The Apothecary for Skincare

THE APOTHECARY

  • AVOCADO OIL (Persea gratissima) – A nutrient-packed fruit is loaded with good fatty acids, proteins, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins A, D, and E. Especially helpful for mature skin. Organic.
  • BEESWAX (Cera Alba) – Protectant, helps keep moisture in the skin, high Vitamin A content. Raw, Organic.
  • ALOE (Aloe barbadensis) – Plumps and soothes skin, Vitamin & mineral rich. Organic.
  • AHA’S (Alpha hydroxy acids) – Exfoliator, increases blood flow to skin, balances and evens skin tone.
  • BLACKBERRY (Rubus fruticosus) – Blackberry is a rich source of Vitamin C which can help in collagen production and in reducing the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles. It has an impressive amount of naturally occurring Vitamin E as well as essential fatty acids to deeply support the skin. It’s beautiful darker color is attributed to naturally occurring polyphenols.
  • BLUEBERRY (Vaccinium corymbosum) – Antioxidant. Helps promote the health of capillaries located just beneath the epidermis. Can help minimize redness.
  • CALENDULA (Calendula officinalis) – High Vitamin C content, collagen building. Organic.
  • CHAMOMILE (Matricaria chamomilla) – Anti-inflammatory, soothes skin, Organic.
  • COMFREY (Symphytum officinale) – anti-inflammatory, soothes skin, Organic.
  • CRANBERRY (Vaccinum macrocarpon) – Contain resveratrol, high Vitamin C for collagen-building, antiseptic properties. Organic.
  • COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) – Soothes, reduces water loss in the skin, packed with nutrients.
  • COCOA BUTTER (Theobroma seed butter) – High in fatty acids, hydrates the skin deeply. Raw, Organic.
  • DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol) – membrane stabilizer, improves skin tone. Vegan.
  • GERANIUM (Pelargonium asperum) – Helps improve skintone. Organic.
  • HONEY (Mel) – Moisturizing, antibacterial, raw and unprocessed from the Bodyceuticals Apiary. Non-treated hives. Certified pollinator is friendly.
  • HYALURONIC ACID (Sodium hyaluronate) – Helps to keep tissues hydrated and plump.
  • JOJOBA (Simmondsia Chinensis) – Soothing, gentle and deeply moisturizing for most all skin types. Organic.
  • KUKUI (Aleurites moluccana) – High in essential fatty acids,  readily absorbed, very moisturizing.
  • LAVENDER (Lavandula angustifolia) – Helps tissues to heal, lessens scarring. Organic
  • OLIVE (Olea europaea) – Highly effective transdermal carrier.   Organic, Kosher.
  • FRUIT STEM CELLS (Apple) – Help to rejuvenate aging skin and lessen the appearance of wrinkles. Clinical trials show that with use, the skin has a more youthful and radiant appearance. Organic.
  • MSM (MethylSulfonylMethane) – Helps to build collagen, assists with cell hydration.
  • NEEM (Azadirachta indica) – Often used for itchy, irritated skin, has antifungal properties and can provide improvement with scars and hyperpigmentation.
  • OAT STRAW (Avena sativa) – Rich in minerals. Organic.
  • PINK GRAPEFRUIT (Citrus paradisi) – High in Vitamin C, builds collagen. Fresh cold-pressed.
  • POMEGRANATE (Punica granatum) – contain sun protective compounds, helps reduce breakouts, show to improve hyperpigmentation.
  • ROSE (Rosa damascena) – Middle note, “flower of love”, farm-grown. Organic.
  • ROOIBOS (Aspalathus linearis) – Antioxidant, Anti-fungal.
  • RASPBERRY (Rubus Idaeus – Contain a high amount of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and rich in antioxidants. Can help tone skin. Organic.
  • ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis) – Contains vitamin & minerals such as calcium, has cell regenerative properties, helps tighten sagging skin.
  • SEA BUCKTHORN (Hippophae rhamnoides) – High Vitamin C content and carotenoids, amino acids, minerals, vitamin E, polyphenols and omegas. Can help with redness and swelling. Organic.
  • SEAWEED (Laminaria digitata) – Rich in minerals and trace elements, high vitamin content, helps build elastin in the skin.  High quality from France.
  • SPEARMINT (Mentha spicata) – Pure, refreshing, restorative properties. Organic.
  • TEA TREE (Melaleuca alternifolia) – Antibacterial, Antifungal. Organic.
  • VANILLA BEAN (Vanilla planifolia) – A source of B Vitamins, antibacterial, helpful in hair care, smells amazing.
  • STRAWBERRY (Fragaria Vesca) – Contains the antioxidant ellagic acid, which prevents collagen destruction—one of the major causes of wrinkle formation. Has a photoprotective effect. Organic
  • VITAMIN C – Naturally found in Calendula, protects and builds collagen.
  • VITAMIN E – Natural preservative, soothes sensitive skin. Non-GMO.

