The Basics: Creams, Lotions, and Salves

Dry, itchy skin? Cuts, scrapes, infected wounds, or rashes? They can all be soothed and renewed with the healing nourishment of herbs applied in a moisturizing base – the realm of creams, lotions, and salves. Of course, your skin is your largest eliminative organ. It’s often exposed to the elements, and it’s somewhat delicate {no fur or scales to protect it!}. This means that it can take a beating from the weather and can be prone to wrinkling and drying. Because your skin breathes and eliminates toxins and other substances from your body, you may experience conditions such as rashes, acne, or boils as your skin releases these substances.

Creams, lotions, and salves are all marvelous ways to apply healing herbs to the thirsty, damaged or troubled skin, but they’re each formulated slightly differently.

Cream. A cream is a mixture of oil and water, with a little wax added for body and texture. It’s a bit like mayonnaise because it’s an oil combined with a watery or non-oily substance whipped together so they don’t separate {a process called emulsification}. With mayonnaise, oil and eggs are mixed, while with cream, oil and tea concentrates are combined. Many commercial creams include an emulsifier such as borax, which prevents the oil and water from separating, or they include substances that add texture, such as lanolin, cocoa butter, or acetyl alcohol. My recipes also contain vitamin C powder, which acts as a mild preservative, but you can substitute an equal amount of ascorbic acid, which is available over the counter at pharmacies or in the canning area of the grocery store. Or you can add 2 or 3 drops of vitamin E or rosemary oil to the oil phase as a preservative. A cream moisturizes and soothes your skin.

Lotion. A lotion is similar to a cream, but it is lighter and contains more liquid. You can pour a lotion and spread it easily, which can really make a difference when you have inflamed, needy skin. By varying the ingredients, you can create lotions that are astringent, moisturizing, antifungal, antibacterial, or regenerative. My lotions also contain vitamin C powder, as a preservative, and you can substitute vitamin E or rosemary oil just as you might in a cream.

Salves. A salve is a wonderful way to use your infused oils. Salves are made of oils and wax and are typically somewhat solid, so they’re more convenient to use than oils. Although not as moisturizing as creams and lotions, salves last longer and provide a protective barrier that keeps bacteria out and moisture in. { Studies show that moist wounds heal faster than dry ones.} Salves keep the healing power of the herbs close to skin injuries, reducing inflammation and soreness and reducing cracked skin on feet and lips. Lip balms are a form of a salve. Salves can be made with a single infused oil or with a combination of several; customizing a salve for individual use is part of the challenge and fun of making it.

You’ll find a basic recipe for a cream, a lotion, and a salve, and then some sample recipes for you to try, using herbs from your garden. Be extra careful to wash all utensils, surfaces, containers, and your hands before beginning to make any of these recipes because this combination of ingredients is susceptible to spoilage. Keep everything as hygienic as possible will yield long-lasting remedies.

If you make creams, please be aware that they spoil easily, so store them in your refrigerator if you’re going to keep them for more than a few days. Don’t introduce bacteria by dipping your fingers into the cream; instead, use a little craft stick or a small spoon to scoop it out of the jar.

Basic Cream:

Creams are composed mainly of oil and water, and each oil and water mixture is referred to as a “phase.” The two phases are prepared and heated separately and then mixed together in a blender. You’ll heat the two phases so they are close as possible to the same temperature {160 degrees to 175 degrees F} before you combine them.

An emulsifier is required to hold the phases together in a creamy state. I use ordinary household borax as an emulsifier because it’s a natural, gentle substance that does the job.

Oil Phase;

1/2 ounce {2-3 teaspoons} beeswax

1 tablespoon coconut oil

4 tablespoons infused herbal oil

10-20 drops essential oil or combination of essential oils of your choice {optional, for fragrance or additional healing properties}

Water Phase:

4 tablespoons tea concentrate {as you’d make for a dried tea} or strong tea infusion*

2 tablespoons aloe gel

1/2 – 1 teaspoon borax

1 teaspoon vitamin C powder

Heat the beeswax, coconut oil, and infused herbal oil in a saucepan over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. Add the optional essential oil. In another pan, heat the tea, aloe gel, borax, and vitamin C powder over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. {Both phases should be heated to 160 to 175 degrees F.}

Place the water phase ingredients in a blender and set it on high. Through the opening in the blender jar cap, dribble in the oil phase ingredients. When the cream is thoroughly mixed, pour it into jars. Let it cool, cap the jars, label, and refrigerate.

  • To make a strong tea infusion, combine 1 cup ground dried herbs and 1 cup freshly boiled water, and steep for 30 minutes, covered.

Skin Protection Cream:

This cream prevents drying and chapping. It’s formulated with glycerin, which is moisturizing and texturizing, making it lighter and extra creamy.

Oil Phase:

1 ounce {about 1 1/2 tablespoons} beeswax

2 tablespoons coconut oil

4 ounces almond oil

10-20 drops essential oil of your choice {for fragrance}*

Water Phase:

2 ounces lemon balm, rosemary, or lavender strong tea infusion

2 ounces glycerin

1 teaspoon borax

1 teaspoon vitamin C powder

Heat the beeswax, coconut oil, and almond oil in a saucepan over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. Add the essential oil. In another pan, heat the tea, glycerin, borax, and vitamin C powder over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. {Both phases should be heated to 160 to 175 degrees F.}

Place the water phase ingredients in a blender and set it on high. Through the opening in the blender jar cap, dribble in the oil phase ingredients. When the cream is thoroughly mixed, pour into jars. Let it cool, cap the jars, label, and refrigerate.

