Learn how to make Dandelion Infused Oil. In this post, I’ll talk about the various methods you can use to make herbal infused oil and also list a bunch of carrier oil options that you can use in your dandelion oil.
Every winter is happens: I finally have time to make salves, ointments, teas, tinctures, etc. and the recipes all require infused oils that use plants that are only fresh and free in my yard in the spring and summer.
As an ambitious gardener, I barely keep my sanity during the spring and summer with my garden plans (read more about my reflections on the Insanity of Spring here). I do NOT have time to make herbal remedies then! So I’ve some up with a compromise: I’m spending ONE day making Dandelion Infused Oil, Comfrey Infused Oil, and Plantain Infused Oil. When my Calendula blooms later this summer, I’ll then spend ONE day making Calendula Infused Oil and Yarrow Infused Oil.
Since infused oils stay good for at least a year, I will be able to use them this winter for my projects. Huzzah!
How to Make Dandelion Infused Oil
It’s probably a safe assumption to say that almost all of us have dandelions in our yard. If you don’t, then you can get seeds here. This is one of the most common “weeds” around. Sadly, dandelions are despised by most people and these poor plants get sprayed with all sorts of yucky chemicals.
However, Dandelions deserve our respect and admiration. This is an amazing plant for us. The leaves, flowers, and roots of Dandelions are loaded with nutrients and natural remedy qualities that are very good for our bodies.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous poet and writer, aptly wrote: “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” Most “weeds” in your yard actually have a purpose, varying from medicinal to edible to helping the pollinators. So before you pull your dandelions (and other undesirable “weeds”), I hope you’ll consider making herbal infused oil with them first.
I’ve written about the medicinal qualities of Dandelions here and here before, but there are many more medicinal uses for Dandelion than just mentioned in these posts. For this Dandelion Infused Oil, we start by foraging the flower heads of Dandelions.
Quick rules for foraging for medicinal plants (or any type of foraging):
#1: Don’t use a plant if you aren’t 100% confidant that it is that plant. So if you are not sure about what is and isn’t a Dandelion, and if no amount of google images or foraging books are making it clear to you, please find a local foraging expert to help teach you. You can also take a foraging course to gain confidence in your foraging herb skills.
#2: Make sure you are foraging for Dandelions in a place that hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals. If you aren’t foraging Dandelions on your own property, then really REALLY make sure that you have permission to get it where you found it and that it hasn’t been sprayed.
#3: Never take all of the plant. That’s how ecological systems can be ruined. Take some of each plant, but leave enough of the plant to allow it to continue to thrive. I personally never take more than 40% of each plant.
Why I am making a Dandelion Infused Oil:
- Dandelion flowers act as a mild analgesic (a minor pain reliever), so it will be great in salves for sore tissues/joints.
- The flowers help with dry and chapped skin, so it will be great to use in DIY lotions.
- Dandelion has the potential to both detoxify and cleanse your clogged pores.
- Dandelion is loaded with vitamin C, which can help speed up the healing process and help reduce scars and inflammation.
- Dandelion flowers are known to ease the pain of sore muscles and arthritis.
If you want to learn more about the health benefits of dandelions or other herbs, I strongly recommend that you take an herbal course or read from one of the great herbalists.
I love learning how to make my own herbal remedies. If you want to grow in confidence in being an at-home herbalist for your family and friends, I strongly recommend taking a course from The Herbal Academy. They have many courses available, from beginner courses to intermediate and even clinical herbalism classes. They also have quicker courses about things like foraging, skin care, perfume making, and more.
Check out The Herbal Academy to find the perfect herb course for you. They are totally worth it!
Here is a list of amazing herbalist books to look into for more info on the health benefits of various herbs:
- Rosemary Gladstar, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family
- Thomas Easley, The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine-Making Guide
- Matthew Wood, The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism: Basic Doctrine, Energetics, and Classification
- Andrew Chevallier, Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: 550 Herbs and Remedies for Common Ailments
- Maria Noël Groves, Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care
Since Dandelion is so helpful with dry skin, pain, scars, inflammation, and clogged pores, I plan on using it in my salves and lotions that I make this winter. I’ll make sure to include those recipe links in this post when I have them finished, but in the meantime, here’s a list of great salves/recipes that use Dandelion Infused Oil:
- Dandelion Salve for Muscles and Joints: this salve is super simple, just Dandelion infused oil and beeswax, and you can use it on sore muscles from working in the garden (or whatever else!)
