Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Herbal Preparations: Oils

Oils have been used by many cultures around the world for thousands of years. A great deal is known about them because of their extensive use. When used for magical or medicinal purposes, you will almost always dilute your oils. There are some notable exceptions, such as lavender, but most essential oils are far too concentrated to use without dilution. Some oils are actually dangerous if they come in contact with your skin or mucous membranes before they are diluted. Because of this, if you are going to prepare your own oil mixtures you will have to know how to delete them yourself using a carrier or base oil.

There are many base oils to choose from. you might consider almond, apricot kernel, avocado, coconut, grapeseed, hazelnut, olive, palm, peanut (if you're not allergic), sesame, or sunflower. To decide which one best suits your purpose, do a little research. Look up the properties of sesame or sunflower and decide if any of those properties make sense for your purposes. Or you could simply use jojoba oil as your base or carrier. This oil is good for almost any purpose and it has the added benefit of not going rancid. All other oils, including the ever-popular olive, will eventually become rancid and unusable. You can, of course, use a preservative such as wheat germ oil or rosemary oil extract, but I prefer to simply use jojoba and avoid the problem altogether.

When creating your oil preparations, you'll have to take into account your own personal sensitivities. Some people, for example, can place certain oils almost undiluted on their skin. Others may find that the oil in question must be diluted significantly before it can be applied. For this reason, you may have to add more or less carrier oil to your final mixture before use. Also remember your own allergies. If you're allergic to cinnamon, you probably cannot place its oil upon your skin no matter how much you dilute it. In general, however, it is best to start off with a ratio of 20 to 25 drops of pure essential oil to approximately 2 ounces a base or carrier oil. You can then make this mixture stronger or weaker depending on your own preferences and needs.

At first, you will probably want to stick with proven recipes when creating herbal mixtures. In time, however, you will certainly want to experiment a bit. When doing so, look back at the proven recipes and see what you can tweak to better suit your own personality and style. As long as your oils are not too concentrated and you're not using anything you're actually allergic to, there is little harm in this type of herbal preparation. Just keep most herbal mixtures away from your mucous membranes and out of your eyes and you should be fine.

Remember that all of the above assumes you are working with pure essential oils. Fragrance oils have no place in magical or medicinal practice. They might smell good, but they are otherwise useless.

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