Calendula is one of my very favorite herbs. The cheerful orange and yellow blossoms look gorgeous in the garden and have incredible healing properties. My first experience with Calendula was during college when a friend developed an uncomfortable and embarrassing rash on her face. She diligently applied a cream prescribed by her doctor, but after several frustrating and miserable weeks, the rash had only become worse and was spreading. 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 curative properties of Calendula.
Calendula officinalis, also known as pot marigold or garden marigold, has been used for centuries to heal wounds and skin irritations. Calendula has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, antifungal, antiviral, and immunostimulant properties making it useful for disinfecting and treating minor wounds, conjunctivitis, cuts, scrapes, chapped or chafed skin, bruises, burns, athlete’s foot, acne, yeast infections, bee stings, diaper rashes, and other minor irritations and infections of the skin. Plus, it stimulates the production of collagen at wound sites to help minimize scarring and assist with stretch marks. 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 a sore throat, sores in the mouth, and inflammations in the mouth and throat.
Not only is Calendula a wonderful healing and medicinal 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.
This medicinal oil is simple to prepare and has so many uses. The gentle, soothing, and healing oil is perfect for cradle cap, diaper rash, chapped or chafed skin, bruises, and sore or inflamed muscles. The oil can be used alone, or incorporated into salves, massage oils, lip balms, ointments, creams, and lotions.
Organic Olive oil
Organic Calendula flowers
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 healing salve. Rub into sore or inflamed muscles, apply to minor cuts, scrapes, insect bites, rashes, diaper rashes, stretch marks, chapped lips, chafed skin, bruises, and other skin irritations.
4 oz Calendula flower infused herbal oil (from above recipe)
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.
This nourishing lip balm is made from healing ingredients which soothe dry and chapped 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.
A healing spray that can be misted on burns, insect bites, rashes, minor cuts and scrapes, bee stings, inflammations, bug bites, or used as a medicinal and soothing facial toner for acne or other skin irritations.
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 medicinal treatment that’s effective and simple to prepare. Calendula compresses can be applied to burns, cuts and scrapes, bee stings, bug bites, inflammations, and other skin irritations. They can even be used on animals with minor skin conditions or injured paws.
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.