Calendula Oil

Marigold has much value today and in traditional cultures as a homeopathic remedy, but the oil extracted from the flowers, called calendula oil, is not far behind in providing benefits. Learn more about this oil distilled from the petals of the pot marigold or Calendula officinalis, and how you can harness its health and practical everyday uses.

What Is Calendula Oil?

Marigold is a genus of about 15 to 20 species of plants in the Asteraceae family. This flower is native to Southwestern Asia, as well as Western Europe and the Mediterranean. The common name “marigold” refers to the Virgin Mary, to which it is associated in the 17th century.

Apart from being used to honor the Virgin Mary during Catholic events, marigold was also considered by ancient Egyptians to have rejuvenating properties. Hindus used the flowers to adorn statues of gods in their temples, as well as to color their food, fabrics, and cosmetics.

Pot marigold or C. Officinalis is the most commonly cultivated and used species and is the source of the herbal oil. “Calendula” comes from the Latin word “calendae,” meaning “little calendar,” because the flower blooms on the calends or the first of most months. It should not be confused with ornamental marigolds of the Tagetes genus, commonly grown in vegetable gardens.

Calendula, with fiery red and yellow petals, is full of flavonoids, which are found naturally in vegetables and fruits and are substances that give plants their lovely bright colors.

Calendula oil is distilled from the flower tops and is quite sticky and viscous. It has a very strange smell described as musky, woody, and even rotten – like the marigold flowers themselves. This smell does not readily appeal to many individuals, even in when used in a remedy.

Uses of Calendula Oil

Here are three classifications of calendula plant and oil uses:

    1. Health and wellness – It has tonic, sudorific, emmenagogic, and antispasmodic properties, but it is mainly used for skin care and treatment. It has great anti-inflammatory and vulnerary action, making it helpful with stubborn wounds, acne, ulcers, bed sores, varicose veins, rashes, eczema, and related conditions. It addresses sore, inflamed, and itchy skin conditions.Calendula massage oil also greatly heals, soothes, and softens skin, making it a good addition to massage oils or when preparing a carrier oil blend.
    2. Cooking – Since the Middle Ages, the petals of marigold have been used as “the poor man’s saffron” for coloring cheeses, butter, and dishes. During the Elizabethan era, both petals and leaves were used in salads, although the latter showed to be very strong. The petals flavored soups and stews.
    3. Practical uses – Marigold has been used as a dye. Dried petals can also be added in potpourris.

Composition of Calendula Oil

In a study, calendula oil was obtained in low yield (0.3 percent) by steam distillation with cohabitation from flowers and whole plants. Identified by the researchers were 66 components, mainly sesquiterpene alcohols. α-cadinol was the main constituent, about 25 percent. The essential oil from the whole plant was found different from that of the flowers through the presence of monoterpenes hydrocarbons aside from the alcohols.

The principal constitutes of calendula essential oil are flavonoids, saponoside, triterpene alcohol, and a bitter principle. The useful components of calendula itself include a volatile oil, carotenoids, flavonoids, mucilage, resin, polysaccharides, aromatic plant acids, saponins, glycosides, and sterols.

Benefits of Calendula Oil

Calendula oil is traditionally used for abdominal cramps and constipation. It’s your skin that will receive a good bulk of the benefits, thanks to the oil’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and related properties. Here are some of the promoted benefits of this oil:

  1. Skin dryness or chapping – Calendula oil is a great moisturizer for dry skin and for severely chapped or split skin. It soothes the area and reduces the pain.
  2. Inflammation – It works well on swelling sprained muscles or bruises; its anti-inflammatory action helps lessen swelling from injury. Calendula oil also helps treat spider veins, varicose veins, leg ulcers, and chilblains.
  3. Baby care – The oil helps relief diaper rashes, which can extremely irritate an infant.
  4. Minor cuts and wounds – The antiseptic and antimicrobial action of the oil help speed up healing of wounds and minor cuts, and also benefit insect bites, acne, and bed sores.
  5. Skin issues – Eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and other skin problems can be soothed using calendula oil, applied topically. Calendula oil’s antifungal action is also great for treating athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch.

How to Make Calendula Oil

Calendula oil is extracted by steam distillation. There is almost no way to obtain 100 percent pure calendula essential oil, so this makes calendula essential oil an infusion and not a pure extract. In order to get the oil from the flower, the petals are steeped in oil, preferably olive oil. The oil left over when distillation is done is calendula oil, which should be a golden orange color.

