How to Make a Frankincense Oil Infusion
Pictured: all kinds of magical skincare goodness that we are going to get up close and personal with today.
(insert excited squeal)
My formulating colleague is an old hand at working with resins and has over the last couple of years allowed me to peek over her shoulder while she has worked and experimented with different materials and methods.
Today, I am absolutely thrilled that she said yes to sharing her method for making an oil based frankincense extract with one of my all time favorite oils.
Apart from explaining the method in detail, she has also taken all of the photographs you see on this post. Please welcome Rebecca Wright of Botanical Formulations to the blog.
Frankincense and Blackseed Oil InfusionOil infusions or macerations are a wonderful thing as they allow for a whole plant extraction, or that which is compatible with the solvent; when oil is used, as in this case, then all if not most of the oil soluble compounds found in the resin will be extracted.
As the menstruum, (or oil medium) I have used blackseed oil or nigella sativa for its healing benefits. This is unusual as normally macerations use less fragrant oils and contrary to this blackseed oil has a strong peppery and almost medicinal scent. I didnít want to add any additional scent as I wanted the extracts qualities to stand on their own.
Why these ingredients?
Let’s have a closer look.
FrankincenseFrankincense is a resin that comes from trees of the genus Boswellia. When the bark is cut or tapped, it exudes a syrupy substance that hardens into what is known as the tears. This resin is rich in a complex variety of chemical compounds. Studies are ongoing, but it is suggested that it may have great value for human health and may hold, at least in part, a cure for cancer.
A frankincense extract is far superior to using essential oils, mainly because with an oil extract you get to have the benefit of the boswellic acids. These acids are heavy terpenes which do not come over into the essential oil. It is thought that boswellic acids are effective at treating inflammation and reversing effects associated with photo ageing.
Blackseed oilNigella sativa or blackseed oil is valued throughout Asia and the Near East for its curative properties. It is even mentioned in the Quran as a panacea or a cure-all.
The crushed seeds and oil have been used for a millennia both internally and externally. For ingestion, it is often paired with honey to treat gastric problems, parasites and chest infections. It has also been used as an emmenagogue, as well as to increase milk flow in nursing mothers. In addition to being of internal value, it has also been used to treat a variety of skin conditions.
This cold pressed oil is rich in over 100 different compounds, many of which are still unknown but include essential oils, fatty acids, and various nutrients. The high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids make it invaluable for treating inflamed skin and is often used in products for people with inflammatory skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema. Since skin inflammation is the number one cause of skin ageing, it may just be useful for that too.
Here’s how I make this powerful extract.
Frankincense Oil-Infused Extract
1. Grind the frankincense in a pestle and mortar. You may want to freeze beforehand as this makes it less sticky.
2. Weigh your oil in a glass beaker or jar and add the ground resin. Place in a pot of hot water and bring to a simmer. I placed mine directly on a hot plate. The temperature should be no more than 100 C. Mine was heated to approximately 85-90 C. You can leave it for between 45 minutes to 3 hours.
3. Remove from the heat. Now, you can choose to leave it to steep in the resin for a few days before filtering or filter immediately. Leaving for a while will allow the sediment to settle, making for an easy pour.
4. Filter the infusion through a cheese cloth tied to a beaker with a rubber band, or you can use a coffee filter.
5. Bottle and enjoy.
Top tip: The leftovers contain lots of skin-loving nutrients, use them in facial and body scrubs!
UsesThis extract is potent and would be useful as an anti-inflammatory spot treatment. Equally, due to the high levels of Boswellic acid, it will help keep skin looking fresh and youthful when combined with your favourite skin care formula. You can use it in face and body oils, balms, and creams for its anti-ageing and skin soothing properties.
Thank you Rebecca for sharing your fabulous how to with us!
More InfoI wrote a post about Nigella Seed oil earlier on this blog
Find more (free!) extract making how-to's on the How to page
Check out my shop for e-books about making your own extracts