- How to Make Dandelion Magnesium Lotion: this lotion will nourish your skin as well as help with nerve pain, leg cramps, and more.
- How to Make Dandelion Lip Balm: if you’re looking for a nourishing and healing lip balm that’s packed with vitamins and nutrients, then this is the lip balm for you.
- Dandelion Lotion Bars: These are the perfect lotion bars for dry and chapped skin and they look pretty, too!
Directions for Dandelion Infused Oil:
- Decide how much Dandelion Infused Oil you will need and find a glass jar that fits those needs. Since I will be combining it with other infused oils in my projects, I am using a pint-sized mason jar.
- Harvest the Dandelion flowers on a dry and sunny afternoon.
- Allow the Dandelion flowers to dry for 1-3 days on a tray or screen. **(see note at end of post about dry vs. fresh herbs for infusion oils)
- Use one of the following Infusion methods with your Dandelion Infusion Oil:
This is the old-fashioned way of making Infused Oils. Fill your glass jar half full with the dried (or partially dried) herbs/plants and and then completely cover them with your oil (good quality olive oil is the favorite, see below for more carrier oil ideas) right up to the brim.
Use a spoon or butter knife to gently stir the plants to make sure there are no air pockets. Cover tightly. Place the jar in a warm and sunny spot and let it steep for only 2 weeks.
Unlike most infused oils, which need 4 or more weeks, Dandelion Infused Oil should be done setting after 2 weeks. The flowers have too much moisture in them, and waiting longer just increases the chance of mold or the oil going rancid.
Check it every few days and gently shake it to encourage the plants to release their medicinal benefits. After 2 weeks, strain the oil through some cheesecloth, and make sure to wring that cheesecloth good and tight to get every last precious drop of your medicinal oil.
This is used to be my preferred method. It always makes me feel like I’m being very old-fashioned and I loved using the power of the sun to make my herbal infused oils. However, after a few batches of rancid herb infused oil, I now use the dark cupboard method instead (mentioned in detail below).
If you want to do the solar-infused herbal oil, I strongly recommend that you use VERY dry flowers. Let them dry on your counter, tray, or screen for at least 3 days before using them with this method. Every little bit that the dandelion flowers are dried out, the less likely that water in the flowers will mold your herbal infusion. Also, make sure you use a good-quality oil to reduce the chance of it going rancid in the sun.
Traditional Dark Cupboard Method Infused Oils:
This is another old-fashioned way to make herbal infused oils. This method requires the most patience and time, however, it results in the most strongly infused and potent oil.
Fill your glass jar half-full with dandelion flowers that have been dried at least 1-3 days. Next, fill the jar almost all the way to the top with your chosen oil. Use a spoon or butter knife to gently stir the plants to make sure there are no air pockets. Cover tightly. Put your infused dandelion oil in a dark and cool cupboard for 4-6 weeks.
Gently shake your infused oil every few days. The good thing about doing this in a dark and cool cupboard is that it helps prevent heat and light from degrading the herbs and/or making the oil go rancid.
Double-Boiler Method Infused Oils:
This is a the quick method for making Infused Oils. It is best for those times you need an Infused Oil ASAP.
Place the herbs and olive oil in your jar (fill half the jar with your flowers and then top off the jar to the brim with oil) and use the double boiler method to very slowly bring it to a low simmer. Slow slow SLOWLY heat for at least 30-60 minutes, and check it frequently to make sure the oil is not overheating.
The basic rule here is that the lower the heat and the longer the simmering can happen, the better and medicinally-stronger the oil will be. If your stovetop gets too hot, it might destroy the medicinal properties of the plant, so please remember to keep it on low!
Then strain the oil through some cheesecloth, and make sure to wring that cheesecloth good and tight to get every last precious drop of your medicinal oil. This is the method that I used for my Sore Muscle Salve.
