This week on the blog, I’m sharing ways that you can use calendula.
What I really love about this sunny flower is that it’s:
- extremely easy to grow from seed
- is safe enough to use on a baby or pet
- is a potent skin healer
- and is a powerful fighter of germs and inflammation
By letting the flowers infuse in oil, we’re able to extract many of those properties and incorporate them into easy-to-use products such as: salve, lip balm, soap, cream and lotion recipes.
Another use for calendula oil is in treating ear aches. Place 2 to 3 drops in your ear and hold a heated rice bag or hot water bottle over it. (Not for ruptured ear drums and if symptoms get worse, check with your doctor.)
For ear mites in pets, place a few drops in their ear. Gently massage the area to work it in a bit, if they’ll let you.
Now that you know some ways to use it, let’s make this wonderful oil!
We want to use dried flowers for this. While you can use fresh herbs to make infused oils, the higher water content greatly increase your chances of spoilage when doing so.
If you raise your own flowers, just spread them out in a single layer on a paper towel or brown paper bag in a place they won’t be disturbed. Turn them over every day or so and let them air dry for a week or two.
If you don’t have access to fresh, you can buy some online. I like to buy most of my dried herbs at Mountain Rose Herbs (affiliate link), but your local health store might be able to supply you with some as well.
Cap and store in a cool, dark place for four to six weeks, shaking periodically, then strain and use.
You can infuse your oil, in a quicker manner, by setting the uncovered jar of oil and flowers gently into a pan of water set over a medium-low burner. Heat slowly for a few hours, then remove the pan from the heat source.
You can then use it right away, or for better results, let it infuse several days longer in a dark cabinet.
To make a double infused (and more powerful) oil, take your freshly strained oil and repeat the process with a new batch of dried flowers.
Now, we’re ready to make our salve!
This is an all-purpose, gentle salve that is suitable for treating:
- diaper rash
- razor burn
- mild burns
- hot spots
- insect bites
- dry skin areas
- and more!
Calendula is safe for use on: dogs, cats, horses, cows, bunnies, goats, chickens and ducks too! (Since cats are especially sensitive to herbs, use a small amount at a time and don’t use long term. I safely use a bit on my cat’s ears when he has damaged them in a fight, but check with your vet first to find out if calendula is safe for your kitty’s particular health situation.)
This salve is perfect to have on hand in your emergency kit since it will cover almost any minor skin ailment that a person or animal could experience.
To make, you will need:
- 3.5 ounces of calendula infused oil
- .5 ounces beeswax pastilles
Add the oil and beeswax into a heat proof container. Set it gently into a pan containing several inches of water. Bring the temperature up to medium-lowish heat and let the container stay in the makeshift double boiler until the wax is melted.
Remove from heat and pour into tins of jars. This batch will fill about two 2 ounce tins, as pictured. (I buy my tins and small jars from Specialty Bottle or Mountain Rose Herbs.)
If you’d like to make a pretty label for your salve, check out my tutorial on making round labels.
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