A critical component of our formulations is the blend of healing organic herbs we use. We don’t just toss some herbs in there and call it a day. Rather, we use a 6-week process of solar infusion to extract the medicinal properties of the herbs into a blend of organic olive and safflower oils. The process of herbal solar infusion is one of the oldest methods of medicinal extraction…we feel like we’re connecting with our ancestors every time we prepare a fresh infusion! For the history and botany geeks, check out this article for a historical timeline of the use of plant medicine.
This healing herbal oil is a star ingredient in our products and is a big reason why we’re different from other topicals on the market.
We start with 16oz of organic dried herbs such as arnica, ginger root, and comfrey. For a full list of all the herbs we use and their medicinal properties, check out this blog post. We source our herbs from companies who share our commitment to providing a clean, sustainable product. The herbs are placed in mason jars and covered with 96oz of blended organic olive and safflower oils, which gives us a 1:6 ratio of herbs to oil. This ratio is called the herb:menstruum ratio. The oils act as a solvent to soften and break the plant’s cell wall to release the herbs’ soluble phytochemicals into the oil.
The extraction process works best when done in gentle heat, which is where the sun gets to work its magic. After the herbs have been covered in oil, we add a little Vitamin E to help preserve its freshness, seal the jar tightly, and place it in a warm, sunny spot for 6 weeks. The sun will gently heat the oil and extract the plants’ goodness into the oil.
Shake It UP!
At least once per day, the jars are given a gentle shake. Stirring the mixture regularly encourages the transfer of the oil-soluble chemicals in the plant into the safflower and olive oils, thereby creating a more potent therapeutic blend. The length of time the infusion sits in the sun also determines the yield of extracted phytochemicals. Herbalists generally suggest 2-6 weeks, so we go for max time to get a very potent blend.
Strain…and strain again.
Once the infusion is ready, we double strain the herbs to make sure the oil is free from any remaining plant bits. Arnica is an especially hairy plant – it is made up of not only flowers but very fine “hairs”, so double straining is necessary to finish with a smooth, beautiful oil. Another dash of Vitamin E is added to preserve freshness of our finished oil, which is then stored in a cool, dark place until it’s ready for use in our Pain Relief Cream, Balm, and Massage Cream.
Try It Yourself
Now that you understand the process, try making your own solar infusion! How about some garlic rosemary olive oil to be used in your favorite pasta recipe? If you want a whole book full of great recipes and instructions on making your own herbal remedies, check out master herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar’s book, Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide.
We’ll be awaiting your dinner invitation to try out that pasta…😉