We nature lovers greatly appreciate oily macerates; these homemade products are recommended for our well-being and our interior. Oily macerates. To extract the oils, specialized laboratories proceed either by steam distillation (of water) or by centrifuge (pressure for citrus fruits, concerning their peel). Processes are complicated to transpose at home.
The steam moistens the plant material; its plant tissues rupture, releasing the essential oil; the steam carries away the essential oil; both are then cooled in an exchanger and separate easily. Large quantities of flowers and herbs are needed, not to mention specific instruments, such as stills.
It is, however, possible to make oily macerates (to be precise, oolites) based on herbs and flowers from the garden and vegetable patch, from vegetable oil (the carrier oil), whether the latter is an oil extra virgin olive oil, almond oil or sprouted grain oil. The concentrates obtained are less potent than those on the market, but what satisfaction to have made them yourself.
Oily Macerates: Preliminary Remarks
For convenience, let’s start with olive oil, available in any self-respecting kitchen, and a 250ml cup for our measurements. For skincare, we recommend sweet almond oil. Depending on the season, you will use the following herbs: lavender, violet, mint, lemon balm, rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, rose, St. John’s wort, etc.
Make sure that these products are of organic origin, without pesticides. They will be used individually or in pairs, for example, rose and lavender. It is best to pick the aerial parts of herbs and flowers early in the morning before flowering. Don’t forget to remove (without killing them!) small insects. Wash the plants, then dry them with a paper towel.
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Oily Macerates: The Cold Method
Ingredients for a 750ml bottle:
- 250ml vegetable oil
- 1 cup 250ml fresh leaves, spices, herbs or flowers
Place your leaves and flowers, lightly crushed beforehand (using a wooden pestle or a rolling pin), in a plastic bag and close it. This operation allows the oil to be extracted from the aerial parts of the plant. Immediately afterward, please place them in a large glass vase with a wide opening that can be closed with a cork stopper with vegetable oil: little by little, the official plants release their aromas.
Install the vase in a warm place, avoiding, however, direct contact with the sun’s rays for a period ranging from 24 to 48 hours. Then filter through cotton gauze. Store your essential oil in a dark glass bottle with a dropper. You can enhance the fragrance and concentration of your macerate by adding an equal amount of fresh herbs and flowers (they must fit in the 250ml cup). You should place them in a plastic sack at some point.
After having crushed them, you will add them to the oil previously obtained. Repeat the ritual a 3rd or even a 4th time until the fragrance has reached the desired intensity. At the end of the process, filter your liquid again using cotton gauze. Transfer everything, through a funnel, into a dark glass bottle with a dropper cap or into a standard bottle you will keep in a dark place.
Oily Macerates: The Hot Method
The hot method involves cooking the oil and herbs. For this, you need the following:
- 250ml vegetable oil
- ¼ cup 250ml fresh leaves, herbs, spices or flowers
Pour oil over your intact herbs (do not crush them) and place everything over low heat, in a bain-marie in a large saucepan with a thick bottom, for 6 hours. Leave to cool, filter with cotton gauze, then transfer the mixture to a dark bottle.
This oily macerate can thus be used during the six months following its preparation. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after each use and avoid rubbing your eyes. Never add water to the oil.
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