Calendula Oil & Salve

Easy DIY Calendula Salve Recipe

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!

 

calendula flowers ready to air dry

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.

Fill a jar about one-fourth to one-half full with dried calendula flowers and pour olive or some other light oil (like sunflower or sweet almond oil) over them. Fill the jar almost to the top.

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.

 

Calendula Flowers Infusing In Oil

Now, we’re ready to make our salve!

This is an all-purpose, gentle salve that is suitable for treating:

  • diaper rash
  • scrapes
  • scratches
  • razor burn
  • sores
  • blisters
  • bruises
  • 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.

 

calendula salve

 

To make, you will need:

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.

 

If you enjoyed this easy DIY calendula salve recipe, let’s stay in touch!  Sign up for my newsletter (HERE) to get my best herbal projects, soap ideas and DIY body care recipes sent straight to your inbox, once per month. (No spam ever, unsubscribe at any time.)

You may also like:

Calendula Soap | Calendula Lotion Bars | Calendula Body Butter & Bath Melts

Calendula Soap Recipe   Calendula Lotion Bars are easy to make, are perfect for treating dry/cracked skin, and make wonderful gifts too!   Calendula Whipped Body Butter Recipe

If you like the projects on my site, you’ll love my book – 101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home!

101 Easy Homemade Products By The Nerdy Farm Wife

You can find it at the following places:

Bramble Berry

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Indie Bound

Amazon.com

and wherever books are sold!

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93 Responses to Calendula Oil & Salve

  1. Pingback: 14 Uses For Calendula Tea The Nerdy Farm Wife

  2. Exquisite photos, Jan! And, as always, good information too.

  3. Karen in OH says:

    Great info! Recently used a calendula bar of soap from a home soapmaker and it was great for dry skin and smelled wonderful. With your posting, now I’m interested in growing and using calendula. Thank you for your time and research and sharing your goodies. Always enjoy reading your blog and learning new things.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Karen! So glad you found the information helpful! I’m happy to hear that you are interested in growing and using calendula – it’s a cheerful little flower in the garden with lots of uses for us as well! :)

  4. Mimi says:

    I love this golden treasure. Calendula is nature’s all-in-one gem in my eyes. I’m so glad I found your blog. Thanks for taking the time to share with us! :-)

    • Jan says:

      Hi Mimi! “Golden treasure” is a perfect name for this wonderful flower. :) I’m so glad that you are enjoying the blog!

  5. Karibeth S. says:

    Looks great! Do you have a store on etsy? I have good intentions, but I don’t always follow thru…. um, by that I mean I usually don’t follow thru! ;)

  6. Pingback: How to Make a Calendula Oil & Salve | Herbs and Oils Hub

  7. Beautiful pictures and information! I just render some nice beeswax can’t wait to try this recipe. So glad I found your blog!

  8. Pingback: Calendula Soap The Nerdy Farm Wife

  9. Hello, will calendula oil from herb7pharm work ?

  10. Liz says:

    Can you substitute beeswax pastilles with just beeswax?

  11. Jack Siler says:

    Is there anywhere I can buy double-infused calendula oil?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jack,

      I found a place that offers a double infused oil. I’ve no personal experience with them, but I like how they sound!
      http://www.gardenofwisdom.com/catalog/item/3987807/3778462.htm

      I’ve tried the calendula oil from Mountain Rose Herbs before and thought it had a nice potency – though it appears to be a single infusion.
      http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/oils/herbal.php

      Mountain Rose’s version is 4 oz for $13.50 where Garden of Wisdom is 8 oz for $24.30, so GOW seems fairly on target as far as pricing. I can also emphatically state that although I love the quality of Mountain Rose Herbs, they have incredibly slow shipping & processing times, so if you are only in the states for 3 weeks, that may be a relevant issue.

  12. Genevieve says:

    How long is the shelf-life on the calendula salve & violet leaf balm? How can you tell if it goes bad?

    P.S. I love this site!

    • Jan says:

      Thank you – I’m glad you like it! :) Shelf life should be about a year, if stored where it won’t get too hot. (i.e. Your car’s glovebox is a bad place to keep it.) You can add vitamin E to your salves (after the oils melt, but before pouring) and/or rosemary antioxidants to extend the shelf life further. To tell if it’s gone off, just give it a sniff. It will start to smell like rancid oil.

