Making Sun-Infused Massage Oil is Easy
I just finished bottling this batch of rosemary-infused massage oil and wanted to add a quick post here as a resource for others who may benefit from this preparation. Sun-infused or solar infused oils are a great way to incorporate natural resources like the Sun into our herbalism. In this case, I also used the Moon to mark the amount of time I allowed it to infuse.
About a month ago, I needed to seriously prune a wild rosemary bush that has been growing untamed for the past several years. I wound up with an armload of rosemary branches almost as tall as I am. Since then, I’ve been using them for fire cider, rosemary tincture, dried herb bundles and bottles for cooking, and then this preparation as well.
Rosemary is, simply put, a tremendously magical and ancient plant.
In oils it produces a warming and clarifying effect, which is why it is sometimes used for issues of insecurity, memory retention, and for grounding more erratic feelings. Rosemary is also known traditionally to alleviate inflammation and chapping, is indicated for arthritis and pain relief, and is also used as an antiseptic for treatment of minor scrapes.
Today’s preparation combines rosemary with sweet almond oil, a hydrating carrier with high levels of vitamin A and E which promote healthy skin. My intention was to create a massage oil I can use primarily for myself after long days massaging others. Depending on the effect you are going for, your sun-infused oil may call on different herbal allies.
- Sterilized mason jars
- Fresh or dried herbal material
- Carrier oil
- Bottles for finished project (make sure your funnel fits them)
My first step was to remove the rosemary from its stems. In this instance, I used fresh rosemary for the preparation. Depending on the specific herb or plant material you decide to use in your sun-infused oil, you may wish to dry it first. I recommend drying all herbs you plan to ingest as a precaution against botulism.
Next, I used a rolling pin to lightly express the oils in the rosemary. I filled my jars about 90% full with the fresh herb in order to make a more potent batch, then filled the jars completely with the massage oil. You could experiment with amount of material used in your own preparations. Many guidebooks will recommend covering your material with an inch of the carrier, but I’ve often found that difficult to judge since the herbs will often float once you begin pouring. In this instance, I simply poured in the oil until the jar’s contents reached the rim.
After sealing the jars, I took them up to my solarium and placed them alongside other plants receiving sun there. I made note of the start date and a bottling date one month later.
Some herbalists will recommend gently swirling the jars to aid in activation and release of the herbal oils into the preparation. What I observed and rather liked instead was the way the Sun’s progress throughout the day warmed different parts of the jars. If you looked carefully enough, you could even see where this created a slight flowing movement in the jar, indicating that a chemical change was happening within.
On my one month date, I brought the jars down to a clean surface, opened them and attached cheesecloth to the tops. Using the funnel, I filled my bottles by holding the jars at a tilted angle over the funnel and allowing the oil to stream into the bottle.
You’ll probably make a little bit of a mess with the last step, but since it’s a massage oil, you could just look at that as an opportunity for a quick herbal massage yourself. I know my joints and mind were thankful for the late afternoon rosemary hit (and the composter was happy for the remaining herbs).