Other methods I’ve seen:
**I’ve read of people using crockpots. You should place a towel on the crockpot bottom, put the jars with tight covers in the crockpot, and add water to half way up the jars. Put on the lowest setting for 12-24 hours. I’ve also read of people using yogurt makers in a similar way. These versions just need to make sure the heat is LOW.
Other tips for your Dandelion Infused Oil:
**Make sure to label your jars with the name and when you made it (otherwise you will end up like me: finding dusty jars of infused oils and no idea what they are!). You certainly don’t want to get your jars mixed up, plus, it helps you know when the oil might be expired.
**Check your dandelion infused oil every few days for mold. If you see a small spot of mold, remove that herb/plant part and the mold, and you *should* be okay. However, if there is lots of mold, sadly, the infused oil needs to be thrown away.
**Keep your Infused Oil in a cool, dark place. Most infused oils will last for a year or perhaps even longer, if stored correctly. If it begins to smell bad, it might have gone rancid, and it’s time to throw it away and make a new batch (but really, I’m sure you will use it up before the year is done!).
**Note on fresh vs. dried herbs for Infused Oils:
One thing that has always driven me crazy when I’m researching how to make infused oils is that the recipes almost always call for dried herbs. It seems like such a pointless extra step…and one that takes quite a bit of time and energy (as in: the dehydrator would be using electricity constantly for 24 or more hours).
I think it’s partly because many people don’t have access to these plants in fresh-form. However, it’s also because there is a chance for mold issues with fresh herbs/plants with the infused oil process.
There are a few things you can do to prevent mold issues when using fresh herbs/plants for infused oils:
- Collect your plants on a sunny afternoon during a week that’s had very little rain or no rain. We are looking to prevent too much water in the leaves and/or flowers.
- Do not wash your herbs/plants because we don’t want water introduced to the process. That means you should really make sure you are getting your plants from a location that hasn’t been sprayed with yucky chemicals.
- Consider drying your fresh herbs for 1-3 days. If you can afford using a dehydrator, feel free to use that overnight. I prefer the old fashioned way: I place the plant parts on a tray on my kitchen counter, and then I make the oil a few days later.
- Make sure your glass jars for the infused oils are completely dry. This includes the lid! Make sure any tools you use also do not have water on them.
What Type of Carrier Oil To Use For Herb-Infused Oils
No matter which oil you choose to use for your herbal infused oil, please try to get the highest-quality oils you can afford. Trust me: I’ve made enough herb-infused oils in my life to know that it’s always the cheap oils that go rancid quickly.
Here are some ideas for oils you can use:
- Olive Oil: This is usually the cheapest and most easy-to-find option for your oil. Try to use the best-quality olive oil you can find. Many versions available in the U.S. are actually not pure olive oil (they can legally get away with calling it olive oil and combining it with other cheap/yucky oils. So do your research on your olive oil brands! Olive oil is also good for damaged and dry skin.
- Coconut Oil: This is a challenging oil to use for herbal infusions because it hardens at room temperature (and can smell like coconut). It’s best to use this one with the double-boiler method over the other infused oil methods. Coconut oil is a great addition to lotions, beauty creams, hair treatments, and inflammatory skin issues.
- Grapeseed Oil: Not as high-quality as other oils due to the extraction methods, however, it is non-greasy and has great extractive properties that can be beneficial for infused oils.
- Sweet Almond Oil: This can be a bit pricey, but it’s loaded with vitamin E and is great for all skin types. I love using almond oil whenever possible in my herbal projects.
- Sunflower Oil: Another cheap option. I honestly don’t know much about it, so please do some research before purchasing it to make sure you get a good-quality brand. Sunflower oil is non-greasy and good for all skin types and herbal projects.
Have you ever made an Infused Oil before? If so, what have you made? If not, will you now?
I hope you enjoyed my details on how to make a dandelion infused oil. I love using the plants that are freely available in my yard and I hope you have a great time making some herbal infused oil, too!
If you want to learn more about herbs, don’t forget to check out the amazing courses and workshops available at The Herbal Academy. I’m in their intermediate course right now and it’s amazing!
For further reading: