I have an absolute love, appreciation and respect for oils. We don’t often think about the ingredients or chemical constituents that are actually contained in the oil, but we should. One would be amazed.
For instance, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is hypo-allergenic, has key antioxidant ingredients including Vitamin E and it won’t clog pores! That’s why I prefer to use EVOO when blending any of my herbal oils.
I recently was the keynote speaker at a Horticural Society meeting and decided I would talk about an herbal oil that anyone with a green thumb is familiar with and that is calendula (c. officinalis) AKA pot marigold. Pot marigold is really pretty plus it has some amazing healing qualities. It should not be confused with ornamental marigold (Tagets genus) because this marigold, although also pretty, does not have the healing qualities of its cousin.
So, what are the benefits of calendula herbal oil? It has great anti-inflammatory and vulnerary action (skin healing). It helps to heal stubborn wounds, acne, ulcers, bed sores, varicose veins, rashes, eczema, and the like. It addresses sore, inflamed, and itchy skin conditions and is perfect for treating bed sores. Basically, the recipe I’m about to give you is nature’s polysporin!
If you are an enthusiastic gardener, I would suggest planting the flowers as per directions and then as they are in full bloom, snip off the heads. Don’t wait to save the heads or you might miss the perfect head and bring in a browning, inferior head. Instead, plan on harvesting about every three days. The petals must be fully dried in order to ensure no bacteria is transferred to your end product, causing it to mold and you to cry from your effort gone to complete waste! If you’re lucky enough to have a hydrator, I would suggest using that. You can place them on a clean, dry surface in a sunny location and wait and wait and wait. OR, you can oven dry on the lowest temperature with the door ajar. Once your heads are completely dry, simply rub them between your hands and the petals will naturally come off. I always store these petals in a brown paper bag in a warm, dry spot to ensure complete dehydration.
If this sounds like a lot of hard work, and believe me, it is, you can always purchase the dried calendula from Evocative Essentials and save yourself some time and hassle.
Now to make your calendula infused herbal oil! Take a clean jar with a tight fitting lid and make sure that it’s clean! Hot soapy water, air dry and then spray with rubbing alcohol and allow to air dry again.
You can fill ¾ full with your dried herb and fill the jar with oil or if you wish to be precise, use 200g dried calendula to 1 litre EVOO. Allow to sit on a sunny ledge for about 4 weeks. After 4 weeks, open your jar and strain using a really fine mesh, cheesecloth or even coffee filter. You need to make sure you don’t have any small bits in your oil that will cause it to go rancid.
Although your oil is now 100% effective and ready for use, it’s always nice to turn it into a salve for easy use and less chance of spillage. This makes it way more kid friendly as well! Here’s your super easy and effective
Calendula Herbal Salve Recipe:
50 gm or 4 oz Calendula Infused Oil
50 gm Cocoa Butter
15 gm Beeswax
5 gm Vitamin E (Tocopherol for preservative)
Melt your Cocoa Butter and Beeswax in a double boiler. Once completely melted, add the infused oil. IT may solidify a bit at this point. Don’t panic. Simply put back into the warm bath and gently stir. It doesn’t need to become completely clear. Add your Vitamin E and place into clean and sterile jars or tins.
Leave out on the counter for the entire family to enjoy!