How to Make Plantain Infused Oil
In the summer time, you’ll probably notice an abundance of plantain in your garden and lawns.
If you’re not sure what plantain is you can read my post on Plantain – Skin Healer in your Garden.
I’ve learnt to really value this plant who readily grows in our garden. I don’t see her as a weed anymore but instead a natural skin healer.
Plantain is wonderful at soothing any skin irritation including sunburn and itchy skin. Her detoxifying properties are well known for drawing out splinters as well as helping to heal acne.
Having a supply of plantain infused oil made from the plants in your own garden is very rewarding, beneficial, empowering and grounding.
The best part is that making your own infused oil is actually very easy. There are just a few steps to follow that don’t require a lot of time on our part. The plant and the carrier oil do most of the work.
How to make plantain infused oil
There are a couple of options on how to do this. One is a quick method using heat from a crock-pot or stove top which speeds up the infusion process.
The other is an older folk method called a cold infusion which takes approximately 4 – 6 weeks. I personally prefer the cold infusion slower method. Sometimes it is better not to rush things.
I believe good things can take time. Today’s world is busy and rushed. For me there is something sacred about following the old traditional methods that have been passed down over the generations. The plant is not rushed and the process is gentler on the oil and therapeutic properties.
Step 1 – Harvesting your plantain leaves
Some people prefer to make plantain infused oil using fresh leaves that haven’t been dried. This is meant to give a more potent oil. However, I am always concerned about the potential of water from the plant introducing bacteria and then spoiling the oil. So, I prefer to err on the side of caution and dry my plant material first.
Before you harvest, make sure you have a space ready to store the plantain leaves to dry that is away from direct sunlight.
Russell, my husband, made me a couple of drying screens which I use with a little bit of organic cheese cloth placed over the top to dry my herbs (see pic below).
Plantain leaves on my drying racks
Its best to harvest your plantain leaves around mid-morning. By then the morning dew has evaporated and before the intensity of the midday sun. I also pick a day where it hasn’t rained for a couple of days so that the moisture level of the plant material is at a minimum.
When harvesting I like to say a quiet thank you to the plant for allowing me to use its healing properties. It is up to you whether you do this or not. I believe saying thanks sends out an energy of gratitude and respect which can only become a positive ❤.
The amount of leaves I harvest depends on the size of the jar I’m using. I also make sure I only take a few leaves from each plant. This way the plant will continue to thrive while I still benefit from her goodness 😊.
Once harvested, carefully lay out the leaves in a single layer on the drying rack. Then place your rack in your selected area away from direct light and safe from contaminants to dry.
Plantain usually needs only 2-3 days to dry.
Step 2 – How to infuse
- 1 Mason / Preserving jar with lid
- Dried plantain leaves
- Organic, cold pressed nourishing carrier oil (olive, sunflower or sweet almond oil are great choices).
- Paper bag (optional)
Chop up your dried leaves and place in a clean Mason / Preserving jar.
Pour enough oil to cover the leaves by at least 2-3 cm and leave at least a 2 cm space at the top of the jar so the plant material has room to expand as it absorbs the oil.
Cover tightly with the lid and label your jar with the date, plant name and type of oil.
Place the jar in a warm spot away from direct light. If you like, you can place a brown paper bag over the jar to give it extra protection from the light.
Leave for 4-6 weeks. You do not need to open the jar again until you are ready to decant. But each day you can gently tilt the jar from side to side to encourage the infusion but this isn’t a strict requirement.
My plantain infusing in olive oil
Step 3 – How to decant and store
You will need:
- Jar with your healing plantain oil infusion
- Sterile bottle with lid to store your infused oil in (a narrow neck bottle is easier when using oil).
- Label for your bottle
- Fine organic cheesecloth
- Fine strainer/sieve
- Large measuring jug e.g. Pyrex jug to collect your plantain oil
- Gloves (optional)
- After 4 to 6 weeks, strain the plantain leaves and oil over a large measuring jug using a strainer/sieve with cheesecloth placed over (this further prevents small particles of plant material getting into your oil).
- Let the oil fully drain and then wring out the cheese cloth to get as much of the oil out of the plant material as possible.
- Decant your plantain oil from the measuring jug into your sterilised bottle and secure lid firmly. Discard plant material (if you have a compost you can put them in there 😊).
- Prepare a new label with the plant name, type of oil used and the date decanted.
- Store in a cool, dry location away from light, heat and moisture. The oil should keep for at least a year if stored properly.
TIP – One thing to be aware of is never let water anywhere near your oil as this may cause the oil to spoil and go rancid and make sure that all the containers you use are completely dry.
How to use
Plantain infused oil is perfect to use on its own to help heal skin irritations, soothe itchy skin or minor burns. Or you can use it in recipes for skin healing balms, butters and salves. It is good for just about any kind of skin infection or irritation.
Safety note – plantain is generally considered a safe plant. However, people who take blood thinners or are prone to excessive blood clotting should avoid plantain. If you are pregnant or nursing, it is best to consult a qualified practitioner before using plantain. As with any plant or substance, allergic reactions are possible and if in doubt, please do a skin patch test first.
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Published on January 15, 2019