Plant sustainability when using essential oil is a factor we must all consider. Plants are being over harvest and underused. To make one small bottle of essential oils its takes a large amount of plants. One bottle of lavender essential oil takes about 3 pounds of lavender. Even though lavender grows wildly at a fast pace. It doesn't mean we don't have to protect it from over harvesting. To use less you can infuse the plant to get similar results. Most skincare, lotions, butters are already using certain type of oils. You can infuse those oil with the plant that you are using to be more sustainable. Learn to use the whole plant. The over usage and over cropping of plants is creating unsustainable realties of the plant industry. Questions of the best oils, the most pure is important. However, harvesting and usage should be a top question when purchasing and selling essential oils. We have a huge problem of multiple level marketing taking over and given out false information in order to build their downline instead of having the interest of health and wellness at the forefront. This in reality is hurting our plants and creating an unsustainable lifestyle in the name of being more "healthy"
Now don't get me wrong using essential oil as a way to improve health and wellness is productive. Being more mindful in our practice will make sure we are using oils in the best ways. I carry a line of essential oils in my business. My goal is use essential oil as a way to improve health. However, if there are other ways to improve our health that uses less resources by not compromising large amount of plants. Those are what I will promote more than essential oils.
The great thing about infusing plants is it doesn't take a lot of equipment just a jar oil and the dried plants. Compared to essential oil it takes a lab or at home glassware to make the essential oil. Essential oils are more potency so a little does go along way in the oil form. However, to get the oil in the first place takes a lot of plants. Infusing plants takes longer some may take up to a couple of months. Both essential oil and infusing plants can be used topically, medicine, aromatic. etc. Below I will give you a few ways to infuse plants in replacement of essential oils. Infusing plants for skincare and for cleaning products. These two product are the main contributor to using essential oils and plastic waste.
Infusing plants in oils for skincare. When you are looking to make your own skincare moisturizer. Find the best oil for your skin. You can use any type of oil. Olive oil, sunflower, jojoba, argan. etc. Find the best oil for your skin. I would recommend testing it out on your skin with just the oil before infusing it and waiting a few weeks to find out that it doesn't work very well with you skin.
What you will need:
- Mason jar is best because it will seal tight with no air going in.
- Your choice of carrier oil
- Dried plants.
Fill the plants halfway into the jar. Add the carrier oil into the jar to cover the plant. Mix well make sure all the plants are mixed in. Put the lid on and place it into a dark dry place. I put mine in the closet but a cupboard or anything will work. Make sure it stays at room temperature. Putting it in the garage may not be the best option especially if you have extreme hot or cold weather. Leave it in there for 4 weeks. Each week stir it or shake up the mason jar. The color will change. The longer you keep it in there the more you will infuse from the plant.
Heating it up to speed up the process.
If you need the oil sooner or just can't wait. You can do the same steps as above instead of putting it away for a few weeks. You can heat up water to a boiling point. Once it gets there turn off the stove. Add the jar with the plant and oil in it. Leave it in there until the water cools. For a deeper infusing do it a few times.
Infusing for cleaning products
A lot of people use essential oils for cleaning products. It works great but a more sustainable and cost effective ways is to collect your peels from citrus items. By infusing orange, lime, citrus fruits peels etc. in vinegar you can make a cost effective and chemical free cleaning products. The biggest problem I have with trying to collect enough citrus peel is that they will go bad before I can get to them. The solution is to put them into a jar and put it in the freezer. Keep adding to it until you have a good amount. Once you are ready allow the peels to defrost then add vinegar. Infuse it for about a week in a dark cupboard or closet. Poor into a spray cleaner and you are ready to clean.
Choosing to be sustainable means you are being responsible with your essential oils. We must take into consideration the plants that we are using and how much of it we are using. Now essential oils are great and have many benefits.Us them wisely.