Ayurvedic Herbal Oil Making: Principles, Method, Examples, Demo

Ayurvedic herbal oils are used since more than 5,000 years both in culinary and treatment fields. By learning the ancient method of oil preparation, you can prepare any traditional oil by yourself.

Importance of oil

Why are oils given so much importance in Ayurveda?
The food should be slightly fatty and hot, says Master Sushruta.So, oils (or ghee) play an important role in our foods.
The oil massage is an effective way to transfer the medicinal qualities of herbal oils deep into the tissues to bring about healing.
Eg: Maha Narayana taila for joint massage for pain relief Kumkumadi taila for face massage for glow and to blemish free skin.
The oils have unique quality of wound healing  – Jatyadi taila They are good for bone healing – Murivenna (oil massage), Gandha tailam (orally)
Some oils have a capacity to break down the phlegm collection in the chest – Saindhavadi taila, while others have capacity to relieve joint stiffness (Kottamchukkadi taila, Sahacharadi taila).
Some oils are useful to strengthen joints – Balashwagandhadi taila, some are more specific to strengthening nerves – Ksheerabala taila. Some oils can be given orally  Mahanarayana taila, ksheerabala 101, Some can be put into ears – Vacha lashunadi taila, Apamarga kshara taila 
Some are put into nose – Anu taila, Shadbindu taila, others are used for oil pulling (Irimedadi taila) Some are useful are administered rectally in enema, many are applied locally on hemorrhoids – Jatyadi taila Many are useful to promote hair growth – amla hair oil, some cure dandruff (Dhrudhurapatradi taila). So, from head to toe, for health promotion and to relieve diseases, oils are extremely beneficial.

Traditional oil bases used

Sesame oil,
Coconut oil,
Mustard oil and
Castor oils are mainly used in herbal oil preparations.
Read related: Sesame Oil, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Mustard Oil – Comparison


Various uses of Ayurvedic herbal oils:
Gandusha – Oil pulling
Kavala – gargling
Usually Irimedadi taila is used for the above two puproses
Karnapoorana – ear drops
Oil massage – Abhyanga Eg: Mahanarayana taila, Balaswagandhadi taila
Local application – such as Karanja taila or Nalpamaradi taila for the treatment of allergic dermatitis
Shirodhara, Sarvanga Dhara – oil poured in a thin stream over forehead or allover the body
Hair oil: Eg: Kuntalakanti taila, Neelibhringadi taila, Amla hair oil
Read related: How And When To Apply Hair Oil? Ayurveda Details
Poultice application
Oral intake  –
Example: Mahanarayana taila, Ksheerabala taila, Dhanwantaram tailam, Maharaja Prasarini Taila

Ayurvedic oil components

3 Basic components of an Ayurvedic Oil:
Kalka paste of herbs
Tailaoil – Sesame oil /Mustard oil / Coconut oil
Drava – Liquids – water / milk / Kashaya / juice extracts etc

Proportions of 3 components
Kalka paste – 1 part / 1 ounce / 100 grams
Tailaoil –4 parts / 4 ounce / 400 ml
Drava – Liquids –16 parts / 16 ounce / 1600 ml

Theoretical proportions – for a very strong oil

Practical proportions – for regular usage oil

Kalka – paste:
Fresh herb – crush it in a mortar and pestle, and use it afresh
If the herbs are dry, then they are made into fine powder, added with a little water, made into paste and used.

Dravadravya – Liquids
Liquids can be kashaya (herbal decoctions), hot infusions, cold infusions, milk, buttermilk etc. The choice of liquid depends on the formula of the oil as mentioned in the text book.

Kashaya – decoction  / herbal tea as liquid:
1 part of herb + 16 parts of water boiled and reduced to ¼ parts
1+16 ->1/4
100 grams + 1600 ml -> 400 ml
Read related: Kashayam (Kwath) – Herbal Teas Preparation, Benefits, Usage 

Rules for Kashaya making

Take a wide mouthed vessel
Fill the vessel with only 2/3rd with content.
Boil in mild fire.
Do not close the lid
Constantly stir the contents.
Once Kashaya is prepared, use clean cloth to filter it.
Once Kashaya is prepared, you have 6 – 8 hours to start making the oil.

Principle behind making of Ayurvedic oil
Herb + oil + Liquid
Herb + oil – fat soluble principles of herbs transfer into oil
Kashaya = water soluble extract of the herb.
It contains water soluble principles of herb.
This also gets transferred into oil.