      • Kelly says:

        Hi Jan,

        I love your post. May I know how much Vitamin E and/ or rosemary antioxidants to add to extend shelf life.

        • Jan says:

          Hi Kelly! I usually do a little splash, if using rosemary antioxidants. That would probably translate to about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon, or approximately 10 to 20 drops. I rarely use vitamin E because I have a relative allergic to most brands, but when I do, I add the contents of one gel capsule to a batch of salve or lip balm. Sometimes two capsules, if they’re small. In these types of crafts, precision isn’t as vital as it would be in something like soap making. How fresh your ingredients are is important for shelf life as well – if you start with a high quality oil, that will help a lot. You can also refrigerate your oils to make them last longer. Salves are generally very stable though and will last a long time, even without any preservative additions.

  13. Irina says:

    Your salve looks very nice and smooth. Any idea why my salve has spots on it after it hardened up, like it didn’t firm evenly. I tried reheating the salve, but it still has spots on it. Any idea why it does that?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Irina! Do you have a picture of the salve, so I have a better idea of what the spots look like? If so, just email me through my contact form & I can tell you where to send the photo: https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/page-3/ Hopefully, I can see it and figure out a solution for you. :)

      • Deborah says:

        Hello there! Curious what happened with the spots in the salve? I had the same issue.

        • Hi Deborah! Were you pouring into a jar or a tin? Sometimes, if you pour in a jar, it gets a sinkhole in it as it cools. To fix that, you can let the melted salve cool slightly before pouring and then only fill the jar about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way. Set the rest of the salve back in the pot of water to stay warm. Once the salve in the jar firms up somewhat (about 10 minutes or so), you can pour the rest of the salve on top. That usually helps give a smoother surface. You can also use a heat gun to smooth out the tops of salves & lip balms. If you were using a tin – were the spots very faint and just more like discolorations? That happened to me a few times, but I’ve yet to figure out why! Since it can evened out a bit with the heat gun, it may have something to do with temperature when pouring.

  14. Dionne Jones says:

    Hi you used the calendula oil to make the salve can you give me the amount of dried flower to olive oil ratio to make the oil. Thank you (the salve will be used on a venous ulcer on the lower legs)

    • Jan says:

      Hi Dionne! I use the folksy method of infusing oils and don’t follow exact measurements. I fill a mason jar about 1/4 to 1/2 full of dried calendula flowers and top it off with oil. If I have a lot of flowers, I use a larger jar; if I only have a few, I use a smaller jar. Once it’s done infusing and been strained, you can pour that calendula oil over a fresh batch of dried flowers to make a stronger, more effective, double infusion.

  15. Ria says:

    Hello Jen
    Yesterday I planted seeds of the calendula in a plastic grape-box , I put some coconutfiber on the bottem and I can’t wait till it comes above the soil.You girls get me started on making oils with dried calendula and comfrey, tonigt I put a fresh batch in the two jar’s,Made already a eczema salve for my husband with coconutoil, and some more ingredients,It works very well, happy to found your site.Greatings Ria

  16. Evie Dawson says:

    Great…. it is safe for children. It is wonderfully gentle and powerful. If I am dealing with a skin issue, calendula is one of my go-to herbs.

  17. Alexa Scott says:

    I found something which I think is calendula but U have searched for images that might relate to it all over the internet and I haven’t found anything. Is there a specific way to identify them?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Alexa! Your best bet is to find a local garden or plant expert who can physically examine the flower to be sure. Try checking with garden centers or your local extension agent.

  18. Janie says:

    Thanks for the info. I harvested and dried some calendula that I grew for my first time and was wondering if you have tried infusing it in coconut oil…do you have a preferred oil that stays fresh the longest and is still effective to use on skin. Also, can I use beeswax from sheets that can sometimes be used to make candles? Trying to use what I have on hand, but not opposed to maybe buying some almond oil and another source of beeswax.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Janie, Yes, calendula is wonderful when infused in coconut oil! I’m not 100% sure about the premade beeswax sheets. I know you can make homemade sheets using pure wax & soaked plywood, but haven’t bought any to compare the difference. As long as it’s pure beeswax though, I would think it would work, but double check with the manufacturer to be sure no skin-unfriendly additives are in it.

