As I’ve been learning more about natural fragrancing, perfumery and aromatherapy using plants, and how essential oils are actually made. The majority of them are through a process called steam distillation, which is not something that can be done at home, much to my disappointment! Although, that said, it’s quite a similar process to how I made rosewater a few months ago, but on a much larger scale.
One way of making a fragrant oil at home, is to make an infusion or a maceration. I regularly make cold macerations with flowers and herbs that I’ve harvested from my garden, but I wanted to try making a hot maceration using resin.
In ancient times, frankincense was considered as precious as gold. This beautiful resin comes from the sap of the Boswellia tree which is native to the southern Arabian peninsula, northeast Africa, and parts of India.
There are many uses for frankincense. The resin is burnt as incense – it was one of the gifts offered to the baby Jesus by the three wise men in the Biblical story, and is still used in Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches today.
You can read more about it’s fascinating history on the Middle East Institute’s ‘Story of Frankincense‘
As well as being a beautifully aromatic and meditative scent, frankincense also has wonderful skin healing qualities. When applied to the skin it can help slow the signs of ageing, and helps scars and stretch marks to heal. It makes a fantastic massage oil, and also a great hot oil treatment for your hair.
To use your frankincense infused oil as a hot oil treatment, you need to gently warm it, and apply the oil to your hair starting from your scalp. Pop on a shower cap and cover with a towel, and wait for up to two hours before washing the oil out. What a treat for a pamper evening!
It’s so simple to make too… with just two ingredients..
Saucepan of water
First you need to grind up your resin using a pestle and mortar. You could use an electric grinder if you have one, but the resin will make it sticky and very difficult to clean, so I’d recommend doing this by hand. It’s also a lovely meditative process!
Grind the resin up until you have a powder, then add to your pyrex jug along with the sweet almond oil.
Place your jug in a saucepan of water, and place on the hob on a low heat. Don’t allow the water to boil.
Leave the oil to infuse for a good few hours – say three to four. As the resin is soaked in the hot oil, the aromatic and therapeutic molecules are released into and absorbed by the oil.
Filter the oil into a second jug using the muslin cloth. I then filtered for a second time into my bottle for the finished oil.
Making the frankincense infusion is such a relaxing and rewarding process. You could decant some oil into little rollerball bottles to use as perfume, or add a few drops to a very luxurious bath – perhaps combined with the hot oil hair treatment? I think a bottle of homemade frankincense oil would make a wonderful and unique gift.
The ingredients for my infused oil came from Indigo Herbs of Glastonbury – who stock a wide range of resins, along with aromatherapy oils, tinctures, teas, superfoods and more.
This is a collaborative post with Indigo Herbs