The differences between infused oils and essential oils can be explained both in terms of quality and the way they are produced.
Essential oils are substances extracted directly from the plant body using the distillation method, and no substances are added at all during the extraction process.
The production method of infused oil is completely different. Plant tissues (usually leaves or flower petals, sometimes branches are used) are put into a container with vegetable oil and the bottle is placed in a warm place.
After 2 to 3 weeks or after the base oil in the bottle has absorbed the aroma from the plant tissues, it becomes a preliminary infused oil. Then remove the petals or leaves that have turned brown and add fresh plant tissue.
Repeat this process until the carrier oil has absorbed enough energy.
Thousands of years ago, long before people learned to make essential oils, they made infused oils.
The inhabitants of the East and the Mediterranean left bottles containing carrier oils and plant tissues in the sun until the production of infused oils was complete.
But the inhabitants of the British Isles mostly needed additional heat to complete the production of infused oils, except on extremely hot summer days, such as placing the infused oils on a warming cabinet or shelf above a boiler to keep them warm, or other similar means of providing constant heat.
Some people put the bottle into a shallow basin filled with water and then heat the shallow basin, but this method produces a poorer quality infused oil and is not as effective as traditional slow heating.
Because infused oils are so easy to make and do not require expensive equipment, anyone with fresh herbs or flower petals can use this method to get a great massage oil with little expense.
If you want to enjoy making your own infused oil, prepare a large, clean bottle, preferably a wide-mouth bottle. Place flower petals or leaves in the bottle (about 1/3 of the bottle’s volume) and pour in sweet almond, grapeseed, sesame, sunflower, or other good, mildly diluted oils (about the full size of the wide-mouthed bottle) and put the lid on as tightly as possible to prevent air from seeping in (air causes infused oils to rot quickly).
Place the bottle in a warming cupboard or on a shelf, and underneath the shelf is preferably the main unit of the central heating system. If the weather is very good, it would be better to place it directly in the sun. Sunbathe during the day, retrieve them inside at night, and put them back in the sun for continuous heating the next day.
When the petals turn brown in color, remove them and replace them with new ones. Repeat this step 2 to 3 times until you have enough infused oil. Finally, remove all plant residues and seal the bottle tightly to finish. If stored away from light and air, it can be stored for several months.
The composition of infused oil is complex and it should not be considered the same as essential oils. It is very safe to use infused oils if you follow the rules for using essential oils. Essential oils and infused oils made separately from the same plant do not have exactly the same effects; they have similar but complementary effects.
Although it cannot be said that the effects of infused oils are necessarily different from those of essential oils, infused oils may contain certain substances that are lacking in essential oils (base oils may absorb certain substances from plant tissues that are destroyed by the process of producing essential oils).
Plants that cannot be distilled to produce essential oils or have very low yields of essential oils can be used to make infused oils, which increases the variety of plants that can be used in aromatherapy. The famous infused oils are Claw’s Crocus (South African Crocus), which can treat rheumatism and arthritis, the pain reliever Hydrangea, the home remedy Polymerica and Echinacea.
These infused oils can be used as massage oils alone or mixed, all with excellent results, and mixed with base oils at a concentration of about 3% to 10%. Don’t forget that there are already many active ingredients in the infused oil, so if you still want to add essential oils, you can only add trace amounts.
Some people call infused oils flower-based infused oils (if they are made from flower petals) or herbal oils. Readers may have heard of another more technical name a leaf green alcohol, which also refers to infused oils.