WHY CHOOSE CALENDULA?

Flower of the Sun

Calendula officinalis has been used for centuries on multiple continents and is one of the most versatile herbs in the plant kingdom. This healing phenom is known as the “flower of the sun.”  Calendula has an amazing history of documented healing. Its most outstanding distinction is its ability to heal the skin. It has no known drug interactions, no toxic effects and no adverse effects for long term use.

Five major steps occur in our skin’s healing process. According to the International Herb Association’s book, “Calendula – 2008 Herb of the Year”, calendula with its potent and complex array of phytonutrients helps facilitate the skin’s restorative cycle:

  • The first thing that must be done with injured tissue is to prevent infection. Calendula inhibits bacterial, viral and fungal microorganisms.
  • Calendula reduces inflammation of the tissue by inhibiting lipoxygenase, an enzyme that damages cell wall structure. It contains high amounts of flavonoids, plant-based antioxidants that protect the body against free radical cell damage. It’s amazingly effective on sunburn.
  • A wound needs to be cleared of its dead cells. Calendula stimulates the appetite of lymphocytes which helps rid the wound from this debris.
  • Calendula goes to work to increase the collagen level in a wound, prevents the formation of scar tissue and assists the healing tissue in remaining supple.
  • Calendula stimulates angiogenic activity –the growth of new blood vessels and nerve cells in the tissue. The sooner high potency calendula is used following skin trauma, the less scarring will occur or even be prevented.

The chemical compounds in calendula’s resin include: many fatty acid esters, carotenoids including Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, lutein (it’s golden color) and lycopene, flavonoids (antioxidants that protect cells against damage), quercetin (anti-inflammatory), rutin (antioxidant), ubiquinone (CoQ10), iodine and manganese.

Calendula oil is a popular choice for many of today’s skin conditions.

A Herbal Ritual: Bath Therapy

When building your herbal apothecary, many people do not consider adding classic beauty products like floral toners, infused oils, bath salts, or luxurious lotions–but beauty care is an integral part of healing. Just as tinctures and teas can promote healthy digestion and relaxation,* herbal self-care rituals encourage whole body wellness and nourish the spirit. For example, golden calendula flowers infused in oils can promote a radiant complexion and the simple addition of lavender essential oil to baths can relax the spirit. And while these spa-like practices and products may seem more indulgent than necessary on the surface, we believe in the wisdom of age-old rituals when it comes to wellness.

Bathing is actually an ancient therapeutic practice called balneotherapy. Romans recognized the importance of water therapy and even provided public bathhouses for citizens. Ayurvedic healers use steams, baths, and cold water plunges to maintain health based on your constitution–also known as doshas—and promote circulation.* Almost all ancient cultures prescribe therapeutic bathing rituals to promote overall wellness and calm the skin, our body’s largest organ.

Herbs and oils have long been combined with bath therapy to relax the mind, soothe sore muscles, and promote supple skin.* These days, many bath products and cosmetics include harmful ingredients, like heavy metals and toxic carcinogens. Even worse, some commonly used products are also tested on animals. Verifying with The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics is a great way to ensure the quality of your favorite products, and we highly recommend checking labels to make sure they are made cruelty-free. While more and more companies are selling ethically made or sourced natural products, it’s often more satisfying to make products yourself. We’ve crafted two herbal bath recipes that are simple and soothing: our Spring Tea Bath Blend and our Flower-Powered Sea Salts.

