The Beauty, Medicine & Magick of Anointing with Botanical Oils

I remember when I was growing up in Ohio in the 1990s, as summer approached and swimsuits came out, we would always grab for the sun tan oils and lotions. Slathering our bodies my sisters and I would lie outside and soak up the hot humid summer sun.

Now, 25 years later I no longer slather my skin in those oils and lotions. As I learned more about oils and other natural ingredients over the years I knew I no longer wished to put big brand concoctions on my skin. Not all oils are created equal and I do think it important to be picky about the oils you choose for anointing the body or that will be ingested, maybe less so if using for spell craft as the you might not want to use your organic first pressed oils to anoint your spell candles that you will then burn (but hey, maybe you do!), etc.

Over the years I have come to love and cherish so many fruit, seed and nut oils. I have curated many natural skincare and body care products using various oils and everyday new ones are available to experiment with.

In this post I will dive into some of the history and story about seed, nut and fruit oils, their uses and how they can benefit our skin. I hope you enjoy.

Please like, share and/or leave a comment if you enjoy this post as it helps more people see what I have to share and helps me grow. Thank you!


Have you every thought about when our ancient ancestors first started extracting oils from seeds and nuts?

When I went digging I found out that our ancestors have been using extracted oils for millennia. Archeologists deduce from their findings that from 8,000-4,000 years ago we were using oil for body care/healing, for ceremony and ritual and for lamp fuel. Our ancestors would use what we term the ‘wet extraction method’, which consisted of hulling the seeds or nuts, crushing them and then adding them to water and boiling them. The oil would separate and rise to the top and would be skimmed off and reserved for later use. Cooking with oils didn’t start until around the 5th-4th centuries BCE.

One of the most famous oil anointing many of us are familiar with is Mary anointing the feet of Jesus. In biblical times it was customary to wash your guest’s feet and/or anoint them with perfumed oil. This act signified ones hospitality and honor of their guests. Olive oil was used extensively. Another example of the ritual use of oil comes from India where a ritual oil bath was taken at the beginning of Diwali to not only physically cleanse the body but to symbolically represent a spiritual cleansing. Called Abhyanga Snana, this process is an Ayurvedic practice of massaging oil into the body. Then an herbal bath or snana is taken to rinse off the excess oil. Often a botanical powder is used to absorb the excess oil. Sesame, mustard and castor oil were and still are prominent choices of Indian people. There is a rich history of ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all using oils along with aromatic botanicals extensively.

Although oils were considered a luxury and were expensive they none-the-less played a very permanent role in the lives of humans for thousands of years up to the present. Many oils albeit different ones are still expensive today. The human passion and use of seed, nut and fruit oils has only grown and continues to do so as new oils are being introduced onto the market for formulators and creatives.

Today oils are used extensively in food and cooking, for candle making, for bath and body care and massage and in ritual and ceremony by both religious and non-religious humans alike.

Botanical oils can be used for chronic and acute skin conditions, for healing and reducing scars, to prevent or reduce fine lines and wrinkles and age spots, to protect the skin from sun damage as well as heal the skin from sun damage, to help regulate the nervous system, soothe frayed nerves, to calm allergies or to give as lovely gifts. Formulations can be made for aching muscles and joints providing relief from pain.

There are many oils that make great base oils, singly, as combinations or as infused oils. Some of my favorite base oils include olive, jojoba, sweet almond, sesame and apricot. For healing and prevention I cannot be without rosehip seed, hemp seed and raspberry seed oils. Some luxurious oils include apricot oil, peach oil, strawberry seed oil and sea buckthorn oil. These are just a handful of the oils available.

As we can see, oils have created a snug life alongside humans, offering up many benefits from their use and igniting in us a curiosity that keeps expanding this area of health and beauty.

Let’s look at a few oils in a little more detail that are popular today so you can see the beautiful possibilities botanical oils offer us.


Raspberry seed oil | Rubus Idaeus Seed Oil

Color | Yellow to golden

Aroma | light, sweet, slight aromatic nutty

Viscosity | absorbs quickly, light and slightly viscous but spreads well

Contains | Fatty acids, Vitamin E, Carotenoids

Great for irritated skin, inflamed skin, and allergy or acne prone skin, helps to protect and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, stimulates and increases collagen and elastin, regenerates sun-damaged skin.


