Here are 10 creative ways to use calendula flowers for skin care and health!
Calendula flowers are traditionally used for their beneficial properties:
- skin soothing
Calendula is sometimes confused with garden marigolds, so make sure you’re working with the right plant.
Visit Unruly Gardening for a great article and visual chart showing the differences between calendula (Calendula officinalis) and marigolds (Tagetes spp.)
A few notes before we begin:
1. If your calendula flowers are fresh, you’ll need to dry them before making most of these recipes. To do so, spread the flower heads out in a single layer on paper towels or clean dish towels and let them air dry for several days.
2. If you don’t grow your own calendula, you can purchase dried organic flowers from Mountain Rose Herbs.
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1. Calendula Flower Infused Oil
Calendula infused oil can be massaged directly onto dry, irritated skin or used as an ingredient in recipes for salves, lotions, creams, soaps, and lotion bars. Shelf life of strained, infused oil is around 1 year.
To make it, fill a canning jar about half-way up with dried calendula flowers. Cover with about twice as much as your favorite carrier oil, or to the top of the jar. (Suggested oils include sunflower, olive, sweet almond, apricot kernel, avocado, hemp and so forth.)
For a quick infusion: Set the uncovered jar down into a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Heat over a low burner for a few hours, keeping a close eye that the water doesn’t evaporate out. Remove from heat and strain. The quick infusion is the best way to infuse coconut oil.
For a slower, more traditional infusion: Cap the jar of calendula flowers and oil and tuck away in a cabinet for around 4 to 6 weeks, shaking occasionally as you remember to. When the infusing time has passed, strain.
For an alternative option: You could also set the jar of flowers and oil in a sunny windowsill for several days to a week to jump start the infusion. (Don’t store for long periods in sunlight though, as it tends to fade flowers and herbs over time.)
2. Calendula Flower Salve
This recipe uses the infused oil we made above. It’s perfect for including in your first aid kit since it helps soothe many minor skin ailments such as scratches, dry spots, diaper rash, razor burn, minor scrapes, insect bites and more. Calendula salve can be used on pets and farm animals too!
To make it, combine 3.5 oz (100 g) of calendula infused oil with 0.5 (15 g) beeswax in a heatproof jar or empty tin can. (For a vegan option – try using roughly half as much candelilla wax instead of beeswax.)
Set the jar/can down into a saucepan containing an inch or two of water. Place the pan over a medium-low burner and heat until the wax is fully melted. Pour the melted mixture into tins or jars. Shelf life is around 1 year.
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3. Whipped Calendula Coconut Oil
This is a super simple recipe that requires only two ingredients – dried calendula flowers and coconut oil.
To make, infuse calendula flowers in coconut oil, using the quick method (see #1 above.) Once fully infused and strained, pour the melted calendula-infused coconut oil in a bowl and place it in the refrigerator for about 20 to 30 minutes or until it starts firming up. Remove from the refrigerator and beat the chilled oil with a handheld mixer until it’s light & fluffy. This may take up to 5 minutes. Scoop the coconut oil in a jar and store in a cool area that stays under 76°F (24°C), the melting point of coconut oil.
This recipe can also be found in my Big Book of Homemade Products.
4. Calendula Lotion Bars
Lotion bars are the best thing ever for dry, cracked skin. They’re really easy to throw together and make wonderful gifts too!
Lotion bars are usually made with equal parts (by volume) of infused oil, beeswax and a vegetable butter, such as shea, mango or cocoa. If you make a lotion bar and it feels too soft, just remelt it and add more beeswax. If it feels too hard, remelt it and add more oil. Lotion bars are very forgiving to work with!
To make, combine 1/4 cup (52 g) calendula infused oil, 1/4 cup (28 g) beeswax and 1/4 cup (44 g) shea, mango or cocoa butter in a heatproof canning jar or upcycled tin can. (For a vegan version, use roughly half as much candelilla wax instead of beeswax.)
Set the jar/can down into a saucepan containing an inch or two of water. Place the pan over a medium-low burner and heat until everything is melted. If you’d like to add a few drops of essential oil for scent, do so at this point. Pour the melted mixture into heatproof silicone candy molds.
To use, rub a lotion bar over your skin wherever it feels dry. They’re especially helpful for spot treating rough feet, knees and elbows. Store your lotion bars in a cool area, out of direct sunlight and they should have a shelf life of around 9 months to a year.
5. Calendula Soap
This is a mild, unscented calendula soap bar that’s very gentle. It’s made with calendula infused oil and calendula tea.
Or, you may also like this Calendula Tallow Soap recipe over at Homestead Honey.
6. Calendula Oatmeal Soak
This bath soak is specially designed for sensitive or itchy skin types. Ground oats soothe irritated skin while calendula flowers calm inflammation. If desired, you can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil for a light relaxing scent.
- 2 tbsp dried calendula petals
- 1/4 cup (26 g) rolled oats
- 1/2 cup (144 g) fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup (63 g) Epsom salt
- lavender essential oil (optional)
How to Make: Using an electric coffee grinder, blend the oats and calendula together until finely powdered. Stir together the sea salt and Epsom salt. If using, add the lavender essential oil. Add the powdered oats and calendula and stir until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Store the soak in a tightly closed glass jar for three to four months, keeping in mind that the scent may fade over time.
How to Use: To use, dump the entire cup of bath soak into a bathtub as it fills with comfortably warm water.
7. Calendula Tea
Calendula tea can be used for all sorts of things, from a sore throat gargle to a disinfecting wound spray to a hot spot treatment for dogs.
8. Calendula Cupcake Sprinkles
Edible flowers, such as calendula, can be used as all-natural colorants to create cupcake and baking sprinkles that are free from fake colors.
You can find the directions to make them in my article, Naturally Colored Decorating Sugar (using edible flowers). (If you’re sugar free, try the coconut version instead!)
9. Calendula Cream
This lovely calendula cream is thick and rich, almost like a body butter, and can be used like lotion or like a healing salve.
10. Calendula Cocoa Butter Balm
This Calendula Cocoa Butter Balm is filled with nourishing ingredients. The cocoa butter is deeply moisturizing and the infused oils are softening and healing as well. The beeswax adds some hardening and further protects the skin.