You can create homemade calendula oil using the following instructions:

What you will need:

  • Dried calendula petals
  • Carrier oil (olive oil, almond oil, or sunflower oil are some great options)
  • A clean glass jar with a lid

There are two methods to infuse the oil:

  • Cold infusion method – This is the usually preferred techniques because it protects the delicate calendula from heat damage.
    1. Put your desired amount of dried calendula petals in a clean, dry glass jar.
    2. Fill the jar with your carrier oil of choice to cover the petals by an inch.
    3. Put in a sunny place to infuse for four weeks.
    4. Drain the petals from the oil and store the oil in a container with a lid for up to one year.
  • Hot infusion method – This method is much quicker than the cold infusion method but won’t have the same strength because of the presence of heat.
    1. Put your desired amount of dried calendula petals in a clean, dry glass jar.
    2. Fill the jar with your carrier oil of choice to cover the petals by an inch.
    3. Dump the entire contents of the jar (the petals and the oil) in a small saucepan or slow cookers. Heat on low for four hours, stirring occasionally.
    4. Let cool. Drain the petals from the oil and store the oil in a container with a lid for up to one year.

You can use the homemade calendula oil as an after-bath body oil, salve, baby oil, lotion, or home remedy for dry skin, inflamed areas, or rashes.

How Does Calendula Oil Work?

Calendula oil is used in various products, oftentimes as a great base for lotions, salves, creams, several natural cosmetics and personal care products, and herbal ointments. It also very commonly works as a base oil in aromatherapy. Furthermore, you can use calendula oil in an all-natural herbal hair color recipe.

You can create an infused oil by filling a jar with the dried flowers, which you cover with a carrier oil. You can get more out of these flowers by macerating the mixture in a blender. Leave it infused for two weeks or more to extract the flowers’ beneficial properties. When ready to use, filter the oil through cheesecloth, and use it directly in a balm or as part of a homemade cream or lotion.

Is Calendula Oil Safe?

Calendula oil is generally safe for use, but I advise you to heed the following safety guidelines and considerations:

  1. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should generally avoid using calendula oil. Do not take calendula by mouth, as there is a concern that it might cause a miscarriage. Avoid topical use as well.
  2. An allergic reaction may occur in individuals who are sensitivity to ragweed and related plants, such as marigolds, chrysanthemums, and daisies. Before using calendula oil, check with your doctor if you have allergies.
  3. Combined with medications used during and after surgery, calendula use might cause too much drowsiness and should be stopped at least two weeks before surgery.

Side Effects of Calendula Oil

If you are not pregnant, nursing, allergic, or about to undergo surgery, you can use calendula oil with likely no side effect. It is best, however, to consult your healthcare provider, especially for therapeutic use.

Remember, though, that sedative medications or CNS depressants interact with calendula. The plant extract might cause sleepiness and drowsiness, and taking it with sedative drugs might result in excess sleepiness. Some sedative drugs include clonazepam, (Klonopin), phenobarbital (Donnatal), and zolpidem (Ambien). I advise you to also explore safe, natural ways to get a good night’s sleep.

Lemongrass Oil

You may have tasted the refreshingly mild flavor of lemongrass, a herb that’s commonly added to foods and beverages. But have you ever tried using lemongrass oil, an all-around herbal oil with many health benefits? Keep on reading to discover more about lemongrass oil.

What Is Lemongrass Oil?

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon) is a tall perennial plant from the Poaceae grass family, which thrives in tropical and subtropical regions, such as in India, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, and Guatemala. This plant grows in dense clumps and has bright-green, sharp-edged leaves, similar to grass.

Lemongrass is a popular flavoring in Asian cooking – added to curries and soups, or paired with beef, fish, poultry, and seafood. Fresh lemongrass is also used to make lemongrass tea.

There are over 50 varieties of lemongrass, but not all are edible or ideal for medicinal purposes. The two varieties of lemongrass most popularly used today are Cymbopogon citratus and Cymbopogon flexuosus. While they can be used interchangeably, especially for making lemongrass oil, C. citratus is more popularly known in culinary applications, while C. flexuosus is more dominant in industrial applications, such as perfumery.

Lemongrass oil is extracted from the leaves of the plant. It has a thin consistency and a pale or bright yellow color. It has a strong, fresh, lemony, and earthy scent.

Uses of Lemongrass Oil

Lemongrass oil is a great addition to various skin care and cosmetic products, such as soaps, deodorants, shampoos, lotions, and tonics. It also works as an air freshener and deodorizer, especially when blended with other essential oils like geranium or bergamot. Simply put it in an oil burner, diffuser, or vaporizer.

