Calendula is one of my very favorite herbs. The cheerful orange and yellow blossoms look gorgeous in the garden and have healthful and soothing properties. My first experience with Calendula was during college when a friend developed a minor but embarrassing rash on her face. She diligently applied a creams which claimed to help, but after some frustrating and miserable time, the rash had only become more bothersome. Wanting to help somehow, I consulted my herbal books and prepared a bottle of Calendula infused Olive oil for her. Neither of us had much faith in it, but she was willing to try anything. I was beyond awestruck when she excitedly called a few days later to let me know that the rash had not only improved, but was almost completely gone! This was the first, but certainly not the last, time that I have witnessed the awesome soothing properties of Calendula.
Calendula officinalis, also known as pot marigold or garden marigold, has been used for centuries for wounds and skin irritations. Calendula has healthful properties that make it useful for minor wounds, cuts, scrapes, chapped or chafed skin, bruises, burns, bee stings, rashes, and other minor irritations and infections of the skin. This versatile botanical can be incorporated into baths, creams, compresses, washes, salves, ointments, massage oils, baths, facial steams, tinctures, and teas. It is also gentle enough to use for babies, children, or animals. Internally, gargling with Calendula infused water may ease sensitive areas on the throat, mouth, and more.
Not only is Calendula a soothing traditional herb, but it is also a lovely and useful plant in the garden! Calendula repels many common garden pests including aphids, eelworms, asparagus beetles, and tomato hornworms, and is a companion plant for potatoes, beans, and lettuce. Plus, it grows quickly and is easy to cultivate from seed. The fresh vibrant petals can be used to color butter, cheese, custards, sauces, or sprinkled atop salads, cakes, and sandwiches.
Calendula infused oil is simple to prepare and has many traiditonal and cosmetic uses.
Calendula Herbal Oil
This medicinal oil is simple to prepare and has so many uses. The gentle, soothing, and healing oil is perfect used alone, or incorporated into salves, massage oils, lip balms, ointments, creams, and lotions.
1. Place Calendula flowers in a clean, dry glass jar. If using fresh Calendula, wilt for 12 hours to remove most of the moisture (too much moisture will cause the oil to go rancid) before adding to the jar. Pour olive oil into the jar, making sure to cover the flowers by at least 1” of oil so they will have space to expand. Stir well and cap the jar tightly.
2. Place the jar in a warm, sunny windowsill and shake once or more per day.
3. After 4-6 weeks, strain the herbs out using cheesecloth. Pour the infused oil into glass bottles and store in a cool dark place.
Heat Method: I prefer to infuse oils utilizing the solar or folk method described above, but heat can be applied if you need the oil quickly. To prepare, follow step 1 from above, but place the Olive oil and Calendula flowers in an uncovered container. Warm over low heat at approximately 100 degrees F for at least 3-5 hours, the longer the better. A yogurt maker, double boiler, or inside the oven with a pilot light on are all effective ways to heat the oil, just make sure to check the temperature occasionally to ensure that the oil isn’t getting too warm. Once the oil has infused, strain out the herbs using cheesecloth and package the infused oil into glass bottles.
A soothing and skin softening salve. Rub into sore muscles, apply to minor cuts, scrapes, insect bites, rashes, chapped lips, chafed skin, bruises, and other minor skin irritations.
4 oz Calendula flower infused herbal oil (from above recipe or buy here)
½ oz Beeswax
20 drops organic Lavender essential oil (optional)
Coarsely chop the beeswax or use beeswax pastilles. Melt beeswax and Calendula oil over a double boiler. Once melted, remove from burner and stir in the Lavender essential oil. Pour into tins or glass jars. Allow to cool thoroughly before using or placing caps on the jars.
Calendula & Shea Butter Lip Balm
This nourishing lip balm is made from healthful ingredients which soothe dry lips.
1 Tablespoon Shea Butter
3 Tablespoons Calendula Herbal Oil (from above recipe)
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Beeswax
10-15 drops essential oil of choice
A few drops of Vitamin E Oil
Coarsely chop the beeswax or use beeswax pastilles. Place beeswax, butter, and oil in a small pot or glass Pyrex measuring cup and gently heat in the top of a double boiler until the beeswax and butters have melted. Once melted, remove from the stovetop and stir in the essential oil and Vitamin E Oil. Immediately pour the mixture into lip balm tubes or small containers. This recipe will make approximately 1.5 oz of lip balm, enough to fill 10 lip balm tubes, 6 of your 1/4 oz plastic jars, or 3 1/2 oz tins or plastic jars.
Calendula officinalis has been used for centuries to heal minor wounds and other minor skin irritations.
Healing Calendula Spray
A healing spray that can be misted on minor skin irritations, rashes, cuts and scrapes, or used as a traditional and soothing facial toner.
4 oz organic Calendula Flower Water (Hydrosol)
15 drops organic Lavender essential oil
10 drops Calendula Herbal Extract/Tincture (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 4 oz bottle with a mister top. Use as often as desired!
A soothing and traidtional remdy that’s effective and simple to prepare. Calendula compresses can be applied to areas that would benefit from an extended application of warm or cold calendula preperations.
Pour 1 cup boiling water over fresh or dried Calendula flowers, cover, and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, strain out flowers and reserve the remaining liquid. Create a compress by soaking a clean cloth in the herbal infusion and placing it on the skin. This process is gentle and may be repeated several times a day.