How to Make Herbal Oils

Natural herbal oils are soothing and nourishing for the skin. Learn the benefits of homemade herbal essential oils.

They act as a lubricant to carry the active principles of the herbs in rubs, massage oils, and salves.

There are 2 methods to make herbal oil infusion; hot and cold.

Hot is used for thyme, rosemary, comfrey root, and spices such as cayenne, mustard, and ginger.

Cold is used for flowers.

Infused herbal oil - hot method

To make 1/2 pint of natural herbal oils (250ml.):

  • Chop 2-3 oz. (50-75g) dried herbs or spices or 3-4 oz (75-100g) fresh herbs
  • Put half into a clean pan with a lid
  • Cover with 1/2 pint (250ml.) pure vegetable oil (a pure and light vegetable oil is the best)
  • Put in a water bath and simmer gently for 2 hours. (It is important that direct heat is not used, as it might burn the oil)
  • Strain
  • Throw away used herbs
  • Put remaining half of herbs in pan
  • Cover these with oil (It will have changed color, having picked up some of the quality of the herbs)
  • replace lid and return to water bath for another couple of hours
  • Strain
  • Pour oil into clean bottles, label, and date

This double method makes a strong infused oil which can be used as it is, mixed with tinctures for a liniment, or thickened with beeswax (for a thin cream, use 1 part beeswax to 10 parts infused oil; for a thick salve, use 1 part beeswax to 5 parts infused herbal oil).

Example of infused herbal oil - cold method:

Saint John's Wort Oil

  • Pick the flowering tops
  • Put into a pestle
  • Add a small amount of pure light vegetable oil such as sunflower oil(pour just enough cover)
  • Pound together to crush, bruise, and start releasing the oil
  • Put into a large clear glass jar
  • Cover with more oil so that all the herb is well covered
  • Shake well
  • Add another inch of oil
  • Leave outside in direct sunlight for 20 days
  • The oil will turn red when it is ready

Use natural herbal oil for skin, healing nerve damage, as a base for massage oils or as a salve.


A liniment is a soothing rub to relieve fatigued and stiff muscles and joints.


  • Put the fresh herb in a jar
  • Cover with olive oil
  • Leave for up to 6 weeks
  • Strain the mixture through a cloth
  • Stand until the oil separates off
  • Use the oil

These guidelines for how to make herbal essential oils will get you started. You will find that natural herbal oils have wonderful healing qualities that you will want to take advantage of over and over again.

Information on this site is provided for general information purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional.

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