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Macerated oils what they are and what they are for

Macerated oils what they are and what they are for

Macerated oils, or oleolites, are extractive preparations consisting of active principles dissolved in a generally vegetal oily vehicle (olive oil, sweet almonds, peanuts, sesame). They are often obtained by maceration (30-90 days) of plants in oil. All oil-soluble compounds are thus transferred to the fixed oil, which consequently acquires further therapeutic effects.

What are Macerated oils for?

Macerated oils were excluded from the official pharmacopoeia before the Second World War and penalized by the appearance on the market of lighter and less fat topical preparations. However, topically, neither the aqueous extracts nor the Mother Tinctures equal them: the oil is in fact the best solvent for the essences and extracts from the plants also many other interesting lipophilic fractions (phospholipids, sterols, carotenoids, tocopherols, for example), which they are added to eutrophic substances for the skin of which every vegetable oil is already rich in itself. Moreover, for the chemical-physical characteristics, the oils show a particular affinity with the skin, they maintain the cellular balance and elasticity and facilitate the passage in the deeper layer of the skin of the active molecules.

Oleolites have multiple uses: they are for example excellent as massage oils or to add body and face creams, but they can also be used in place of the body cream after the bath, when the skin is still wet. Oleolites are used in various fields:

  • in cosmetics as a fat base for the preparation of creams;
  • in body care, mainly by external route, applied locally or during a massage.
  • culinary use: oily extracts containing in particular aromatic plants, the so-called aromatic oils, are widely used for seasoning food;


They can be used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic herbal field to achieve:

solid preparations for internal use (oleolites and silica or bamboo dry extract, by adsorption): they can be incorporated on powders or better still on micronized silica: this makes it possible to prepare and administer capsules containing oily liquids, with the advantage of disguise any unpleasant taste;

liquid preparations for internal and / or external use (oleolites or vegetable oils and essential oils): o.e. they can be added to the oleoliths to enhance their activity or simply to make them easily dosable, more palatable and better tolerated;

semi-solid preparations for external use (oleolites and / or vegetable oils plus beeswax, possibly also adding essential oils).

Used singly, the oleolites are exploited for the properties due to the plant and the specific oil with which they were made. For example, carrot oil and St. John's wort oil will help reduce skin inflammation or accelerate the healing of burns; calendula oil and St. John's wort oil will be used to attenuate and treat bruises; calendula oilSt. John's wort oilrose oil will relieve rashes and so on.

List of the most common macerated oils:

Calendula officinalis oil- since the calendula oil is obtained by macerating the plant material in sunflower oil, it is clear that its physical and chemical characteristics will depend in part on the type and quality of the fixed oil used. The oil has the orange-yellow color typical of marigold flowers. It has a beneficial effect on the skin and can be used alone on dilated capillaries, varicose veins, bruises, although it is preferable to add 1 or 2 drops of o.e. appropriate to alleviate these and other conditions. it is associated with almond oil; it is used for anti-inflammatory and repairing power.



St. John's wort oil: also in this case the physical and chemical characteristics of the finished product will depend partly on the fixed oil (traditionally the olive oil) used in the maceration process. The oil obtained is dark red due to the presence of hypericin. Being an anti-inflammatory, hypericum is useful in lesions on nerve tissue, as well as in pathologies involving inflammation of the nerves (neuralgia, sciatica and fibrositis).



- Carrot oil: produced for example by Flora srl ​​with sesame oil and carrots (50%) cold pressed and vitamin E of vegetable origin. Excellent for dry, thin, wrinkled, cold and chapped skin, it is recommended for face care with an emollient and anti-aging action. It restores shine and vitality to the epidermis, also facilitating tanning.



- Arnica Montana oil: It is an excellent oleolite for cosmetic skin care, with astringent properties useful for impure and irritated skin. it is indicated as an adjuvant in soothing the epidermis in light fall traumas, in the treatment of small local edemas or haematomas and in invigorating the scalp. 100% pure vegetable oil is produced for example by Flora srl ​​with olive oil, sesame and sunflower pressed cold and flowers of arnica macerated (30%), vitamin E of vegetable origin.

How to apply a Macerated oil?

The application of an oleolite on the skin should be done in small quantities: for example 3-4 drops on the face, two on the cheekbones, one on the forehead. Afterwards, massage gently until completely absorbed. Normally the application of the oleolite should be done the night before going to sleep (Penazzi, 2006).

What preparations can be made with Macerated oils?

Oils, or infused fatty oils, are an excellent starting material for producing creams or ointments, or they can be used as massage oils or for local applications. If you want to make an ointment, here is an example of the procedure: use 1 part of beeswax for 5-7 parts of oleolite, put the oil in a bain-marie and add the wax into small pieces or grated, mixing well with a mixer until until the wax has completely vanished, turn it off and pour it into the appropriate container. Once lukewarm, add vitamin E. Example, Calendula ointment: 79 gr of calendula oil, 20 gr beeswax, 1 gr vitamins E (tocopherol).

Dr. Laura Comollo

(in the next post we will know the methods of preparation of oleolites, with specific examples for the realization).

Visit our aromatherapy department, we have St. John's wort oil, calendula oil, arnica oil, carrot oil, vegetable oils and much more, brand Flora srl, 100% made in Italy and certified. For any clarification or advice on the products Dott.ssa Comollo will remain at your disposal.

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