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How are Ayurvedic oils made?

Ayurvedic oils are made using a traditional process from the original Ayurvedic texts. Originally, oils were prepared in a clay pot over an open fire, but other cooking methods are mentioned as acceptable. For our process, we use a large copper pot lined with stainless steel, which allows heat to be distributed equally on a cooking plate on a flat top stove.

The oils are produced in small batches following a two-stage process. The first stage involves making a decoction or juice that will be added to the oil.

A decoction is made by reducing prescribed amounts of powdered herbs with distilled water. Fresh juice is made from fresh fruit, leaves or roots. Milk can also be added as a liquid.

The decoction, fresh juice or milk is added to sesame oil or sometimes coconut oil or ghee along with a prescribed amount of a paste made of dried herbs and water, or other fresh ingredients.

These ingredients are boiled together, often intermittently over several days, until all the water evaporates and only the herbs and oil remain. There is a specific moment in oil preparation when the herbs will stick together and the oil will ignite without a spark, which indicates that the oil is ready. The herbs are then strained out of the oil through unbleached cotton cloth.

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