Boy this harvest-year has been unlike any other year. Not only has it been the driest, I’ve been away traveling during key harvest periods. Every time I return, it seems like I am rushing outside to see who still is vibrant and flowing with their vital energy and ready to be harvested. It is paramount to harvest herbs during peak moments to capture their healing energies. That is, if you want your tinctures, oils and dried herbs to be potent. And of course, we do!
Normally, I have until mid-October to finish harvesting Goldenrod (Solidago spp.), but not this year. By the last week of September, most of the blossoms were turning, the leaves eaten and some fungi starting to show up. I had to get out there as quickly as possible to harvest some of my precious golden beauty while it was still available and, of course, leave some for our lovely pollinators. Working with Mother Nature is such a beautiful ballet, although challenging at times. Luckily, I have been harvesting a batch here and there all season and only needed a bit more for infused oils to ensure I have enough for the coming year.
Salves made with Goldenrod oil are very versatile. They are particularly good on old, slow-healing wounds that ooze and refuse to heal completely. A couple of years ago, my Mother had a little patch of skin removed due to skin cancer and the dermatologist recommended applying petroleum jelly daily when she changed her bandages for six weeks. After several days, she said the wound was hurting. I recommended that she replace the petroleum jelly with my Golden Relief salve (made with Goldenrod oil). Within several hours, she happily exclaimed that the pain was gone. The bonus was that it only took two weeks to heal completely, not six. It is no doubt a champion vulnerary. Goldenrod has been used for centuries. The ancient Germans considered Goldenrod to be the best wound herb and collected it before battle as a precaution. Its astringent and anti-inflammatory actions help tighten tissues; its analgesic, antiseptic, disinfectant, and anti-microbial actions all assist the body in healing quickly.
Moreover, Goldenrod’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic actions relieve muscle pains and aches including arthritis. It also provides quick relief when used for menstrual cramps. Nothing is better than massaging a little salve on my lower belly and finding relief within moments.
Finally, I love combining it with St. Johns wort and Arnica oil, creating a fabulous pain relief salve. The three work in concert to relieve pain from muscle and tendon injuries, aches, arthritis while reducing swelling. It really makes a powerful pain relief salve ~ that’s why I call it Pain Begone! As you can see, Goldenrod oil is essential to our apothecary.
Making infused oil
- Collect the flower tops and leaves. Make sure the leaves are free from fungus and blemishes.
- Tear apart the flower buds and leaves, discard stems and put in a clean dry glass jar.
- Fill jar ¾ full, don’t pack the jar tightly as herbs expand when they become saturated with the oil.
- Add oil (I prefer organic cold 1st press virgin olive oil) to the jar, leaving about ¼ inch from the top.
- Stir; make sure all the herbs are saturated and completely covered.
- Cap and shake.
- Label the jar with the name of the plant, oil, harvest location, and date.
- Put in a dry place that gets full sun. I put all my infused oils on a windowsill that gets southern exposure on the 2nd floor of my house. You might want to put a dish under it as sometimes the oil oozes out.
- Shake every day.
- Periodically, open and check for condensation on the lid and rim, if you find some, simply wipe off and recap.
- Wait 6 weeks. Just so you don’t forget, mark your calendar and note the date the oil will be ready
- Strain the oil through a cheesecloth or muslin and let sit over night
- The leftover herbs and moisture will have settled and you do not want that in your oil, so strain again through cheesecloth the next day. Sometimes you will need to strain the oil several times before it is crystal clear. It should not be cloudy or have any sediment.
- Your oil is ready, you can use it as is or make it into a salve.
Everyone has their own way of making infused oils; I put all my infused oils on a windowsill that gets southern exposure on the 2nd floor of my house and check periodically for condensation. The temperature stays rather constant throughout the year, reducing the likelihood of condensation. There are many ways to make infused oils. This is just one way. I have tried various methods, learned from many herbalists, read a great deal and this way resonates with me and gives wonderful results. Some herbalists only use dry herbs, others let their oils sit in the dark; or control the heat; let them sit for 2 weeks, a lunar phase…there are so many options. My way is just one way, my way; it just simply makes sense to me. Feel free to experiment and see what method works for you.
How do you make infused oil? Please share and I will continue to share.
All information is shared for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.