Tracey's DIY Infused White Cedar Oil

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Tracey's DIY Infused Eastern White Cedar Oil

Our Local Tree of Life, Arborvitae

I first loved white cedar Thuja occidentalis as a child at my grandparent's place, Awaba, on Adam Lake near Perth. Its shaggy bark calls me, its leaves feel like an old friend and its scent enthralls me. These slow-growing cedars live about 200 years, some in Ontario are as old as 700 years and the Witch Tree, growing out of a cliff face on Lake Superior in Minnesota, was described by the French explorer Sieur de la Verendrye as being a mature tree in 1731; it is still alive today. For the Anishinaabe peoples, Thuja occidentalis is Nookomis Giizhik, "Grandmother Cedar", and she provides food, medicine, DIY and building supplies. In ceremonial use, Grandmother Cedar stands in the North.

A tea of the leaves provides vitamine C, and the twigs especially relieve headaches. Most importantly for our times, this Tree of Life stimulates and primes the lymphatic system that circulates helping parts of the immune system and carries out waste through our perspiration. In other words, Arborvitae is our local detoxification ally! I invite you to find a white cedar in your neighbourhood, and to request its blessing and healing through making a cedar leaf infused body oil.

Please note that the neurotoxic compound thujone from which Thuja occidentalis gets its name, as in sages and wormwoods, is not released in water, so the tea is considered safe, but the infused oil or essential oil should NEVER be ingested.

What are Infused Oils?
An infused oil is a carrier oil that has been soaked with one or more herbs. The infused oil will contain the therapeutic properties of both the carrier oil and the herbs that were infused into the oil. Some plants do not have much essential oil contained in them, so infusing the herb into a carrier oil is the way to still use the herb for aromatherapy purposes. Infused oils generally have an oily feeling that varies depending on the base oil used. They also are not as concentrated as essential oils but contain many healing and nourishing components such as anti-oxidant carotenoids, other vitamines, and minerals. Please note that it is important that you heed the safety information and contraindications of the herbs you choose to use in your infused oil.

The FASTEST way to make an infused oil is by the use of a crockpot or slow cooker with a very low heat setting. At home, I use my personal Vitaclay
Add 4 parts of your chosen carrier oil and 1 part dried herb or resin to your very clean crockpot and stir well. Turn your crockpot to the lowest heat setting. Allow to heat on the lowest setting for several hours, stirring a few times an hour.

The EASIEST AND BEST way to make an infused oil is to pack a jar with the dried plant and cover it with oil. You can weigh the herb and the oil to get the exact ratio. Seal the jar and shake it once a day for a week, then put it in a dark cupboard for 5 more weeks. Label your jar with the materials, weights, and date it will be ready.

However, you have infused your oil, carefully strain the oil by using a piece of an old cotton T-shirt or a tightly woven strainer. You should strain the oil at least twice. The second time, use a finer cloth or a paper coffee filter. You can squeeze the cloth by hand, but never push down on your stainer or you'll break it! You may need to let it drip through overnight. Compost the cloth or filter afterward. Infused oils, just like carrier oils, can go rancid, so Vitamin E can be used to preserve the oil. Seal in a glass bottle. Refrigerate when not actively in use.

For more information about carrier oils, please SEARCH this website.

I teach how to make infused oils in my new workshop The Medicine At Your Feet

About me, Tracey TieF
I carry on a family tradition in the healing arts. My grandmother, a nurse, farmer, and natural healer, treated diabetes and polio with therapeutic massage and holistic nutrition and was recognized as Canada's first physiotherapist. My mother was an internationally recognized health & sex educator and occupational health nurse. In my five years living in the inner city anarchist community, Kathedral B, I added the therapeutic use of herbs and vegan foods to my knowledge of folk and holistic medicine. I am honoured to count as my teachers Jan Benham, Susun Weed, Starhawk and Julie Gaia. I have an extensive background in physical therapies and the healing arts. I continue to dance, to learn, and to wonder at the art and power of the human body, mind and spirit.