  19. Natalie says:

    I was just wondering if this is cloth diaper friendly for diaper rash? Thank you!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Natalie! I’m afraid I haven’t tested it with cloth diapers to know for sure. I just did a quick search of diaper safe creams and notice that they seem to use candelilla wax instead of beeswax. Otherwise, the recipe should be okay. You can buy candelilla wax at brambleberry.com and to substitute in recipes, just use half as much as beeswax called for. (So, if a recipe calls for 1 oz beeswax, use 1/2 ounce candelilla wax instead.) I hope that helps!

  20. Colleen says:

    Hello,
    Last year my calendula seeds didn’t sprout – can you tell me which brand you have had the best luck with?
    Thank you for the tutorial! I have made it using dried calendula bought on ebay and rosemary essential oil from MRH with great results. Thanks again for sharing! Colleen

    • Jan says:

      Hi Colleen! I buy all of my calendula seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – they’re wonderful quality and I’ve never had trouble with anything I bought from them. Their site is rareseeds.com. I’m glad you liked the tutorial!

  21. Lisa Mabry says:

    Attempting my first soap making class. Making Calendula soap – I’ll be infusing sweet almond oil with dried calendula question is, after I have my oil, can I re-use the dried petals to sprinkle on top of the soap? Or do I need to get a fresh batch of petals and simply throw the other’s away??? Hate to be so wasteful – thanks for your time – awesome site, I’ll be back to visit after I conquer my first lesson! Lisa

    • Jan says:

      Hi Lisa! After you strain flower petals from the infusing oil, they’re usually a bedraggled looking mess, so wouldn’t easily sprinkle on like dry petals. However, I can’t say that I’ve ever tried to let them dry back out and see what happens to their appearance. It’s possible they can be reused in that way, so it’s worth an experiment to see! Good luck with your soap making lesson!

  22. Najla says:

    Hi there! Greetings from Malaysia. I don’t have dried calendula to make calendula infused oil but I managed to get calendula oil from a local supplier. Will it be as good? I’m due in about 2 weeks time so I hope I would be able to make some before the baby arrives. Some recipes recommend using essential oil as some oils are said to be safe to be used on babies. What say you?

  23. jacqueline says:

    i would like to know if making homemade balm would require a safety assessment , to allow me to give to friends and family .

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jacqueline! I’m not very familiar with UK’s rules, but I believe that only applies to any handmade products that are to be sold. Those for personal use or gifts should be okay (but again, I’m not 100% sure about that!) You might want to check with someplace in your country such as the Guild of Craft Soap & Toiletry Makers: http://www.gcstm.co.uk/

  24. Felicia says:

    Would Sweet Almond Oil work for the oil instead of olive? Last time i placed a bulk order they mistakenly sent 4 gallons of almond instead of 16 oz. and I am looking for ideas to use it up! Would the sweet almond work in any salve recipe instead of olive?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Felicia! That is a lot of almond oil to use up! I’ve heard of people that prefer sweet almond oil in their salves, so I think it would make a wonderful substitute in any salve recipe.

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  27. Joy says:

    I apologize if this question has already been asked. I saw where you can add Vit. E or Rosemary antioxidants (btw, what is that?) to extend the shelf life of the salve. How long, though, does the infused oil last? Should it be refrigerated? I have some I made and was ready to use in December. I haven’t used all of it and just now took the lid off to smell…and it smells like Olive oil. Is it okay? Should I start a new batch to infuse?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Joy! The shelf life of infused oil will depend on a lot of things, such as: how old the olive oil was when you bought it (older oil will go rancid more quickly), how long you had the olive oil before using it & how it was stored (heat and light will speed up rancidity). I don’t refrigerate my oils and rarely add vitamin E and they still are good for at least a year. As long as your oil smells fresh (or just like oil should smell) and not rancid or old, then it should be good to use! Your batch from December should be fine. More on rosemary antioxidants here: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/rosemary-antioxidant/profile but basically it’s used for the same purpose as Vitamin E to prevent (or postpone) oxidation of oils.

      • Joy says:

        I made another batch of calendula balm today. I also made two batches of soap today(the first batch with honey, colorant and e.o., the second, without). All of my infused oil is now used up. I made up new jars of o.o. and calendula today. I have two pots left from the first batch, which was a double-batch, at least. I sold eight of them. :-) My one-ounce tins would not hold an ounce of the balm…only .7 ounce. Was wondering if your two ounce tins actually held two ounces or less, like my one ounce tins.