Ayurvedic oil is – Oil soluble herb principles+ Water soluble active principles

4 tips to prepare oil at home

Steps in Oil making

Get the oil. Keep it ready.
Get the kashaya ingredients – Make Kashaya
Get the kalka herb – make paste.
Start cooking the oil

Till when to heat the oil:
The oil is heated till the total moisture quantity evaporates from the mix.
The final product should be devoid of any moisture content.

How to know that oil is finally made?
First take the oil in the vessel. Add Kalka (herbal paste) to it.
Mark the level of the oil in the vessel.
Approximately the final liquid level should be the marked level.
It may be slightly higher as herb paste swells while making the oil.

Signs of proper preparation

Signs to watch at the end:
Fragrance of the herbs become apparent
The herb paste can be rolled into the form of wick
The herb paste when put on fire does not make sound.
Oil starts yielding froth.
In the mid, the total paste + liquid becomes one dirty looking mix. Nearing to the end, oil gets clearly separated from the paste.


Do not start heating oil first and then add kashaya. If oil starts boiling and then you add Kashaya, it may explode.
Use moderate heat.
Constant stirring – both while making kashaya and the oil
Use wide mouthed vessel for quicker evaporation
Be alert at the end stage
After oil is ready, filter the oil soon after it is made.

Days for oil preparation

Number of days for oil preparation:
Making Kashaya and then making oil may not get completed in one day time.
Ayurveda also recommends making the oil in 2 or more days.
So, first day make kashayam. Then get the oil + paste into vessel. Add Kashayam to it.
Heat it till it starts boiling. Stop heating. Close the vessel with a lid.
Next day continue heating and finish it.
Read related: How To Make Bhringraj Oil For Hair Growth [Video]

Example – Amla hair oil

An example – Amla hair oil:
Amla powder – 50 grams
Coconut oil – 500 ml
Amla kashaya – 1 liter

Amla kashaya
250 grams of Amla powder + 4 liters of water
Boil and reduce to 1 liter.
Read related: How To Make Hair Oil At Home With Amla

Examples of other oils
Brahmi oil – In place of amla, use Brahmi.
Brahmi amla oil – instead of amla, use Brahmi + Amla = 50:50
Dhurdhurapathradi taila – in place of amla, use leaves of Datura metel.
Read related: How To Make Ayurvedic Herbal Anti Dandruff Hair Oil At Home?

Ksheerabala taila
Bala – Country mallow (root) – Sida cordifolia
sesame oil
Cow Milk + Bala kashaya
Read related: Ksheerabala 101 Thailam – Benefits, How To Use, Ingredients, Side Effects

Classification based on method of preparation

Oils have been classified based on its method of preparation into three –

1. Mrudu paka – In this type of oil, the herbal paste at the end of oil preparation will be very soft to touch and has some moisture content left in it. The particles of the herbal paste will be sticky. This type of oil preparation is used for nasal instillation (nasya).

2. Madhyama paka – In this type of oil, the herbal paste at the end of preparation of oil will be soft but devoid of moisture. The particles of herbal paste can be easily rolled into a wick form. This type of oil preparation can be used for internal administration (paana) and as enema (basti).

3. Khara paka – In this type of oil, the herbal paste at the end of oil preparation will be slightly burnt and dry. If we try to roll the particles of this paste into a wick form, it easily breaks. This type of oil preparation can be used for external oil massage (abhyanga).

Same Oil May Have Different Colors

5 comments on “Ayurvedic Herbal Oil Making: Principles, Method, Examples, Demo

  • Ravi

    16/12/2018 - 10:55 am

    Is the coconut oil used without first making it a siddha taila ?

    Reply to comment
  • Indumali

    19/02/2021 - 9:51 pm

    Dr, Is it possible to add rice to kashaya?

    Reply to comment
  • Aparna

    19/03/2021 - 4:34 am

    Dear Sir,

    This is a very helpful article. I have followed these instructions and another video on traditional preparation and made the herbai oil with 1:4:16 and it came out very well. I have a question on the efficacy of using this prepared herbal oil as the base oil for a second time oil making with another herb decoction, so on and so forth. Which means a previously prepared oil is used as base for the next herb. Will the repetitiveness make it more potent or less potent ?

    Thank you for your time.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      20/05/2021 - 4:46 pm

      Hi, if it is the same herbal oil that you are making, for the successive times, meaning, suppose you made amla hair oil and if you want to use the prepared amla hair oil as the base oil and add amla powder and water / decoction to it, then it is fine.

      So, if it is amla oil and you want to repeat the whole process to potentiate the amla oil, it is fine to do.
      If you are trying to use amla oil to prepare bhringaraja oil, it is not a good idea.

      Reply to comment

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