 2 hours. Keep an eye on the water level in the larger pan so that it doesn’t drop too low or boil. You want the water to be very hot, but not boiling. Turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain through a cheesecloth and discard the plants. Store the oil infusion in a glass jar with a tight lid. This oil should keep well in a kitchen cupboard for about one year.
- Cold Oil Infusion: This takes much longer but some people feel it is more natural. Use the same amounts of herbs and oil as for warm oil infusions, but place all ingredients in a glass jar with tight fitting lid. Place the jar in a sunny window, or outside in a sunny location and shake it once per day. You can leave this infusion for a little as one week or as long as 4 weeks. The longer it sits, the stronger your oil. Strain through a cheesecloth into another glass container. This oil will also keep for one year.
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