Flower-Powered Sea Salts

A relaxing blend to calm your nerves and soothe sore muscles.

Time: 5-10 minutes

Servings: 5 jars

Materials:

  • 5 six-ounce jars
  • Labels
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Spoon for mixing

Ingredients

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup sweet almond oil (or healthy oil of choice, like jojoba or sesame oil)
  • ½ cup dried calendula petals
  • 1 cup dried rose petals
  • 1 cup coarsely ground, Kosher sea salt
  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 4-6 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1 drop of Moroccan blue chamomile oil

Instructions:

  1. Start by blending the dry ingredients together in the large bowl, then slowly pour in the almond and essential oils while stirring.
  2. Add the mixture to the jars, and label them with their ingredients and the date crafted.
  3. Add a couple of tablespoons to each bath to enjoy a deep state of calm.

Spring Tea Bath

An aromatic herbal blend to support your lymphatic system and nourish your skin.

Time: 5-10 minutes

Servings: Enough for five baths

Materials:

  • Five 5” x 7” sized muslin bags or cheesecloth
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Cooking twine or cotton string (if using cheesecloth)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried lavender flowers
  • 1 cup dried rose petals
  • 1 cup dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 cup dried calendula petals
  • 1 cup dried red clover blossoms

Instructions:

  1. Pour flowers into a mixing bowl and blend them together.
  2. Fill each muslin bag with the flower mixture or use cheesecloth and twine to create a small pouch.
  3. Tie shut and use one bag per bath. The bag can be tied to the water spout for the hot water to run through, or simply placed in the tub to float like a tea bag in an infusion.

Whether you are drawing a bath infused with medicinal herbs or lathering on a natural and nourishing lotion, these healthy habits are fundamental to whole body wellness. In this busy era, it can often be hard to fully show up for ourselves and commit to these simple acts of self-love. When we weave herbs into wellness, these practices become even more enticing, like a sweet treat we want to indulge in again and again.

Keep in mind that healthy skin and healthy bodies are also fueled by whole foods, proper hydration, and regular sleep. For more natural beauty care tips, check out Stephanie Tourles’s Organic Body Care Recipes or Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbs for Natural Beauty.

Nourishing and Protecting the Skin {Entangled Botanicals by Ashley November}

The skin is our body’s largest organ and serves as the interface between our internal and external world. It gives rise to our sense of touch, the only sense that does not diminish with age. Because our skin is what we present to the world, billions of dollars are spent every year on creams, lotions, and cosmetic surgeries. I have long been fascinated with the world of skin care, learning a great deal about the physiology of the skin.

I have shared my knowledge of how plants could be used to restore barrier function and reduce oxidative damage, inflammation, and irritation. But over the many years, I’ve cared for those with skin problems, I’ve also learned that it takes more than just applying moisturizer to have healthy skin.

Safe in the Sun: Balancing the Benefits and Risks of Sun Exposure

Balancing the risks and benefits of sun exposure can be difficult when looking at the shocking rates of skin cancer diagnoses and soaring numbers of vitamin D deficiency. Not so surprisingly, the answer to this debate lies not in the sun, but in the way we live our lives.

— Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.

When was the last time you let yourself feel the sun on your face without worrying about the damage it may be doing? Before fear of skin cancer sent us all scurrying for the shade, people used to be outside all throughout the day, working in the garden or playing in the backyard. Now we spend most of our lives indoors, except when we choose to sunbathe during the hours of the day when the sun is most intense—a practice that actually increases skin cancer risk. Far from protecting our health, avoiding the sun completely can have serious consequences. As Robyn Lucas, an epidemiologist at Australian National University who led a study on sun exposure and disease points out in an interview with U.S. News & World Report, more lives are lost to diseases caused by a lack of sunlight than those caused by too much.

