In my last post I said I was going to talk about the reasons why I chose the method that I used to make an herbal coconut oil. So here I am, the one that you love. 🙂 Sorry but that 80’s song popped in my head as I wrote that. lol
Anywho…I was on Annie’s Remedies and stumbled across this page that talks about the different methods for making an oil infusion. “Great”, I said to myself! After reading the entire page, I decided on the solar crock pot method. Wait a minute! That was not listed on the site so what in the heck are you talking about ?!! I know that’s what you are saying. Let me explain. What I mean by that is I use the solar infusion method where you are putting the herbs and oils into your jar but instead of the Sun, a crock pot will be the heat source.
English: Slow cooker/ Crock pot’s parts This photo depicts the major parts of a crock-pot, namely the heating component, the ceramic pot and a glass lid. This particular crock-pot is made by RIVAL. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Why do it that way? I’ll tell ya. I liked the sound of the crock pot method but I did not want the hassle of having to transfer the heated oil and plant material from the crock pot into the jars. Ditto for the double boiler method. Plus, the lady who gave me the inspiration to infuse my own oil burned herself. She was using the double boiler method. I don’t remember the exact details but the jar shattered after putting the hot oil into the jar. Needless to say I was not to keen on trying it myself.
Sooo, I thought about the solar infusion method. I liked the sound of the solar method but the only place where I get 6 or more hours of Sun is along my driveway which is in the front yard of my house. That means I’d have to put the jars out there everyday and remember to bring them in at night or the threat of rain etc. Not such a good idea and gives me more to do when I have to leave the house. Also the neighborhood cat
When It’s an Auspicious Day, the Cats Will Play (Photo credit: Jezlyn26)
who’s a sweetie by the way, would probably think that the jars are toys so there’s no telling what would happen to them. However, I liked the idea that once I got the herbs and oil in the jar that was it until I was ready to strain the material out for use. And I only have to handle hot oil one time.
So I though hmmm, maybe I can combine the two. I know that on low heat, my crock pot heats slowly and I did not have to worry the oil burning, the water going too fast and all that other jazz one must be concerned with in dealing with oil and a stove. And since I to do my infusions in the winter, it doubles as a humidifier. Now that’s true multi-tasking. Love that!
OK, sounds great right but why does it take so long you ask? I think it’s because of the low heat being used and the use of dried herbs.
Can you speed up the process by using high heat? Maybe, if you are using oils that can tolerate high heat such as coconut oil. But from my research on infusing oils and from talking to a herbalist, high heat destroys the herb. Of course I did not want to destroy the herbs otherwise what’s the point of doing herbal infusions, right? I had previously done an herbal infusion by heating the herbs and oil for several hours but I was not impressed with the resulting oil. The second time, I left the herbs in for 8 weeks and 3 months. Again there did not seem to be any difference in the infused oil vs plain coconut oil. Maybe the infusion would turn out different if I had used fresh herbs.
Again why so long and why not use fresh herbs? I wanted a product that did not have any water content. When a product has water in it you have to contend with spoilage and I did not have nor want to have to deal with chemical preservatives. As I mentioned in the video, plants have a high water content when they are fresh. Using dried herbs lets me get around that to a degree because the water has been, of course dried out. I’m not a herbalist but my theory is because of the lack of water present, it takes awhile longer to get the herbs to release the good stuff. Remember the old school wine commercial quote ” A fine wine takes time”? I bet the same thing applies with herbal oil infusions…at least for me. The proof is in the pudding as I am continually amazed at how my locs feel and look after using my herbal oil infusion as opposed to when I was using virgin coconut oil straight. So this stuff is spiked, kicked up a notch… BAM. 🙂
In the last post, I forgot to include pics of what the oil looks like after the infusion process and 6 months or more of “simmering”. lol
This jar was done February 2012. Because I don’t need to use much on my hair and I did about 3 jars in 2010, I have not cracked this one open yet.
This is the oil after the plant material has been strained out. Like the pic above the oil is somewhat solid because coconut oil goes from liquid to solid at temperatures below 77 degrees. The aloe powder settles to the bottom of the jar.
Here is the oil when it’s above 77 degrees and the aloe powder mixed. As you can see it’s the very dark green/brown that I mentioned in the last post. That’s probably due to the aloe powder, nettle, hibiscus and sage. I have another herbal infusion that I’ve done that does not have those herbs but some of the others I mentioned and it’s a tan color.
In another post I’ll go into the why’s of each ingredient I decided to use as I did not do that in the videos I posted on here and on my YouTube channel.