top of page

Oily extract (oil macerate)

Oily extract

Plant ingredients are usually readily soluble in oil, which can then be used as a massage oil and as a cream or ointment base. The first step is to decide whether freshly harvested or dried herbs should be used to make oil. To make 500 ml of oil, you need about 250 g of dried herbs, cut as small as possible; You need about three times as much fresh herbs as they contain a lot of water. Oil macerates made from fresh herbs also do not have a long shelf life, as the water contained in the fresh herbs will soon cause the oil to go rancid. Oil macerates can be produced as hot or cold extracts.


Hot extract

Put 250 g of dried or 750 g of fresh, but finely chopped herbs in a boil-proof glass bowl and pour 500 ml of olive or sunflower oil over the herbs. Place the glass bowl over a pot of boiling water (or use water bath dishes) and let the oil and herbs simmer for about 3 hours. Place cheesecloth over a pitcher and secure the cloth to the rim. Now pour the oily liquid into the cheesecloth and at the end squeeze the cloth well with the herbs it contains. This works even better if you have a fruit or berry press available. Now fill the filtered oil into clean, dark bottles and seal them airtight.

The hot extraction process primarily produces herbal oils from woody plants and root extracts. Fresh, very moist herbs should also be extracted hot to avoid clogging due to residual moisture. It should be noted that the hot extraction process is a rapid process, which is why the concentration of active ingredients is somewhat weaker than with cold extraction.

Ingredients and tools:

  • 250 g dried, fresh or root herbs,

  • 500 ml base oil,

  • heat-resistant glass bowl,

  • large cooking pot,

  • Linen cloth for filtering,

  • Funnel,

  • dark glass bottle for storage.


Step 1: Heat a large saucepan full of water. Meanwhile, put the herbs in a glass bowl and pour the base oil over them.

2nd step: The oil mixture in the glass bowl must simmer on a low flame in a water bath for about 3 hours. Make sure that no cooking water gets into the glass bowl.

3th step: Allow the herbal oil to cool thoroughly after the water bath before filtering it through the linen cloth and finally funneling it into the storage container. It should then be stored in a cool and dark place, preferably in the refrigerator.


Cold extract

Fill a large glass (e.g. mason jar) with the herbs and cover them well with the oil. Seal the jar and place it on a sunny windowsill for 3 - 6 weeks. Then pour the oil through cheesecloth into an appropriately sized container. Then squeeze out the residue well in the cheesecloth. Then repeat the whole process with new herbs, but this time use the herbal oil you have already extracted.

The cold extraction process is used in the production of herbal oils to extract active ingredients from soft, non-woody herbs or their flowers. These include, for example, nettles, marigold or linden blossoms.

Ingredients and tools:

  • desired herbs,

  • suitable base oil (e.g. sunflower or safflower oil,

  • large, uncolored screw-top jar (for oil extraction),

  • clean linen cloth (undyed),

  • drip tray,

  • Funnel,

  • dark glass bottle or vial (for storing the oil),

  • and, if necessary, essential oils (e.g. massage oil).


1st step: To begin, the herbs are placed in the screw-top jar. You can safely fill the glass to the brim with dried herbs before pouring it with a suitable base oil.

2nd step: Next, the screw-top jar is closed tightly and left to ripen in a bright place (e.g. the windowsill) for about 3 to 6 weeks. The container should be shaken daily so that the active ingredients of the herbs mix well with the base oil.

3rd step: After the maturation process, the oil mixture is then placed in a clean linen cloth and filtered into a sufficiently large collecting bowl or pot. To do this, gradually turn the linen cloth tighter until the oil flows out at the bottom due to pressure.

4th step: If a massage or fragrance oil is planned, you can now enrich the herbal oil with essential oils. The rule of thumb here is a dose of ten to 15 drops.

5th step: Finally, the oil is filled into the container intended for storage using a funnel. This should be dark (preferably brown or blue) and stored in a cool place, as light and heat accelerate the decomposition process and thus the oil becoming rancid.


Shelf life of herbal oils

Depending on the care taken during extraction and storage, herbal oils have a shelf life of six months to a year. The ingredients chosen are also a decisive criterion. For example, garlic oil can be stored for a little longer because garlic cloves inherently contain preservative ingredients. Almond oil, on the other hand, tends to go rancid much more quickly. However, at least for herbal oils that are not suitable for consumption (massage and fragrance oils), there is a little trick to increase the shelf life: the preservative Antiranz. It is used as standard for oil-based cosmetic products and massage oils to make them last longer. With herbal oil, just two to three drops are enough.

1 view0 comments

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page