Corin Royal Drummond wrote:Here are some extemporaneous tips and pet peaves regarding herbs.
* If you want to make herbal oils and salves, don't stir them around in a double boiler. It makes the herb gods angry. Instead use the intermediary solvent extraction method which goes thusly: For every ounce of herb use 7 ounces of olive oil and 1/2 ounce of pure ethanol (95% counts as pure because if you open pure ethanol it will absorb water from the air). Grind the herb to a fine powder in a blender, taking care not to scorch. A chunk of dry ice in the blender can help with this, as can freezing the blender and herb beforehand. (Courtesy Adam Seller) Dump the powdered herb in a sealable container and moisten with 1/2 part ethanol (so if you have 3 ounces of herb, that's 1.5 oz ethanol). Leave overnight to macerate. Next day dump in blender with 7 parts olive oil and blend the hell out of it for like 15 minutes until the sides are warm but not hot. You are now done. Strain and bottle or melt with beeswax to make salve. The reason this is vastly superior to the double boiler method is because the alcohol disolves the herb overnight, and then the blades of the blender spinning the herb through the oil strips it all off. In a double boiler you're relying on heat. Here you're relying on kinetics and an intermediary solvent. Oils done this way come out green and fresh smelling as opposed to toasted smelling and olive oil colored. If your salve or oil is not the color of the plant it claims to represent, it's useless. Oh, it's also much less work than stirring a double boiler for hours.