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by Fiona McBryde May 08, 2020

Calendula is a bit of scene stealer wherever it grows. It's an easy to grow herbaceous annual that’s been at the heart of the kitchen garden since Roman times.  Big daisy-like flowers of  bright oranges and golds follow the sun, turning their heads through the day. Most herbs are grown for their aromatic foliage or flower. Not so, Calendula. It’s all about Colour!

Petal Power

Calendula flowers have been used in all sorts of ways from adding a savoury peppery note to cooking, like its name sake “poor man’s saffron” or "pot marigold", to floral decorations in the home, but the stand out quality has been its enduring ability to soothe and heal damaged skin.

Packed with antioxidants, Calendula has been used topically for its anti-inflammatory and wound-healing effects for centuries. 

During the American Civil War, soldiers carried Calendula flowers with them into the battlefields to treat open wounds and burns. There’s a lovely story too about the garden designer Gertude Jeykll who dedicated a field on her on her estate to grow Calendula to send to the field hospitals of France in the First World War. 

 

One from the family photo album - our daughter Beatrice, doing as all children do, smelling a Calendula flower from the allotment. A good lesson that all not flowers are scented
We use calendula flowers in our soap, it's one of the very few botanicals which don't lose their colour in cold process soap making - a testiment to the intensity of antioxidants

How to make a calendula infusion at home

Calendula oil makes a soothing natural remedy for dry skin, minor burns, scraped knees, sunburnt skin, chapped lips, wasp and insect bites. Massage the oil directly onto the skin or blend into salves, lip balms, body butters and soaps.

Ingredients

Equal parts carrier oil and dried Calendula flowers. 

Olive oil is a good choice as its rich, nourishing qualities compliment calendula perfectly. It has a long shelf life, though do check the BBE dates if you are using a bottle straight from your cupboard. Sunflower oil makes a lighter feeling oil, but tends to have a shorter shelf life. 

If you are using Calendula flowers fresh from your garden, make sure they are thoroughly dried first.

Directions

  • Place your dried calendula into a heatproof bowl
  • Cover the flowers with the oil and then a dash more to allow for the flowers to swell
  • Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and allow the oil to gently heat
  • Keep on the heat for 1 -2 hours the time until the oil has absorbed the colour of the flowers. You might need longer depending on how much oil is in the bowl
  • Allow to cool
  • Strain the oil using a muslin cloth, or a fine clean cloth
  • Bottle into a kilner jar, glass bottle or clean jam jar

 

A bottle or jar of calendula oil is a good standby remedy in the cabinet and makes a wonderful homemade gift.

You could try adding a couple of drops of essential oil if you don't care for the natural botanic scent of calendula. Lavender or chamomile would be a good choice. Just be sure to label your oil with the ingredients you have used and the date you made the oil, if you are gifting this to someone.

Finally, keep in a cool, dark place or in the fridge and use within 6 months.

We used a little bit of repurposed calendula soap wrap on this bottle - the perfect foil!.
Fiona McBryde
Fiona McBryde

Founder. Soap maker. Never finishes a cup of tea.


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