        • Jan says:

          That’s wonderful that you’ve sold some of your creations! :) I do believe that the measurements of tins are done as volume instead of weight, since I run into the same problem, with the two oz tins as well.

  28. Vivienne says:

    Hi Jan,

    Thank you for sharing your recipes. Im so glad to have found your website.

    My 11 month old baby has itchy scalp and sometimes flaky. It doesnt look like cradle cap, more like dandruff / seborrheic dermatitis. I was wondering if I can use calendula infused oil mix with coconut oil to rub on his scalp. Or making the salve to rub on his scalp. Will that relief the itchiness?
    Many thanks

  29. Melanie says:

    Hi again Jan! Am going to give this one a shot. However, I only was able to calendula flower petals and not the whole flower. Does this make a different in the benefits the salve will give? Thanks in advance! (oh! and LOVE the mint ebook – just finished it on my kindle :D)

    • Jan says:

      He Melanie, I’m so happy that you liked the mint ebook! :) For calendula, you can use either the petals or the whole flower. I hope you enjoy your salve!

  30. Susan Cain says:

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  31. Stephanie says:

    Hi, I have been infusing calendula for about a week. I started a new quart jar with calendula, st. john’s wort, comfrey and rosehip.. It has been a little over a week for the calendula and 2 or 3 days with the other.. Can I open the jars and combine the two.. The calendula is infusing in extra light olive oil and the other one is sweet almond oil. I will be using these to make healing salve.. Thanks

  32. Jodie Brewin says:

    Hi from the UK :)

    I have both Endometriosis and Adenomyosis which is (to a degree) under control with hormone treatments but I want to kick the pain completely. What is better for this – the calendula oil or cream? Also, is there a specific brand you recommend and is there anything else herbally that I can try while I’m at it?

    Thank you
    Jodie

    • Hi Jodie! I’m not sure if calendula salve/cream helps with pain from endometriosis? (It may, I just haven’t researched that to be sure.)
      I did find this on Methow Valley Herbs:
      http://www.methowvalleyherbs.com/2010/08/holistic-herbal-perspectives-for.html
      Even though it’s mostly on fertility, it will have some overlapping information that should be helpful to you as well.
      “Endometriosis affects 5 – 10% of women. The causes can vary and protocols would be tailored to the individual. General suggestions will be around improving liver health and lymphatic health, pelvic decongestants and adaptogens.”
      Here’s another link from Rosalee (at her newer site than Methow Valley Herbs) about cramp bark which might be promising:
      http://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/viburnum-opulus.html
      I do hope you’re able to find some relief of that final bit of pain! I had a loved one that suffered from endometriosis and I know it makes life quite difficult!

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  34. Tammy Cannon says:

    HELP!! What can I do when my salve is runny? Reheat? More slushy texture than runny…

  35. Shelby says:

    Hi there, mine seems to be too firm?? And then I made one too soft because I tried adding coconut oil as well (I’m using infused calendula olive oil ). I feel like I’m Goldilocks but with salve…I need one that’s juuustt right. ha
    What’s the best hardness/softness for a salve? Able to easily make an indent with a finger? I know it shouldn’t be this difficult. Thank you so much for your help!

    • Hi Shelby! A lot of it is personal preference for how firm or soft you want your salve. I like mine on the soft side, more ointment like, where I’ve bought others that were quite firm. You can melt your too-firm salve and add more oil and add more beeswax to your too-soft salve. Instead of waiting for it to set up and seeing how it went, you can stick a metal spoon in the freezer until cold, dip it in your melted salve and let it set up. Test the salve right off of the spoon and you’ll get a pretty good idea if you added enough beeswax/oil. That way you’re not stuck melting salve for ages! I hope you find that just right texture! :)

  36. Shelby says:

    Thank you so much!! I’ll try it this evening! :)

  37. Stephanie says:

    can Calendula healing salve be used on an infant with a yeast infection?

    • Hi Stephanie! You could do a test patch and see if it would help. (If you’re making your own homemade salves, I would completely avoid adding any essential oil to a product intended for an infant.) Another idea is a calendula tea wash and lots of fresh air to the area.
      https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/14-uses-for-calendula-tea/
      I’ve also heard of some moms using breast milk to treat diaper rash. (No experience with it, but just something I’ve heard!)
      If none of the home remedies are working, your pediatrician should have some helpful advice. I hope that your baby feels better soon!