 

Importance of Vitamin D

Called the sunshine vitamin because it’s made when solar energy converts a chemical in our skin to D3, vitamin D’s importance to the body can’t be overestimated. In addition to keeping our bones healthy, it increases our resistance to infections, protects the heart, and may help prevent some types of cancer. This is why it’s so disturbing to consider how many people have vitamin D insufficiency—more than 66 million Americans, according to the CDC Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition in the U.S. Population. As I discuss in my blog about vitamin D and children, studies show that obese, minority children are hit especially hard. Why are we seeing such dangerously low levels of vitamin D? Compared to our ancestors, we get a lot less sun. While sunscreen protects us against the damaging effects of UV radiation, an SPF of 8 blocks the production of vitamin D by a whopping 95 percent.

 

Nature’s Healing Power

Growing up, I loved to play outside with the neighborhood kids. When I came home from school, Mom would say, “Take off your school clothes, then go outside and play. Be home for dinner.” How different would my life be if I’d spent my afternoons indoors staring at a screen rather than running free under the sun? I believe that for us to be whole human beings, we must be mindful of our deep and intimate relationship with nature. This is especially true for children. In his book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv uses the phrase “nature-deficit disorder” to describe the increasing separation kids have from natural spaces when they grow up in urban areas and/or spend a lot of time indoors. He cites a number of studies showing the positive effects of nature on the behavior and attention of kids with ADHD. This is confirmed by other research where the inclusion by schools of green space and environment-based education leads to improved test scores and a reduction in classroom discipline problems. Consider how peaceful you feel after soaking up the beauty of a summer day, and how well your little ones sleep after time spent tumbling around in the grass. A little sunshine goes a long way toward boosting our well-being.

 

Safe in the Sun

Knowing the benefits of being outside versus the risk of overexposure, how do we keep ourselves and our kids safe in the sun? Your needs will vary based on circumstances like skin color, geographic location, and time of the year. People with very light skin may require only ten minutes of sun exposure three or four times per week to make the necessary amount of vitamin D, while those with very dark skin might need one to two hours. If you’re close to the equator and/or it’s summer when the sun’s rays are strongest, you should modify accordingly. Also, try to avoid spending too much unprotected time in the sun between the hours of 10 and 2 when its radiation is strongest. If you are out during this time of day or you’ll be in the sun for a while, use a safe, chemical-free sunscreen. The Environmental Working Group offers an excellent guide (see below), as well as tips for making sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV damage. By using a common sense approach, you and your family can play at the park, splash in the pool, or simply enjoy the sensation of sunshine on your shoulders without fear.

 

To Learn More: 

Interested in learning more about the healing power of nature? The book Life Is Your Best Medicine is a great resource:

https://drlowdog.com/books/life-is-your-best-medicine/

 

For more information on vitamin D and other nutrients, see the book Fortify Your Life:

https://drlowdog.com/books/fortify-your-life/

 

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18276627

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?linkname=pubmed_pubmed&from_uid=22311168

https://drlowdog.com/vitamin-d-children-good-idea/

http://richardlouv.com

http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/

Calendula Salve Recipe

The cheerful calendula flower is a wonderful bright accent to gardens and porches, as well as an impressive medicinal plant. By nature it is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral, so calendula is especially helpful for skin irritation. I love it for treating cuts and scrapes as it feels quite soothing and helps to reduce healing time. In an ointment, tincture, or a wash, calendula offers cool relief for the pain of superficial wounds and helps begin the healing process on contact. Some experts think calendula works by encouraging blood flow and bringing oxygen to the affected area. No matter its mechanism, though, it feels wonderful on those accidental cuts and scrapes of everyday life and has been proven to speed up recovery. It’s also wonderful on sunburns, allergic skin reactions, and even diaper rash. It’s perfectly safe to use on kids, but I do warn pregnant and breastfeeding women to avoid calendula as its effects in these populations has not been fully studied yet.

My Favorite Herbs for Skin Health

Vitamin D and Children: A Good Idea?

It’s well established that vitamin D is paramount to bone development, bone fracture resistance, and mood regulation. This “sunshine” vitamin also supports our immune and cardiovascular systems, and endocrine function, so it’s vitally important that we maintain adequate blood levels. Children especially need vitamin D to develop strong, healthy bones.

In a nation struggling with obesity, it’s hard to believe that we are once again seeing borderline deficiencies. Though rickets, scurvy, and pellagra seem like stories from the days of pirates and early settlers, modern science shows that we are now seeing borderline and frank deficiencies of many vitamins and minerals in the American population. It is clear that though we are overfed, we are undernourished. Furthermore, our messages regarding low-salt and skin-cancer awareness have decreased consumption of iodine and significantly impacted vitamin D levels.

