Calendula (Calendula Officinalis), or pot marigold as it’s sometimes called, is a multi-purpose edible and medicinal herb. The Shakers and early settlers knew the culinary value and superior healing qualities of this beautiful golden herb. Called poor man’s saffron, dried calendula petals were a substitute for saffron in foods cooked in pots. Both fresh and dry petals are still used in many culinary applications. But calendula benefits go far beyond their use in food.
Over time, I have come to know and love the many calendula benefits for skin health. I’ve made calendula tincture for soothing baths and teas. Learning how to make calendula oil home remedies for bug bites and stings freed me from purchasing expensive alternatives.
I have three favorite skin-healing recipes that use calendula oil as the base. These recipes are simple and satisfying to make. Start with a master recipe for calendula oil. Add a couple more ingredients, and you have a healing salve. Melt the salve, add a liquid and whip to a fluffy cream. All of these are staples in our medicine cabinet. Make them staples in yours, too!
Dry Petals Before Using
To get the most healing calendula benefits, the petals must be dried. The bright orange petals have the most healing qualities.
Lay on a towel or paper towel to dry thoroughly. This may take several days.
Don’t put the petals on a metal rack or screen since the petals tend to stick. Store dried petals in a sealed container away from moisture, heat, and light. They will keep up to a year or more.
This is a wonderful oil for everyone, from babies to seniors. Jojoba oil naturally resembles sebum, the oily substance produced by the body to nourish and protect skin, and that’s why I use it. This oil alleviates dry, itching skin and helps relieve bug bites and sunburn. Double or triple the recipe if you like.
- 1 cup packed dried calendula petals
- 2 generous cups oil – I use a combination of Jojoba and almond oil. High-quality olive and grape seed oil work as well.
- Optional: 2 tablespoons vitamin E oil, which helps heal scars and is a preservative
- Place petals in dry sterilized glass jar. Add enough oil to completely immerse petals. One cup should do it. Add vitamin E oil if using.
- Seal and shake to blend. Let sit two weeks or more. The oil will turn golden.
- Store in a sealed sterilized container away from heat, light, and moisture. Keeps up to one year.
I love this salve for chapped lips, dry skin (especially feet, hands, and elbows), minor cuts and scrapes. It makes a soothing salve for diaper rash. Double or triple the recipe if needed.
- 1/2 cup strained calendula oil
- 1 tablespoon grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles
- Optional: 12 to 15 drops essential oil or more, your choice
- Add beeswax to oil in a pan, or double boiler. Heat on low, stirring until beeswax melts. Remove from heat.
- Stir in essential oil if using. I like lavender for its antiseptic and preserving qualities. Plus it smells so good.
- Pour into containers. Salve will solidify as it cools. Seal after cooling.
- Store away from heat, light, and moisture. Keeps up to one year.
Whipped Calendula Cream
When my husband saw this in a bowl, he thought it was something to eat! Whipping the melted salve with a liquid emulsifies it to a fluffy healing cream.
Use water, hydrosol/floral water, aloe water, or aloe gel. I have used both water and gel with success. The aloe moisturizes and is good for sunburned skin. Cream made with aloe gel will be a tad airier.
The melted warm salve and water have to be the same temperature to emulsify properly. If you use gel, have it at room temperature.
Regardless of how much you make, proportions stay the same: equal amounts of melted salve to liquid. Kids love to see how the mixture changes so let them have a go at it. Use a mixer, hand blender, or beat by hand.
Calendula benefits abound in this cream. It’s an excellent makeup remover and antiseptic face and body cream. Aloe is a humectant/moisturizer and helps relieve sunburn.
- 1/2 cup salve, heated until just melted and warm
- 1/2 cup warm distilled water, aloe water or room temperature aloe gel
- Beat together until fluffy and emulsified. If using water and mixture is fluffy with a little water remaining, pour that off.
- Spoon into containers, seal and store away from heat, light, and moisture. Keeps up to six months.
More Calendula Benefits
- Sprained muscles/bruises: its anti-inflammatory action helps lessen swelling.
- Acne, bedsores: its antiseptic and antimicrobial action helps speed up the healing.
- Eczema, athlete’s foot, dermatitis. It’s the anti-fungal action of calendula that works here.
|Calendula is closely related to the ragweed family, so if you have allergies to ragweed, you may want to avoid calendula. Check with your healthcare provider.|
|According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use calendula. The center states that, in theory, calendula could interfere with conception, and possibly cause miscarriage, so couples trying to get pregnant should not use calendula.|
Calendula vs. Marigold
|Calendula goes by many nicknames, but marigold is not one of them. These two plants come from completely different “families.” Calendula is from the Asteraceae family, which includes the chamomile plant. Marigold, a member of the Tagetes family, includes the common sunflower.
Do not substitute marigold in these recipes for calendula.
Do you make calendula oil? Have you turned it into salves and creams? Let us know!