So, if you follow us on social media (on instagram here, or on facebook here) you might notice that we post photos of calendula more often than we do any of the other flowers and plants that grow in our Vermont gardens. There’s a lot of reasons for this, just as there are a lot of reasons that this is an amazing plant. It’s high-summer in our gardens now, and our calendula plants are booming. We thought we’d give this plant the homage it deserves in a blog post, because it’s just full of fun facts – and then, we figure we’ll do the same for some of the other fantastic botanicals that we get to know each summer. Calendula is known as a healing plant, and has been used for centuries to soothe skin irritations, inflammations or even full-on wounds like cuts or scrapes. Creams, salves and oils containing calendula are popular for reducing redness, rashes, rosacea or other forms of distress or visible inflammation on the skin, but its uses don’t end there: it’s great in teas (for soothing stomach issues), bath soaks, facial steams or tinctures, and has invariably healing, rejuvenating and calming.
For our skincare formulas, we hand-pick our calendula throughout the summer (the plants grow through the season and continue to produce flowers even after they’ve been picked once – we love how productive they are!) and dry the flowers in our greenhouse. Then, we take the dried flowers and soak them in organic olive oil in a process of heating and cooling that pulls the benefits from the flowers and infuses the oil. It’s that calendula oil that we incorporate into our skincare, full of the fresh flowers’ healing properties.
Did you Know? – Calendula makes a fabulous friend in the garden, as it repels pests like aphids or tomato hornworms, and is often used as a companion plant for growing veggies like lettuce, tomatoes or potatoes. – The petals are edible! Sprinkle some on a salad for a fun pop of color. They don’t really have much of a taste, so it’s more of a decoration. – The rich yellow color of the flowers has been used throughout history as a dye for fabric. – Calendulas are holy flowers in India, and necklaces made of them are often seen draped around the necks of statues of Hindu gods and goddesses. – During the American Civil War, calendula flowers were used in rudimentary first aid systems on the battlefields as antiseptics, as their cleansing elements help to purify the area to prevent infection. (Who knew!) Calendula is a great DIY beauty ingredient… you can make your own version of our Calendula oil above! Here is a wonderful recipe from Mountain Rose Blog:
“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 isnt getting too warm. Once the oil has infused, strain out the herbs using cheesecloth and package the infused oil into glass bottles.”
Original source for the recipe here.
Author: Tata Harper Team
The team at Tata Harper Skincare is passionate about promoting a modern, health-conscious natural beauty lifestyle that’s committed to safety, honesty and sustainability.