Lemongrass oil is also known for its ability to repel insects, such as mosquitoes and ants, due to its high citral and geraniol content. Spray it around your home, diffuse it, or rub a diluted mixture on your skin.

Lemongrass oil’s refreshing scent makes it a valuable aroma therapeutic oil. It’s clean and calming aroma help relieves stress, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia, and prevent drowsiness.Lemongrass oil can also help relax and tone your muscles, as well as relieve muscle pain, rheumatism, period cramps, stomachache, toothache, migraines, and headaches.

Here are some ways to use lemongrass oil:

  • Make a refreshing foot bath. Add two drops to a bowl of warm water, and soak your feet for 10 minutes. If your feet are aching, add two tablespoons of Epsom salts.
  • Make a massage oil by mixing it with sweet almond or jojoba oil.
  • Kill your pet’s fleas and lice by spraying diluted lemongrass oil all over his coat. You can also soak his collar in it, add it to his final rinse after shampooing, or spray it on his bedding.
  • Blend it into your favorite bath products or add it to your bath water. 

Composition of Lemongrass Oil

The main compounds of lemongrass oil are geranyl acetate, myrcene, nerol, citronellol, terpineol, methyl heptenone, dipentene, geraniol, neral, farnesol, limonene, and citral. These are known to have anti-fungal, antiseptic, insecticidal, and counter-irritant properties.

Citral is known for its antimicrobial effects, and can help kill or suppress the growth of bacteria and fungi. It’s said that lemongrass oil’s quality is generally determined by its citral content.

Another beneficial compound in lemongrass is limonene, which helps reduce inflammation and kill bacteria, according to research.

Benefits of Lemongrass Oil

Lemongrass oil has analgesic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, carminative, astringent, antipyretic, fungicidal, bactericidal, and antidepressant properties, making it one of the most versatile and health-promoting essential oils. It works well for:

  • Inflammation – Lemongrass is an analgesic that can help reduce pain and inflammation, which can lead to many chronic diseases. According to a 2005 study by Dr. Sue Chao, lemongrass oil is one of the top six essential oils with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Hair problems – If you’re struggling with hair loss, oily hair, and other scalp conditions, lemongrass oil may be beneficial as it can help strengthen your hair follicles. Just apply a diluted solution onto your scalp, and then rinse out.
  • Infections – Lemongrass can help kill both internal and external bacterial and fungal infections, such as ringworm and athlete’s foot.  In a 2008 study from the Weber State University in Utah, it was found that out of 91 essential oils tested, lemongrass ranked highest in inhibitory activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection.
  • Fever – The antipyretic effect of lemongrass oil helps bring down very high fever, especially when it is beginning to reach dangerous levels.
  • Digestive issues – A diluted lemongrass mixture helps facilitate nutrient assimilation and boosts the functioning of the digestive system, which is helpful for treating bowel problems and digestive disorders. It also prevents the formation of excessive gas and increases urination, which helps eliminate toxins from the body.

How to Make Lemongrass Oil

Lemongrass oil sold in the market today is made via steam distillation. But if you have lemongrass growing in your backyard, you can easily make this oil by infusing it with another carrier oil. Here’s a simple method:

Materials:

4 to 6 lemongrass stalks
Fine cheesecloth
Mortar and pestle
Carrier oil (Olive, rice bran, grapeseed, or any unscented natural oil)
Two jars
Dark glass container

Procedure:

  1. Get two lemongrass stalks and remove the leaves. Crush the stalks using a mortar and pestle (or any heavy object) to release the oil.
  2. Fill a jar with your carrier oil of choice and put the crushed stalk in it. Leave the jar for two days in a place where it can get plenty of heat and sunshine.
  3. After two days, strain the oil using the cheesecloth and transfer it into another jar. Make sure to press and squeeze the stalks until they’re completely dry.
  4. You may need to repeat the process using fresh new stalks to achieve the desired lemongrass fragrance. Just keep replacing the stalks every two days to increase the oil’s potency.
  5. Once you’ve reached the desired fragrance, transfer the oil into a dark glass container and leave it in a cool, dry and dark place. You can use this oil for a year or more.

How Does Lemongrass Oil Work?

Lemongrass oil is a tonic that influences and helps keep the systems in your body working properly, including the respiratory, digestive, nervous, and excretory systems. It also allows nutrients to be absorbed into the body, which keeps your immune system strong and robust.