  38. Sharon says:

    You are so awesome! :) Every time I read something of yours I get questions answered and amazing information! Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  39. Pingback: How to grow and use Calendula Flowers for Beauty & Cooking | Lovely Greens

  40. Vanessa says:

    would it be ok to just leave out the beeswax? for vegan purposes? i heard i can use candelilla wax?? its the same price but only less than half should be used more or less. would love your opinion on this. im a newbie to all this! thanks!

    • Hi Vanessa! You sure can use candelilla wax instead. I usually use a little over half as much candelilla, as I would for beeswax. So, say a recipe calls for 10 grams of beeswax, you might would use around 6 grams or so of candelilla. You’ll probably have to experiment to get the right consistency. Just melt down your salve if it doesn’t turn out quite like you’d like and add more oil (if it’s too firm) or candelilla wax (if it’s too soft). One thing I’ve found about candelilla wax is that it sometimes has a faintly unpleasant smell (probably depends on vendor), so I always add a bit of extra essential oil, like lavender, to mask the scent.

  41. Esther says:

    Hi, can i add a dried calendula to the salve before pouring into the jar for decorative purpose? Is it going to contaminate the salve?

    • Hi Esther! I’ve seen people do that for decoration and it does look pretty. It would probably be okay if you used a single, completely dried flower right on the top, so it can be removed by the end-user easily. From a practical standpoint, you just don’t want petals or flowers mixed throughout because it would make the salve more difficult to use.

  42. Sara says:

    I infused calendula 2 years ago, will it still be good to use?

    • Hi Sara, Sorry I missed this question earlier! Sometimes a bunch comes in at once and I miss some in the process! Two years is a pretty long time. Does the oil still smell fresh or does it smell like oil oil or rancid?
      I would tend to want to throw out oil that old, but if it’s something like jojoba oil with a long shelf life, then it might still be good.

  43. Corrita says:

    I wanted to make this for my 18 mo son for his eczema. Can you make the cream/salve with the calendula essential oil? Im not having any luck with finding the actual flower…

    • Hi Corrita! I’ve not used calendula essential oil, so I’m not 100% sure how much to add to the recipe, to equal the benefits of calendula flower infused oil. You might be able to check your bottle and see if the manufacturer has a number or website, where you can ask them how to use it to replace calendula flower infused oil. Hopefully, they have a better idea than I do. This article might have some usage guidelines for toddlers as well:
      http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2012/02/essential-oils-for-baby.html
      Good luck! I hope you find some relief for your little guy!

  44. Lisa says:

    Can you please tell me if the oil and beeswax are measured in weight or volume when making this salve recipe? Thank you.

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  46. Heather says:

    Would it be okay to use coconut oil instead of olive?

    • Hi Heather! Yes, you sure can use coconut oil in salves, instead of olive oil. In cold weather or climates it may make the salve a tad bit harder, so you may want to use a smidge less beeswax in the recipe. If it turns out too soft, you can always remelt it and add a little more wax if needed.

  47. Melanie says:

    Hello Jan! I was wondering – how do you infuse with coconut oil if it solidifies in cooler temps? Do you keep it to the stove top method? Also, can canola oil be used in any of your infusions? Or is olive, almond, avocado (etc) the better choice? Thanks and love receiving your newsletters! Just received your book as an early birthday present and am very excited to read! Take care and be well!

    • Hi Melanie! Happy Birthday and I hope you enjoy your book! :) I usually use the stove top method for infusing coconut oil. If you have a warm sunny window, you can leave it there too for several days to a week. It might solidify at night and melt during the day, but it seems to infuse really well that way too.
      As far as I know, canola doesn’t have any particular benefits for the skin, so I don’t really use it. It won’t hurt your skin or anything, it just won’t give the extra benefits of something like sunflower or almond oil.
      Here’s a really good article by Formula Botanica (a school that teaches organic skin care):
      https://formulabotanica.com/8-best-oils-botanical-oil-infusions/

      • Melanie says:

        Thanks for the info and the website! I’ll give the window a try as it’s been quite warm here throughout the day. Take care!

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