One of my favorite plants for herbal skincare is the golden goddess calendula (Calendula officinalis) Not only does this little beauty bloom every month of the year if nurtured well, she self seeds and preparations made from her are safe for the whole family.
I particularly enjoy using calendula for chapped lips, dry cuticles, scars, and burns, not to mention simply as massage oil. While she is good for everyday nurturing, she can also help soothe stubborn skin conditions including yeast and fungal infections.
I have been using calendula salve after nursing my daughter to help with chapped nipples, and for my daughter when she gets a little rashy bottom (It won’t damage cloth diapers, either!)
You can make your own calendula oil following the recipe below, or you can purchase locally grown and homemade oils or salves through the GRUB website.
Growing- direct seed calendula in full sun/mostly sun anywhere your garden or window box needs a little color. She likes rich, well worked soil, but will tolerate less.
Harvesting – pluck the blossoms by pinching with your fingernail or using clippers on the day the flower fully opens. If you do this regularly, but plant will continue to bloom almost year round.
Drying– dry your blossoms spread out on a screen or in a wicker basket.
Recipe – when you have enough blossoms dried, follow the recipe below for an easy, safe, nourishing skin treatment.
1. Make sure your blossoms are dry
2. Fill a mason jar with your blossoms. Use whatever size the blossoms will fill when lightly packed. You should leave about 1.5 inches of room from the top of the jar.
3. Fill the jar with organic olive oil.
4. Using a wooden chopstick poke out the air bubbles, adding more oil if necessary.
5. Let your preparations sit for 6 weeks. Check it every couple of days in the beginning, poking out air bubbles and adding oil if needed, so that the all of the blossoms are covered.
6. Use cheesecloth, a tea towel or a clean old cotton shirt to strain the oil into a clean jar.
7. Let the oil sit for 3-4 days.
8. You will notice a layer of darker liquid at the bottom of the jar. This is water and will cause the oil to go rancid if not separated. Skim the oil off the top. I like to use a turkey baster to make sure to only get oil without water.
9. If you have a lot of oil, add a few drops of vitamin e oil to help preserve it for longer.
10. Use liberally and enjoy!
Bevin Clare, Wise Women Herbal Conference. 2012
Byers, Dorie. Herbal Remedy Garden: 38 Plants for your Health and Well Being
Balch, Phyllis Prescription for Herbal Healing
Disclaimer: The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or health condition. The information provided here is for educational purposes only, and should not be used to diagnose and treat diseases. If you have a serious health problem, we recommend that you consult a competent health practitioner.