Lemongrass oil can be diffused using a vaporizer, inhaled, applied topically, or ingested. To ensure the efficiency of lemongrass oil, you should use it depending on the health condition that you want to improve. For example, if you want to quell stress and anxiety, diffuse the oil using a vaporizer. But if you want to relieve muscle pain or use it to treat infections, it’s better to massage a diluted solution on the affected areas.

For internal health ailments, such as digestive issues, lemongrass oil can be taken internally in a diluted form. However, I do not recommend taking this oil orally without the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider.

Is Lemongrass Oil Safe?

Lemongrass oil is generally safe as long as it is used in small quantities (it is one of the strongest-smelling oils in aromatherapy) and properly blended with a carrier oil. Undiluted lemongrass can actually burn and injure your skin due to its high citral content, so it’s best to mix it with a carrier oil. Some of the best carrier oils you can use with lemongrass oil are basil, palmarosa, vetiver oil, lavender, rose, clary sage, patchouli, ginger, fennel, geranium, sandalwood, and cedarwood.

Our advice is doing a patch test before applying lemongrass oil on your skin, to see if you have any adverse reactions to this essential oil.

Side Effects of Lemongrass Oil

Skin irritation, discomfort, rashes and a burning sensation are some topical side effects experienced by people with sensitivity to lemongrass oil. Using the oil may also lead to lowered blood glucose, and may have contraindications for people who are taking oral diabetes drugs or antihypertensive medications, as well as those who are diabetic and hypoglycemic.

I do not recommend children, pregnant women, and nursing moms to use lemongrass oil orally. Those with liver or kidney disease and other health conditions should also consult their physician before using lemongrass oil.

Patchouli Oil

Beyond this oil’s unique aroma that’s associated with the “flower children” is a wealth of benefits that can soothe and heal you inside out. Discover more interesting facts about patchouli oil below.

What Is Patchouli Oil?

Patchouli oil is derived from a large evergreen perennial that is a member of the Labiatae family, and a close relative of mint, lavender, and sage. The name “patchouli” (Pogostemon cablin or Pogostemon patchouli) is said to be derived from the ancient Tamil words “patchai” and “ellai,” meaning “green leaf.” Others say it comes from the Hindustan word “patchoi,” meaning “to scent,” referring to its use as a fragrance.

Patchouli originates from Southeast Asia. Today, it’s cultivated in China, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, but also grows in South America and other tropical regions like Hawaii.

Patchouli oil is extracted from the lightly fragrant leaves and the white, violet-marked flowers of the plant. It’s a thick, light yellow or brown liquid, with a strong, musky-earthy and slightly sweet aroma, reminiscent of wet soil. For some, the potent fragrance of this oil is an acquired taste.

What sets patchouli oil apart from other herbal oils is that it gets better with age. Its light yellow color turns into a deep amber, and the scent becomes smoother and richer.

Uses of Patchouli Oil

Patchouli has been used for thousands of years. It was very valuable – early European traders actually  exchanged one pound of patchouli for a pound of gold. Romans used it as an appetite stimulant, while in Egypt, it was said that Pharaoh Tutankhamun – also known as King Tut – arranged to have 10 gallons of patchouli oil buried with him in his tomb.

Patchouli oil has long been used in traditional Asian medicine, especially in Malaysia, China, and Japan. It is used to treat skin and hair problems, such as dermatitis, eczema, acne, dry chapped skin, dandruff, and oily scalp. It also has wound healing and scar reducing properties, as well as aphrodisiac effects. The link to sexual desire likely originated from India, where it is used in Tantric sexual practices.

Patchouli oil is also popularly used as a fabric fragrance, a practice that dates back to 19th-century India. Manufacturers used it as a moth repellent for fabrics that are exported to other countries. The scent was so widely used that it became an indicator of authentic Oriental fabric. English and French garment makers even became obliged to add patchouli oil to their imitation products to make them acceptable in the market.

Today, patchouli oil is used as a fragrance in skin and personal care products, air fresheners, laundry detergents, and paper towels. It’s also used as incense and as a base note for perfumes.

In aromatherapy, patchouli oil is said to help relieve anxiety, stress, and depression. Its calming effect is very effective for relaxation and meditation. Simply add a few drops in a diffuser or vaporizer. You can also mix it into your face cream, lotion, or shampoo, or even add it to your bathwater.

Here are other ways to use patchouli oil:

  • Massage it on your skin to help prevent wrinkles and cellulites. Simply dilute it in a light carrier oil.
  • Dab a small amount on your skin to soothe cuts, scrapes, burns, and sores, as well as insect bites.
  • Apply a few drops on your wrists or add it to your sheets to keep ants, bedbugs, and other pests away. 
  • Put two to three drops on a cotton ball and dab it on your underarms to prevent body odor.
  • Mix a couple of drops into your shampoo or conditioner to treat dandruff and oily hair. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing.

