How to prepare an oily macerate ?

The oily macerate is a simple mixture made from plants or parts of plants and one or more vegetable oils. It is used to relieve skin disorders or pain that may be joint or muscle. The properties of an oily macerate will depend on those of the plant chosen to make it. The elaboration of this preparation can be long but remains relatively easy. The first step to make this mixture is the drying of the plants and the choice of the vegetable oil. Then comes the maceration of these two elements. There are three types of oil maceration that will last more or less time: cold maceration that will take several weeks, gentle heat maceration requiring several hours and finally hot maceration that needs only a few hours! You can then store this mixture by ensuring that it remains in good conditions to enjoy all its benefits.

Drying plants

To make an oily macerate, it is preferable to use dry plants or parts of plants rather than fresh because they are, as their name indicates dehydrated ! The absence of water in their composition prevents the development of bacteria within the macerate and thus the fermentation of the oil.

The plants to choose for the realization of an oily macerate must be able to be used by cutaneous way. This is the case of Meadowsweet, Nettle or, less known, Burdock oily macerates that relieve joint pain.

Once your plants have been picked, you will need to sort out the parts to keep. Then comes the time of pruning which consists of getting rid of elements that can parasitize your plants such as branches or dead leaves.

In order to promote drying and aeration of the plants in the best conditions, they should be spread in thin layers on a support, without packing them. It is possible to use accessories provided for this purpose such as frames, racks or drying cabinets. However, if you don't have this equipment, a clean cloth will do the trick!

It is necessary to store plants in a cool, dry, shielded from light and ventilated place. When drying fragile parts of plants such as flowers or leaves, they can be turned or stirred from time to time to allow for proper aeration. Regarding roots, it is best to cut them into slices for faster drying.

To know when plants or plant parts are getting dry, it's simple: it's when they start to crack.

After drying, the appearance of the plants remains relatively the same. The latter must certainly not become brownish or even blackish, a sign of poor drying or drying disturbed by humidity. If this is the case, unfortunately the harvest will have to be thrown away because the quality, properties and taste of the plants will be altered.

Once the drying steps are completed, the storage of the plants could be done in glass jars, paper bags... Thus well protected in a cool, dry and dark place, the dried plants have a preservation time of at least 1 year and can go up to 2 or even 3 years.

Choosing the right oil for maceration

For the realization of an oily macerate, it is possible to use any vegetable oil or mixture of vegetable oils! However, in the majority of works, it is the olive oil that is favored... The reason is quite simple: it has a good stability at room temperature and a low oxidative potential.

The oxidation of vegetable oils is defined by the degradation of the fatty acids they contain altering their quality. It will depend on several factors: contact with the oxygen in the air, exposure to light and UV rays, interactions with a metal container or even the presence of heat. So some vegetable oils are going to be more stable than others and more or less oxidizable. Depending on your choice of oil, it will have a different ease of use and shelf life.

Rose vegetable oil is easily oxidized and has a relatively short shelf life. Conversely, Coconut and Jojoba vegetable oils are much less oxidizable and are stable at room temperature, which tends to make them solid.

The vegetable oils of Olive, Sunflower, Sweet Almond, Argan or Hazelnut are not very oxidizable and relatively stable at room temperature without being likely to solidify. These are the oils to be preferred for the preparation of an oily macerate.

For a successful oil macerate, it is important to focus on quality vegetable oils by turning to BIO oils with the first cold pressing and virgin, that is, without treatment before or after pressing.

Maceration techniques

To make an oily macerate, it is necessary to have a jar and fill it with dry plants, avoiding to pack them. Then, you need to pour the vegetable oil on the plants so as to cover them completely.

For the first method, which is the cold maceration, it is sufficient simply to let the preparation macerate for at least 21 days, or 3 weeks, stirring from time to time. It is possible to place the jar in the sun to use its heat for the purpose of promoting the extraction of the active principles of the plants in the oil. On the other hand, UV rays can promote the oxidation of the vegetable oil or alter the active components of the plants. To avoid this problem, simply choose a jar with an amber glass or use a cloth to cover it.

If one has little time on hand (at least not several weeks) or wants to make a macerate with the rigid parts of the plant such as the roots, then hot maceration or soft heat maceration are an ideal alternative. In this case, place the jar in a water bath and let the preparation cook on low heat for at least 2 hours or in a yogurt maker, letting it heat for 8 to 12 hours.

Once the maceration is complete, then comes the filtration step using a coffee filter or gauze to remove the plants. To extract the last active ingredients from the plants, gently squeeze them. Put the preparation in a suitable container such as a jar or a bottle. Label the oily macerate with the name of the plant and the date of manufacture. It is ready to use!

The conservation of the oily macerate

An oily maceration should be stored in a lightproof, cool, dry place. The estimated shelf life is 12 to 18 months. This duration is bound to vary depending on storage conditions and the vegetable oil used. To know if it is rancid, you have to be attentive to changes in odor: rely on your nose!