What is Calendula?
Calendula (calendula officinalis) is a plant originating from the Mediterranean region and is sometimes called pot marigold. However it is different from the marigolds found at plant nurseries in the USA. Calendula has been prized for centuries for it’s healing capabilities.
Calendula, is a genus of about 15–20 species of annual and perennial herbaceous plants in the daisy family Asteraceae that are often known as marigolds. They are native to southwestern Asia, western Europe, Macaronesia, and the Mediterranean.Wikipedia
Calendula is easy to grow
Calendula is a hardy annual that thrives in cooler weather. Plant seeds directly in the ground after the snow is gone a couple weeks before the last frosts. Space the plants 10-12 inches apart for best results. Blooming begins in about 8 weeks from sprouting and will last into late fall, even tolerating frost. I bought one small package of seeds which gave me enough blooms to use and enjoy. I saved enough seeds off those for the following year.
How to harvest the flowers
Harvest the flowers by simply popping off there heads. Don’t pick the stems as new flowers will continue to emerge. Harvesting flowers produces more blooms. Pop the heads off in the early mornings after the dew has dried. I only use newly opened flowers. I always leave a few flowers to go to seed. This will be next years planting.
How to infuse with oil
Immediately after picking the flowers inspect for insects and place blossoms in a clean glass jar that has been boiled in water for 5 minutes. Pour a carrier oil over the blooms until covered, add 10 drops of vitamin E oil as a preservative. Shake. Place in a cool dark place for 6-8 weeks shaking every few days. Strain, squeeze or press the blossoms to get every bit of oil. Add 10 more drops of Vitamin E oil. Bottle in a cobalt blue or dark brown glass container and store in a dark cool place.
What is a carrier oil?
Carrier oils are naturally derived from vegetarian sources and have a neutral smell. They are not volatile like essential oils, which makes them an excellent medium for dilution and application. I am using Sweet Almond because it is considered to be the perfect all-purpose carrier oil that works well in most recipes. All oils including cooking oils have a shelf life and can go rancid within a year. Check the expiration date on the package. Carrier oils do not like extreme or repeated changes in temperature. This is why oils come in dark colored glass bottles and are recommended to store them in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat. Deterioration will begin once they are exposed to heat and air, which starts at the factory where they are made. Mix small batches that you know will be used up before they expire. Buy all oils in small quantities. Note: Rancid oils should not be consumed and can cause major health issues. Never reuse oils that you have cooked with, and always smell them before use.
Here is a list of carrier oils I have used: grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, shea butter.
Why add calendula to oil?
For the health benefits. The flowers of Calendula are edible and have been used for centuries for a variety of ailments. I invite you do to your own research into this amazing plant and it’s health benefits.
- Wound healing
- Burn soothing
- Immune boosting
- Collagen regeneration
- Liver, gallbladder, and uterine tonic
- Rash soothing
- Calming scrapes, cuts, bites, and other minor wounds
- General skincare
What to do with the calendula infused oil?
This infused oil can be used just as it is or in recipes.
I am making a healing salve with my oil.
- 1 cup of calendula infused oil
- 2 tbsp bees wax
- 2 tbsp shea butter
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil
- 5 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 1/4 tsp. vitamin E oil
Gently heat beeswax and shea butter together until completely melted on the lowest heat setting necessary to melt. Add infused oil to the beeswax shea mixture. Heat just until all is evenly melted and mixed together. Add vitamin E oil and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat. Add the essential oils last. Note: Do not over heat as this destroys the healing qualities. Pour into a clean jar and seal. Store in a cool dark place.