homemade oregano oil

topic posted Tue, June 3, 2008 - 10:56 AM by  Åmªzºn¡Kª

I became a convert to using oregano oil over the past year.
But it's expensive to buy good quality stuff.

Coincidentally, I have a garden that is simply crawling with oregano. I'm sure I could harvest several wheelbarrows full every year.
So I figured I'd try to make my own oregano oil.

I've done a bit of research and I've learned that different varieties of oregano may be more effective than others. Also, it's active component (carvacrol) varies depending on several factors.

But I'm going to try to make my own anyway.

The only thing is that I'm not sure how to derive the most concentrated oil from herbs.
I've done a bit of online searching, but it's hard to tell which sites are actually giving accurate and useful information.

So I thought I'd ask here...

Any tips on making your own high-potency herbal oils?
Also, if you can recommend any web sites or books that you absolutely know are useful, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks all!
  • Re: homemade oregano oil

    Tue, June 3, 2008 - 11:02 AM
    I hope someone gives you some pointers as I would like to know myself. I produce several wheel barrows of citrus peels every year and i love lemon oil for massage! Also, I have a whole lot of rosemary, lavender, and will son have a lot of oregano, thyme and marjoram.
    Press or distillation?
  • Re: homemade oregano oil

    Tue, June 3, 2008 - 11:36 AM
    1) process of infusion to another oil. ...dry herb. let it soak in olive oil for 10 days, to infuse into the oil. ...this works well with St Johns Wort turning the product deep red.

    2) mastication-expeller method... get a juicer to a) chew up the herb to little bits, then b) expell oils/liquids by way of high speed centrifuging through a screen. ...some juicers can do this. .... not too sure about this, worth a try?.

    Is oregano of the basilicum family?
  • Unsu...

    Re: homemade oregano oil

    Tue, June 3, 2008 - 11:38 AM
    Every year I can up a whole case of Olive oil infused with Basil.
    It's easy.

    Get some Mason jars. they are cheap and reusable and the heat won't crack 'em.

    The day before you do your canning pick your herbs and rinse them off and set 'em to dry. Turn 'em a few times to get the water out.

    Get a good oil, heat it in the biggest pot you got. You want it pretty hot - about 250 F.
    Hotter is OK but don't go crazy 'cause you can ruin the oil.

    Jam the herbs in the jars - how much? Who cares~? Just jam it in.

    Use the biggest ladle you can get and ladle the hot oil over the herbs.

    Cap and set aside. Clean the excess when the jars are cool.

    It'll keep on the shelf forever, no need to refrigerate.

    • Re: homemade oregano oil

      Tue, June 3, 2008 - 12:14 PM
      it is best not to wash aromatic herbs before using them as their volatile oils are easily damaged and removed by washing, and that's the part you want!
      • Unsu...

        Re: homemade oregano oil

        Tue, June 3, 2008 - 3:12 PM
        I agree - sort of. However more will come out of the plant and a rinsing gets all the dirt and fly shit etc off. So I rinse.

  • Re: homemade oregano oil

    Thu, June 5, 2008 - 10:28 PM
    I've just started working with a friend of mine who makes steam distillation units for essential oils, so I'm just learning about all this myself... If you are interested in learning about steam distillation, I would recommend the book "make your own essential oils & skin care products" by Daniel Coaten (which actually uses the steam distillers we make as the model). The book touches on other methods, but mostly gives a lot of detail and good information on the distillation process.

    I've had great success with steam distillation on the few things I've tried (rose geranium, orange, bay), but honestly i'm more into the making of the apparatus than the actual extracting of oils, and I haven't tried any other methods of extraction (although i hear cold press also works for oregano).

    Not sure how oregano rates in comparison (don't suppose you're in San Diego - we could do a test?!), but if you scroll halfway down the page here you'll see a comparison of 2L distillations of 5 different herbs and their oil yeilds... (Cabrita - sounds like our garden is similar to yours - you may find this useful on what to expect if you're looking into distilling your plants!)

    If you want the pure, unadulterated oil I'd say distillation would be the way to go, but if you're just using it for cooking, etc I'd be doing Cliff's method of infusion...
    • Re: homemade oregano oil - infusion

      Fri, June 6, 2008 - 5:46 AM don't want to get that olive oil too hot because boiling hydrogenates that oil. sesame or grapeseed oil may still work when subjected to high temps. It's true that warming components will catalyse the reaction... make it quicker... and that's what they'll do in a time-effective industrialized process... at the cost of health/nutrition benefits. Use oilve oil for salads... never cook with it. Or drizzle it on already cooked/baked foods. No, slightly warming the oil in the sun will do better over time when infusing herbs than sudden boiling, but best thing is to minimize oxidaton -- allow time itself to infuse herb into oil matrix at ambient temperatures in shaded environments.

      Too much and too quick electronic/mechanical application will accelerate biochemical interactions to a high molecular frequency negating benefits.... as per macrobiotics, or as per Rudolf Steiner biodynamics. If you absolutely have to put heat at some stage of your process, then use a natural gas -sourced heat rather than an electric range.... or better yet, woodfire. For drawing oil from fruiting bodies such as olives you use the cold expeller method, but for leaves it's a whole other ballgame.

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