Thursday, November 21, 2013

Making Oregano Oil

** DISCLAIMER: I did not go to school to study natural medicine or anything like that. All my knowledge is self taught from experience, from other people, and from reading a lot. I advise every person to look into matters for themselves to see if it is really what you are looking for. I can not, nor will not, take any responsibility for the misuse of this information. Please be careful when trying new things like this. Not every oil works for every person. **

Always do your research before consuming ANY homemade tincture. Remember some plants are poisonous. - See more at: http://blog.cherylsdelights.com/2013/06/herbal-tincture/#sthash.qlNRT7Ed.dpuf
Always do your research before consuming ANY homemade tincture. Remember some plants are poisonous. - See more at: http://blog.cherylsdelights.com/2013/06/herbal-tincture/#sthash.qlNRT7Ed.dpuf
Always do your research before consuming ANY homemade tincture. Remember some plants are poisonous. - See more at: http://blog.cherylsdelights.com/2013/06/herbal-tincture/#sthash.qlNRT7Ed.dpuf
   My oregano grew fairly well this summer and as we had already used what we needed for spaghetti sauce and whatnot, I needed to figure out what to do with the bunches that were left. I have read a lot about oregano oil in health books and online so I thought I would make some oil of my own. Oregano oil is a natural antibiotic. Oregano has been known to kill bacteria, fungus, parasites, and viruses. It has also been able to regenerate liver cells. According to some places, it is used for respiratory problems such as a cough, asthma, croup, and bronchitis. It has also been used for treating heartburn, bloating, menstrual cramps, arthritis, urinary tract infections, headaches, and heart conditions. The oil can be applied to the skin for skin conditions such as acne, athlete's foot, dandruff, canker sores, warts, and ringworm. It can also be used topically for insect and spider bits, toothaches, and muscle pain. Sprinkle the oil on you before going outside in the summer as an insect repellent.
  Oregano oil has a lot of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, potassium, and copper. Oregano oil is used to fight colds for this reason and also because it fights infections. There is a lot more that could be said of this oil, but I will leave it at that. At the end of this post I have a few links to different sites that you can feel free to look at if you want to know more.
   All the above being said, I think it is important to add that the quality of the oregano, the method that is used to achieve the oil, and the type of carrier oil, if being used, all have an effect on the final oil. Some people use steam distillation while others, not being able to afford the distiller (that last one is me.) make the oil using a carrier oil. Being as I had no plan to make oregano oil when I first planted the oregano, I did not plant any high quality oregano. And since the oregano wasn't high-high quality I didn't go out and buy a $100 carrier oil. Here are the steps I used to make my oil.
   Harvest your oregano. Place a few stalks of the herb in a metal colander and rinse. Do not use a plastic colander if you can avoid it.
Oregano picked and in the herb bowl waiting to be washed.

Oregano in the colander waiting to be rinsed.

After rinsing, the water needs to come off of the oregano before it can be made into an oil. Too much moisture can be the cause of a failed attempt at making oil. It will cause mold on the top of the oil and then the whole contents of the jar will have to be thrown away and you will be back again in square A will nothing to show for your work.
To dry the oregano, I laid it on our dehydrator racks and put the dehydrator on the lowest setting for about 50 minutes. The time depends on what dehydrator you are using and what the lowest temperature setting is. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can lay the herbs out on cooling racks. Realize that this method will take longer. You will know when the oregano is dried enough when it feels like you just picked it from your garden. You don't want it completely dry because then all the oil would disappear. 
The oregano on a dehydrator rack ready to be dried.
The dehydrator all filled up and going.

The oregano after being dried.
After the oregano was dried, I took it off the racks and put it, small groups at a time, into a gallon freezer ziplock bag. Then I got a tea towel and a meat tenderizer.
I put the tea towel over the bag and pounded away with the meat tenderizer. The purpose to this is to bruise the oregano leaves so that the oil they contain will come out from them better. This is a good therapy project at this point. If you have been having a stressful day and feel like you need to beat on something, here is your chance.
The oregano leaves after being pounded with a meat tenderizer.
Here is something to keep in mind. I used olive oil because that is what I had on hand. The type of oil that you use is your choice but make sure that it comes from a pure source. Vegetable oil is not meant for something like this. You can use olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, flax seed oil, jojoba oil... The list goes on. But keep in mind: If you are using a high quality herb, use a high quality oil. Don't mix and match qualities.
On the stove in a metal pot, I put the olive oil heating. There is a trick here too. You don't want the olive oil to boil but you want it to be fairly hot. Keep an eye on it. Keep your burner from low to medium if you can't watch over it at all times.
The olive oil heating.
When the oil is heating, fill a stock pot with water and put it on the burner. Turn the burner on high and bring this water to a boil. Find a glass jar with a lid that will hold all of your oregano. Using a metal or glass funnel, stuff the herbs into the jar.

When all of the herb is in the jar, pack it all down tight. Then begin to fill the jar with the hot olive oil. Be careful and pour slowly. The oil may take a little while to get down to the bottom because the herbs are packed into the jar.
 Fill the jar so that the oil completely covers the oregano. This is an important step. If the oil does not completely cover the oregano, then you will get mold. When the jar is filled with oil, remove the funnel and wipe the lip of the jar. Then screw on the lid tightly. Place the jar into the stock pot of boiling water. Turn the burner down to low.


Put the lid onto the stock pot and put a timer going for half an hour. When the timer goes off remove the jar with a pair of jar lifters and set somewhere where there are no drafts. Wrap with a towel. The next day, remove the towel and put the jar somewhere in a dark place. Check on it every couple of days. There is a chance that mold will still form at the top of the jar. If this happens, use a fork or spoon and remove the mold. Then shake the jar to distribute the oil and put it back on the shelf. The oil should set for two to four weeks.
 Open the oregano oil jar and carefully dump the jar upside down into the cheesecloth bag. Be careful not to let all the oregano leaves come pouring out on you.
Let the smaller jar rest on the big jar for a few hours. Then scrape out the remaining oregano from the small jar into the cheesecloth.
Use clothes pins to hang the cheesecloth bag securely from the lip of the jar, keeping the bottom of the bag out of the oil. Let it hang this way over night. I covered the whole jar top with plastic wrap to keep any critters out of the oil. The next day dump the oregano leaves in the garbage and put the cheesecloth bag soaking in water and dishsoap. Pour the strained oil into a jar and LABEL the jar with the oil type and the date. Store the jar in a cool dark place. It is now ready to be used for whatever you will be using it for. I put in an order to an herb company in Oregon, Mountain Rose Herbs, and I'm waiting to receive the order before I put some of the newly made oregano oil to use. I will add here that this way of making oregano oil is not how most oil companies make theirs. The oregano oil made this way is not as strong or potent as the oregano oil you would get from doTerra, Young Living, Rocky Mountain Oils, or companies like those.
For more information on oregano oil, visit:
http://www.webmd.com
http://www.experience-essential-oils.com
http://atlantablackstar.com