Herb of the week: Calendula

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You may have seen calendula listed as an ingredient in your skin products. I include a large amount of it in my Hello Beautiful Calendula Lip balm. Not only is this flower a beautiful golden color, it is also known for its skin healing properties and ability to mend wounds by helping with cell repair and growth.

Calendula for the Skin
Whether applied externally or internally, calendula can aid in preventing infections due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities. It is used on the skin in the form of a “cream, salve, balm, or ointment to treat bruises, sores, skin ulcers, skin infections, rashes” and even acne (Gladstar). Mothers can use calendula for their babies as it is both “soothing and gentle” for treating skin problems such as cradle cap, diaper rash, and other common irritations (Gladstar).

An up-close view of a calendula flower I grew. Calendula flowers vary in color from golden-yellow to light brown.
To create a medicinal balm or salve, dried calendula flower petals must be steeped in olive oil for a minimum of 2 to 4 weeks in a dark cabinet or in a sunny place. This process is called an infusion. After the allotted time, the calendula petals are drained from the olive oil and the oil is now ready to be used in a balm, salve, cream, or ointment.

Calendula flower petals being prepared to steep in olive oil
Calendula for the Body
Making calendula tea with infuser
Calendula flower petals can also be used to make a nourishing tea. Calendula tea is useful in “moderating a fever, keeping it from rising too high” (Gladstar). The lymphatic system of the body is also helped by drinking calendula tea; it cleanses and treats swollen glands by removing congestion.
I use dried calendula to make a delicious tea that can be drank for those suffering from hair loss due to inflammation. I also use calendula tea in my herbal hair spritz to calm and soothe an inflamed or irritated scalp.

Last year I began growing calendula in my family garden and loved the results. After harvesting the flowers, I set them to dry and used the flower petals to create my medicinal oil. I steep the petals in organic olive oil for 2 to 3 weeks, before removing the petals and using the oil to create balms.

I do this same process when creating my Hello Beautiful Calendula Lip balm. All in all, it is a fun and rewarding process creating calendula oil.

Source: Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub., 2012. Print.

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If you have any questions about this multipurpose herb, leave them below!


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