Perhaps the most concerning take away from modern nutritional data is that children, particularly obese, minority children, seem to be heavily impacted. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) study found that a large number of children 6-18 years of age are deficient in vitamin D.  The deficiency percentage goes way up in children who are overweight, and amongst obese kids – one-third of white, 50% of Latino, and 87% of African American children – were deficient in vitamin D.

 

Why are we lacking?

With so many fortified foods in our grocery stores and the ability of our body to make vitamin D with exposure to sunlight, why are so many kids lacking?

The most obvious answer is probably the fact that all of us, including our kids, are spending more and more of our lives indoors and engaged in sedentary pursuits, such as watching TV and working/playing on our computers and smartphones. Not only are we spending less time outdoors, we are also much more aggressive about using sunscreen to protect our skin, which dramatically decreases our ability to make vitamin D.

While vitamin D is found in some foods, it is not easy to get adequate amounts in our diet. For example, to get just 600 IU of vitamin D in your diet you would need to eat one of the following every day:

* 3–4 ounces sockeye salmon, cooked
* 11.4 ounces water-packed tuna
* 26 oil-packed sardines
* 15 large eggs
* 5 cups fortified milk OR
* 30-45 ounces yogurt

In the case of vitamin D, the best bet to ensure adequate intake is probably through the use of supplements, which are readily available at pharmacies and natural foods stores. In general, breastfed infants should be given 400 IU per day; older children 1000 IU per day, while obese children probably need closer to 2000 IU per day. Talk to your pediatrician to know what is best for your child. When choosing a vitamin D supplement, look for those that contain D3 (cholecalciferol), the most bioactive form, and take with dinner for optimal absorption.

 

More is not better

While you want to make sure you and your kids are getting adequate vitamin D – more is not better. The Institute of Medicine has set the following upper limits for vitamin D, meaning you should NOT exceed these amounts unless under the supervision of your healthcare provider.

* 1,000 IU/day for infants to age 6 months
* 1,500 IU/day for ages 6 months to 1 year
* 2,500 IU/day ages 1 to 3 years
* 3,000 IU/day for ages 4 to 8 years
* 4,000 IU/day anyone older than 8 years

Vitamin D, like most nutrients, does best when it is taken with its partner nutrients. Vitamin D partners well with calcium and vitamin K2. Vitamin D allows calcium to be absorbed and vitamin K2 directs it to the bone.

 

Sources

http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2436596

http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/vitamin-d/background/hrb-20060400

Turer CB, et al. Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among overweight and obese US children. Pediatrics 2013; 131(1):e152-61

Calendula Infused Oil

Calendula is a golden glory early in the summer and then throughout the summer and even fall in warmer climates. The flowering heads made into oils, salves, and creams are centuries old favorite for healing wounds and burns.

Apply this beautiful golden-colored oil directly to your skin to soothe rashes, sunburns, and skin irritations, or use it as part of a healing herbal salve or cream recipe. Store for up to 2 years if kept out of light and in a cool place.

1 cup wilted fresh or 1/2 cup dried calendula flowers

1 1/4 cups almond, jojoba, or olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine the flowers and oil. Blend or process until pureed. Pour the mixture into a clean, clear glass jar, cover, and place in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. Make sure the herb is submerged in the oil at all times; if necessary, add more oil. Shake the jar vigorously every day for 2 to 3 weeks.

Using a fine-mesh strainer or cloth, filter the herb out of the oil, pressing as much oil out as possible, and compost the herb.

Bottle and label the oil and store it away from heat and light.

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?

calendula jarMarigold 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. Hindis used the flowers to adorn statues of gods in their temples, as well as to color their food, fabrics, and cosmetics.
calendula-officinalisPot 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 Tagets 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 for 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

calendula-oil-760x428 (1)

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 {Recipe 2}

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.

