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Healing with Calendula

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Healing CalendulaCalendula 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.

Calendula Herbal Oil

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.

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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.


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