Composition of Patchouli Oil

The beneficial properties of patchouli oil come from its many constituents, such as alpha patchoulene, beta patchoulene, alpha bulnesene, alpha guaiene, caryophyllene, norpatchoulenol, patchouli alcohol, seychellene and pogostol. It also contains patchouli alcohol (PA), an important compound that has neuroprotective, anti-influenza, and anti-inflammatory activities.

Benefits of Patchouli Oil

Patchouli oil’s health benefits are attributed to its antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, and cytophylactic properties. It also works as a deodorant, diuretic, insecticide, and sedative. Patchouli oil can help address health conditions such as:

  • Inflammation – Patchouli oil can help soothe inflammation and/or irritation. It also works for inflammation-related conditions, like gout and arthritis.
  • Fungal infection – It inhibits fungal growth and gives you protection against notorious infections, such as athlete’s foot.
  • Colds and flu – Patchouli oil can bolster your immune system to help you avoid colds, influenza, and tonsillitis.
  • Fever – It helps fight infections that cause fever and reduces your body temperature.
  • Sexual problems(men and women) – It stimulates the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, and helps boost your sex drive. It is useful for impotence, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, and sexual anxiety.

Patchouli oil is a tonic that helps promote your overall well-being by toning your stomach, liver, and intestines to optimize metabolic function. It also helps regulate your endocrinal secretions of hormones and enzymes, and boosts your nervous and immune system health.

How to Make Patchouli Oil

The leaves of the patchouli plant are handpicked, bundled, and partially dried in the shade. They are  then fermented for a few days, until the oil is extracted via steam distillation or CO2 extraction.

However, you can make a basic patchouli oil infusion at home using dried patchouli leaves.

Materials:

  • Dried patchouli leaves
  • Jojoba, olive, or sweet almond oil
  • Glass jar
  • Cheesecloth
  • Saucepan
  • Clean bottle

Procedure:

  • Dry the patchouli leaves completely by putting them under the sun for a few hours.
  • Wash the glass jar thoroughly with warm soapy water, and then rinse it with fresh water at least two to three times. Let dry.
  • Put the patchouli leaves in the jar, filling it to the top. Pour the carrier oil of your choice. Jojoba oil works best for making a light moisturizing oil, while olive oil is ideal for making a massage oil. Sweet almond oil is good for body and scalp massage.
  • Screw the lid tightly and shake the jar a few times.
  • Pour water into your saucepan and bring to a boil. Then, take it off from the heat, and put the glass jar in the saucepan, leaving it there until the water cools down. Take out the jar and shake well again.
  • Store the jar in a cool, dry, and dark place for a month, allowing the patchouli leaves to seep in the carrier oil. Shake the jar thoroughly every day to mix the leaves with the oil.
  • Filter the mixture using the cheesecloth and funnel, and transfer the oil in a clean jar.

How Does Patchouli Oil Work?

Patchouli oil can be inhaled, diffused in a vaporizer, or applied directly to skin. Inhaling the scent of patchouli oil or absorbing it through the skin helps transmit messages to the limbic system, a brain region that’s involved in controlling emotions and influences the nervous system.

However, I advise using this oil in moderation because copious amounts can lead to a strong and overwhelming fragrance. The scent can also seep into fabric and furniture.

Is Patchouli Oil Safe?

Patchouli oil is safe when applied topically or inhaled. It can be used by itself, but can also be blended with other carrier oils. It mixes well with frankincense, clary sage, cedar, geranium, lavender, ylang-ylang, and rose oil. However, those with sensitive skin may have certain reactions to this herbal oil, so I recommend doing a patch test before using it. Keep it away from your eyes, ears, and nose.

You can ingest this oil by mixing a drop or two with a teaspoon of honey. I advise seeking the help of a qualified physician, though, before taking this oil orally. If you have gastric problems or any other medical contraindication, avoid ingesting this essential oil.

Some say that using patchouli oil during a pregnant woman’s first trimester is dangerous, but safe in the second and third trimester. For your safety, consult a health care professional before using this oil during the entire course of your pregnancy.

Side Effects of Patchouli Oil

Patchouli can cause over-stimulation and may have strong sedative effects when used in large amounts. It can also cause photo-sensitivity and appetite loss. If you’re suffering from an eating disorder or recovering from sickness, I advise you to not use this herbal oil.