Calendula Belly Balm

CALENDULA HAS A VERY LONG HISTORY AS A HEALING HERB—it’s a staple in herbal gardens, not just for its usefulness but also for its sunny disposition. Easy to grow and self-sowing, it also helps repel garden pests, making it a beautiful plant for novice and expert gardeners alike. As a healing herb, use is varied and plentiful, but it is perhaps best known for its skin healing and soothing properties which are why you will often see it incorporated in healing salves and balms.

This particular DIY is inspired by Ashley’s ever-growing third-trimester belly. Despite the magic of the experience, the sensation within that is akin to nothing else, the reality is that housing a growing baby comes with, shall we say, some discomfort. While it’s all too easy to focus on that discomfort, it has been my approach to everything I can to naturally and holistically soothe those symptoms, framing them in my mind in such a way that simply the daily practice of soothing them morphs the discomfort into a form of self-care. It’s as though our bodies remind us to slow down and take care.

As the skin across pregnant bellies stretches tighter and tighter, the accompanying itch and skin irritation is hard to ignore. Always a fan of making things myself from scratch and enjoying the benefits of organic, simple ingredients, I set out to perfect a belly balm that does it’s best to soothe (and hopefully prevent stretch marks—calendula is also known for helping scars and stretch marks to heal and fade). The result is a soft balm that I rely on morning and night to help ease the insatiable itch and (so far) keeps stretch marks away, allowing me to focus more fully on the pleasant side of pregnancy like those gentle kicks and nudges! Simply warm by rubbing between your hands and massage onto your belly (and breasts)—take a moment here to marvel at how your body has changed, it truly is a miracle (if even a sometimes uncomfortable one—most transformational life experiences are in some way or another!).

Not pregnant? Make this balm anyway to soothe dry, chapped skin, other minor skin irritations, or as a gardener’s hand balm. It also makes a lovely, thoughtful gift!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup organic shea butter
  • 1.5-2 Tbs grated beeswax
  • 1/8 cup organic, raw coconut oil
  • 1/8 cup calendula infused organic olive oil*
  • 1 tsp vitamin E oil
  • 20 drops lavender essential oil (optional)

METHOD

In a heat-poof glass spouted measuring cup, combine the shea butter, beeswax, olive and coconut oil, and calendula infused oil.

Fill a small saucepan with warm water and place the glass jar in the water, ensuring that the water level stays below the lip of the jar (a 3/4 immersion is good—you don’t want water getting into your balm as it can spoil the batch or cause separation issues).

Heat on the stove on medium heat ensuring the water stays at or below a gentle simmer. (You don’t want to overheat the oils as this can alter the molecular structure of the oils.) Stirring occasionally with a spoon or popsicle stick, continue heating the oils until they are completely melted. Remove from heat and remove measuring cup from water (you may need tongs or a towel to do this, be careful not to burn yourself!). Stir in the vitamin E and lavender essential oil. Pour into a 4 oz jar and allow to set either at room temperature on in the fridge for a faster set.

After testing the texture, you can either soften or harden the mix by reheating the balm and adding either more beeswax or more oil. This recipe can be multiplied or divided to yield smaller or larger batches depending on your needs and intended use.

To clean up: while the balm is still melted, wipe out all utensils and tools used with a paper towel, after which everything can be easily washed. Skipping this step or allowing the balm to harden results in a very difficult to clean the mess!

*To infuse calendula oil: the slow way is to fill a small, 4 oz jar loosely with calendula petals and fill with oil until completely covered. Place on a sunny sill and shake jar daily for 4-6 weeks. The fast way is to again fill the jar with petals and oil, and then place in a slow-cooker immersed in water for 12-24 hours. When infusion is complete, strain the petals out of the oil, squeezing to get all the good stuff and compost. Your oil is now finished!

A NOTE ABOUT LAVENDER—Inclusion of lavender in this recipe is optional but the purpose is more than because it simply smells nice (although I don’t particularly care for the smell of pure shea butter). According to Nadine Artemis, a true visionary, and expert in her field, lavender is extremely effective at calming anxiety, enhancing relaxation and promoting an increased sense of well-being, happiness, and peacefulness. Be intentional about applying this balm, rubbing your belly slowly to ensure absorption and taking a few moments to simply be with the baby. 

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 “calendar,” 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 for 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.