Pure oil of oregano can be purchased both online and in health food outlets. The only downside is it can be quite expensive – about 14 dollars per ounce of the regular oil and nearly double that for the certified pure super strength kind. If that is too much for your budget, then you can consider making it yourself for about $0.25 per ounce, a mere fraction of the price. While it may take a bit of light work, making oregano oil at home is actually fun and may even turn into a hobby that can benefit you and your family in many ways. You can go and raise your own oregano plants in your garden to be more cost-efficient. Apart from keeping your family protected from various disorders, you can also give away your own homemade oil of oregano to close friends and relatives as a gift.
Oregano Oil Potency
Always bear in mind that commercially-bottled oregano oil is more potent than a homemade one. How you make it at home won’t be able to replicate the complex process employed by the big oil manufacturers. The good news is oregano oil has much potency that even your domestic version will still be effective for personal home use. You’ll still need to observe the usual safety rules in taking oregano oil due to its powerful properties.
Things You’ll Need to Make an Oil of Oregano Infusion at Home
Oil of oregano is actually extracted through a special steam-distillation process. However, there is a simpler way you can use at home to make your own oil of oregano infusion. Here are the things that you’ll need.
Look for the best oregano variety that you can find as this will generally give you a good product. It would be best to use oregano you raised yourself. You can also buy a plant and use their leaves that same day to assure freshness. You can opt to buy leaves from the store but the quality of your oil cannot be guaranteed. Do not use leaves with dry or brown areas. Likewise, do not purchase dried oregano leaves as there might not be enough oil left to make a potent oregano oil infusion. Remember that your homemade oil should be used within six months. The more oregano leaves you use, the more oil you can make. The number of oregano leaves should match that of the carrier oil. For instance, if you are using one cup of oregano leaves, you will have to use one cup of grapeseed oil (or other carrier oil) to come up with your version of oregano essential oil.
A Base or Carrier Oil
Virgin olive oil is highly suitable as a base for oregano oil. However, almond and grapeseed oil will do as well. See to it that the carrier oil odor doesn’t clash with the strong oregano oil scent.
Mortar and Pestle
This is used to facilitate the release of oil. You can use a muddler in the absence of a mortar and pestle.
If a double boiler is not available, you will have to improvise one that can take its place. Prepare a small pot that you can place inside a large pot that’s filled with water.
Sanitized Container with Cover
This is where you will make the infusion in so you need to be sure that it has enough space to contain all the oregano leaves and carrier oil. The cover should fit tightly. A canning jar is recommended although an old glass food container can be used if it has been well sanitized.
The cheesecloth will make an ideal strainer. A coffee filter can be used if cheesecloth is not available.
Dark-Colored Glass Bottle
This bottle should hold the finished oil of oregano. The essential oil retains its potency best in a dark-colored bottle and will remain fresher for a longer time. A bottle with a dropper attached to its lid is ideal for easier delivery. If possible, do not use a bottle that once contained another essential oil. Cleaning the bottle thoroughly and eliminating all the previous oil’s fragrance and residue can be difficult. This can put a great impact on the new oil you store in it.
Putting It All Together
- Wash the oregano leaves with water. Rinse and dry completely of excess water to inhibit the growth of mold and prevent the oil from going rancid.
- Place the leaves in a mortar bowl and mash them so the cells will release the essential oils. A muddler will be fine if mortar and pestle are not available. Use the muddler to crush the leaves inside the glass container. Use just enough pressure to encourage the release of oil and be careful not to tear the leaves too much. Excessive pressure may actually weaken the potency of your finished product.
- Heat up the water in the double boiler. Put in the carrier oil but never allow it to boil. Combine the oregano leaves with the oil and let it simmer for several hours. If possible, allow the leaves to soak for 5 hours but see to it that the oil does not boil as this can affect the chemical composition of the product.
- If there’s not enough time to spare, you can use a slow cooker to keep the oil infusion heated throughout the day while letting the leaves soak. The slow cooker will not get the oil too hot so you can extend the soaking process by two more hours.
- After the simmering is done, transfer the oregano leaves and oil into the glass container. Put the lid on tightly and keep in a cool dry storage area for a couple of weeks. Shake the jar to swirl its content every now and then. After two weeks of storage, strain the infusion with a cheesecloth. Be sure to get every drop of precious oil from the oregano leaves as possible before disposing of them.
The strained oil is now your oregano essential oil. Transfer the oil in a dark-colored glass bottle, preferably one with a dropper attached to the cover. Store this in a cool and dark place. Use it as directed (LINK) to fight off infections, bring down pain and inflammation, promote better digestion, or as a flavorful seasoning for your dishes. If you prefer to use oregano oil that is extra strength, you can double the amount of oregano leaves for every one cup of carrier oil. Use this extra strength oil with care, though.
You should use your homemade oregano oil within six months. By adding a few drops of Vitamin E oil, you can prolong the shelf life of your oregano oil, especially if you are using it for skin care. As a flavor enhancer for your dishes, it is recommended to store the oil in a decorative glass bottle that will look good on your kitchen counter. From time to time, it would be good to check the oil before using to ensure that it hasn’t spoiled yet.