An Introduction to (Infused) Flower Carrier Oils

Posted on: November 2nd, 2015 by
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The Flowers of Calendula are Used as an Infused Flower Carrier Oil

The Flowers of Calendula are Used as an Infused Flower Carrier Oil

Although it is most common to extract carrier oils from the seeds of the plant, there are a few carrier oils that contain the therapeutic properties of the actual flower. However, flower carrier oils are infused, meaning that they are combined with a base oil in order to extract the therapeutic properties of the flower. Here’s more information on infused flower carrier oils.

What is an Infused Oil?

An infused oil, also known as a macerated oil, is not the same as a cold-pressed carrier oil. The plant material is emerged in a base carrier oil – such as sunflower (Helianthus annuus) or olive (Olea europea) oil – for a period of time and left in the sun to infuse. The plant material is then drained off and separated from the oil and an infused carrier oil remains. Infused carrier oils (and how to make them) were discussed in an earlier blog post.

Infused Flower Carrier Oils

It is important to remember that infused flower carrier oils are not the same as seeds extracted from a flowering plant and used as a cold-pressed carrier oil; for example, sunflower (Helianthus annuus) and safflower (Carthamus tinctorius).

The flowers are infused in order to extract the difficult-to-extract, and often minimal, oils produced by the part of the plant in question. The process is different to distilling an essential oil from flowers; infused flower carrier oils contain “as active principles the lipid soluble constituents of the (calendula) flowers” (Price, 1999).

Infused flower carrier oils may contain a small amount of any of the following active ingredients (depending upon the exact species and chemical make-up of the plant):

  • essential oil/s

  • carotenoids

  • saponins

  • resin

  • mucilage

  • flavinoid glycosides

  • bitter compounds.

Infused flower carrier oils are not a conventional carrier oil but you may find reasons for using one in aromatherapy and herbal products, in an aromatherapy blend, or in massage (usually in combination with other carrier oils). Note that an infused flower carrier oil, unlike an essential oil extracted from flowers, will not usually retain a strong aroma; therefore, infused oils, like other carrier oils, can be combined with essential oils without a clash of aromas.

Note: Infused carrier oils can be made with other plant material, in addition to flowers.

The Different Types of Infused Flower Carrier Oils

It’s possible to experiment and infuse a lot of different medicinal flowers into a carrier oil but here are examples of some of the most popular flowers to infuse:

  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

  • Lime Blossom/Linden ((Tilia cordata)

  • Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)

  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum).

As an aside note, it is interesting to see that prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) is now available as an infused flower carrier oil.

Learn More About Carrier Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you are interested in learning more about infused carrier oils, and their applications in aromatherapy practice, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy program. To learn more, visit the courses home page.

References:

  • Price, Len, 1999, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK: Riverhead

  • Author’s private research and experience

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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