Meadowfoam Seed oil | Limnanthes alba Seed Oil

Color | Golden-yellow or reddish yellow

Aroma | faint tuna aroma

Viscosity | viscous but doesn’t leave a greasy feel

Contains | 95-98% essential fatty acids, Vitamins A, E and B5

Loves Northern California and Oregon and vernal pools. Meadowfoam oil is a great emollient for locking moisture into the skin, balances sebum production, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, skin protector and healing to acne prone skin.


Argan Oil | Argania spinosa kernel oil

Color | Pale yellow

Aroma | faint sweet fruity scent

Viscosity | thick but spreads well and absorbs fast

Contains | Vitamins A & E, essential fatty acids, caffeic acid

A tree Native to Morocco, Argan oil is nourishing to the skin, is anti-inflammatory and a good antioxidant. Like other EFA containing oils Argan oil can be healing for some skin conditions. Good for stretch mark care. Moisturizing.

I love these three oils. Alone or together they can provide a number of skin benefits. Adding herbs creates even more potent healing and beautifying oil.

As you can see the possibilities with botanically infused oils are endless. For skin care, hair care, and for healing, botanical body oils have provided an array of benefits for people from ancient times to now.

As I was writing this post it came to mind how the use of oils for food and body is a direct connecting link to our ancestors and our past. I acknowledge this connection to our collective past and have come to see the act of anointing my face and body with oils as an act of ritual, remembrance, and an act of self-love. Much gratitude for the planet and plants that provide all this beauty to play with.


Making your own infused Oil

It is easy and rewarding to make your own infused oils.

You can either buy dried herbs from your local farmer or health food store, online or you can even enjoy harvesting them yourself either from your garden or from the wild. Just be sure to dry them thoroughly as you do not want to introduce any water into your

You can use whatever size jar you prefer for the amount of oil you desire. If you are making a new recipe or using a blend of herbs you crafted, make a smaller batch size the first time you make it. That way you can test it and see how you like it. If it’s something you love you can always make the next batch bigger!

If I am trying out a new blend to infuse I might start with a pint jar (16 ounces).

You will also need:

+Enough of your chosen herb or blend of herbs to fill the jar about ¾ full, you want to leave a couple inches at the top for oil and herb expansion

+A skewer stick or other utensil for stirring

+A tight fitting lid, so you can agitate your oil by shaking once a day

+Label with date, herb or blend, base oil used and any other information you’d like to add like where the sun and moon are at.

Add the herbs to the jar. Pour your base oil over the herbs filling the jar to the top. Stir a bit with your utensil to release any air bubbles and to get all the herbs wet with oil. Put the lid on and give a good shake. Label your jar.

Let jar sit in a sunny window or on a kitchen counter shaking once a day. Let infuse for 2-3 weeks. I personally love infusing for one moon month. Decant by straining through some folded layers of cheesecloth and a fine mesh sieve. Store in a clean dry jar and label clearly.

You can store a smaller amount in a 2 or 4-ounce dropper or pump jar for daily use. You can also add essential oils for added aromatic and therapeutic effects. Essential oils are potent chemical compounds and should always be used with caution and respect. Either a single oil or a blend of essential oils can be used and there are endless possibilities here too. Keep in mind any personal allergies and sensitivities. Less is more with essential oils.

Here is a chart to help with dilution ratios.

Carrier Oil      1% Dilution           2% Dilution

1 oz                6 drops                  12 drops

2 oz                12 drop                  24 drops

4 oz                24 drops                48 drops (1/2tsp.)

16 oz              96 drops (1tsp.)    192 drops (2tsp.)

**If you wanted to take your journey a step further there are now home oil presses that I hear work quite well. I have not yet used one personally but the idea of making fresh organic pressed oils in ones kitchen is quite enticing.


Moon Wise Herbals curates an intentional array of botanically infused facial, body and medicinal oils and serums. As an herbalist I personally love the art and craft of making infused oils of all kinds. Infusing botanicals into different oils is one of the foundation practices of working with and administering plants to people.

Listed below is the current product line of botanical oils that I make for Moon Wise Herbals. You can read more about each of them by clicking on the name. Each was made with intention and love and is meant to be helpful, healing and beautifying.

Helichrysum & Rose Healing Body Oil 

StarShine Daily Facial Serum

Fireweed & Raspberry Nourishing + Calming Serum

Herbal Ear Oil

St. John’s Wort Body Oil

Lymphatic Massage Oil

Mugwort Massage & Ritual Oil


Thanks for reading!

Happy Anointing,

Rachel, Herbalist + Owner @ Moon Wise Herbals


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