There are several ways to infuse oils. It is noted the best way to extract valuable components of herbs into oils is by using the process of cold infusion. The process of cold infusing herbs into oils is by using dried herbs and placing them in a glass jar pouring a carrier oil over the dried herbs. The glass jar must be air tight and completely dry, free of water prior to placing herbs and oils into the jar.
One of my favorite Ayurvedic powders is Amla. I began using ayurveda for hair over 2 years ago to treat my falling hair issue of 3 years after giving birth to my last son. Amla oil was noted for stopping hair fall and darkening hair. I purchased a large bottle keeping hope alive my issue would finally be put to rest, and it was. After just one use of the oil I noticed my hair fall was put in check immediately. Problem was the oil was mineral oil based. I switched to using Amla in powder form once I realized how much mineral oil was in the Amla oil I'd purchased. Now that I know about the ease and benefit of infusing oils to suit my hair's needs I decided to make my own Amla oil. Here's what I did:
AMLA/BRAHMI Herbal Infused Oil
32 oz Clean/Dry Mason Jar with lid
16 oz First Cold Pressed Olive Oil
12 oz Grapeseed Oil
2 oz Neem Oil
2oz Whole Amla
1.5 oz Dried Brahmi
I started off using a 32oz clean, dry, mason jar with an air tight lid. It is VERY important the jar be clean and dry. Any small amount of water left in the jar can increase risk the oils turning rancid. Exposing your oil infusions to too much air will cause oxidation and also increase risk in rancidity. I'll touch more on different types of rancidity later.
Organic Dried Amla
Organic Dried Brahmi
4 oz of Amla and Brahmi Herb Placed into jar 1st.
Neem Oil was then added by pouring it over the dried Amla and Brahmi Herbs
I used the ratio of 1oz herb per 8 oz oil
I used a wooded craft stick to thoroughly blend the herbs and oils
Then I labeled the mason jar with the ingredients and the date it was made. I stored each jar in my closet at the bottom in a dark cool place. My closet is a pretty good size and is the coolest place in my home, free of sunlight and heat. After the first few days I opened the jar once each morning and smelled the oils to make sure the infusion hadn't gone bad.
What is Rancidity?
There are 3 different pathways to rancidification when infusing oils. Microbial, Hydrolytic, and Oxidative. Microbial rancidification occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria break down fat in the oils. This is prevented simply by sterilizing utensils and the area in which the oils will be prepared prior to mixing oils. I added Neem oil not only because it is an ayurvedic hair oil but it is also because it contains strong anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Oxidative rancidification is when the oils get exposed to too much air. This can be prevented by storing oils in an air tight jar and/or by adding an antioxidant to the oil mixture such as Vitamin E or Vitamin C. Oxidative rancidification usually occurs in unsaturated fatty oils. Finally Hydrolytic rancidification occurs when oils are exposed to water, mediated by heat, acidity, and alkalinity which often causes a breeding ground for microorganisms to grow.
Smell your oils daily for the first week to ensure your oils are not going bad. Then once per week until your desired infusion time is complete. This process is recommended by Mountain Rose Herbs where I purchased the dried herbs from.
Oils are currently available for purchase and pre-ordered for shipping 7/15/2012 here:
Ingredients for River of Jordan's Beautiful Hair Herb Infused Hair Oil also available 7/15/2012.