  • For a sweet-smelling cream, try adding equal amounts of orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lavender essential oils to the basic cream. For an antiseptic cream to heal cuts and infections, stir in thyme, oregano, or tea tree essential oils. For a skin-protecting and age-defying cream, add rosemary essential oil and/or vitamin E oil {and use Gotu kola tea for the water phase}.

Anti-fungal Cream:

Use this handy cream for athlete’s foot, ringworm, and other common fungal infections. Prevention is the best medicine here. Don’t let an athlete’s foot fungus migrate into your nails, where it can be very difficult or impossible to treat.

Oil Phase:

1/2 ounce {about 2-3 teaspoons} beeswax

1/2 ounce {1 tablespoon} coconut oil

4 tablespoons calendula infused oil

10-20 drops oregano or thyme essential oil

Water Phase:

4 tablespoons strong thyme tea infusion*

2 tablespoons aloe gel

1/2 – 1 teaspoon borax

1 teaspoon vitamin C powder

Heat the beeswax, coconut oil, and calendula infused oil in a saucepan over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. Add the essential oil. In another pan, heat the tea, aloe gel, borax, and vitamin C powder over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. {Both phases should be heated to 160 to 175 degrees F.}

Place the water phase ingredients in a blender and set it on high. Through the opening in the blender jar cap, dribble in the oil phase ingredients. When the cream is thoroughly mixed, pour into jars. Let it cool, cap the jars, label, and refrigerate.

  • To make a strong tea infusion, combine 1 cup ground dried herb and 1 cup freshly boiled water, and steep for 30 minutes, covered.

Ginger-Cayenne Heat-Treatment Cream:

Here’s help for muscle aches and pains. You can make the infused oil yourself, using the recipe below,* with 1/2 cup ground or powdered dried ginger and 1/2 cup ground or powdered dried cayenne.

Oil Phase:

1/2 ounce {2-3 teaspoons} beeswax

1 tablespoon coconut oil

4 tablespoons cayenne and ginger-infused oil

10-15 drops wintergreen essential oil {optional, for fragrance and pain-relieving compounds}

Water Phase:

4 tablespoons ginger tea concentrate {as you’d make for a dried tea}

2 tablespoons aloe gel

1/2 -1 teaspoon borax

1 teaspoon vitamin C powder

Heat the beeswax, coconut oil, and cayenne and ginger-infused oil in a saucepan over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. Add the optional wintergreen essential oil. In another pan, heat the tea concentrate, aloe gel, borax, and vitamin C over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. {Both phases should be 160 to 175 degrees F.}

Place the water phase ingredients in a blender and set it on high. Through the opening in the blender jar cap, dribble in the oil phase ingredients. When the cream is thoroughly mixed, pour it into jars. Let it cool, cap the jars, label, and refrigerate.

* Basic Herbal Oil:

1 cup finely ground dried herbs {flowers, leaves, roots, barks, and/or seeds}

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

In a blender or food processor, combine the herbs and oil. Blend or process until pureed for greater extractability. Pour the mixture into a clean glass jar with a lid, making sure the plant material is completely submerged in the oil. If it’s not, add more oil until the herbs are covered by about 1 inch of liquid. Cover the jar and store it in a dark place, shaking it daily, for 2 to 3 weeks. Filter it carefully through cheesecloth, a muslin bag, or a square of linen, gathering up the edges and squeezing out the oil. Compost the herbs. Pour the oil into amber bottles, and label the bottles with the contents and date. Store it in a dark place.

Oils

Herbal oils are simply oils infused with herbs, much as you’d steep rosemary in olive oil for culinary purposes. Healing herbal oils can be taken internally for a variety of ailments, can be used externally for therapeutic or daily beauty routines, and can be incorporated into herbal salve recipes. Dried herbs are preferred since fresh herbs will sometimes ferment.

Basic Lotion:

Good choices for the strong tea infusions are calendula, chamomile, comfrey, ginger, lavender, Oregon grape, peppermint, plantain, and rosemary.

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup strong tea infusion*

Cosmetic clay

1/2 teaspoon vitamin C powder

25 drops essential oil or combination of oils of your choice {for fragrance}

In a small bowl, dissolve the salt in the tea. Stir in the cosmetic clay and vitamin C powder until the mixture is creamy. Add the essential oil and blend thoroughly. Bottle, label and refrigerate.

  • To make the infusion, combine 1 cup ground dried herbs and 1 cup freshly boiled water, and steep for 30 minutes, covered.

Poison Ivy or Poison Oak Lotion:

This lotion works quickly and thoroughly for anyone suffering the misery of poison ivy or oak, any rash or burn, and even for acne.

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup combination of plantain and/or calendula strong tea infusion* and/or aloe vera gel

Cosmetic clay

25 drops peppermint essential oil

1/2 teaspoon vitamin C powder

In a small bowl, dissolve the salt in the tea or aloe gel. Stir in the cosmetic clay and vitamin C powder until the mixture is creamy. Add the essential oil and blend thoroughly. Pour into bottles and cap, label, and refrigerate. Apply as needed to the affected area, avoiding your eyes and mucous membranes.

  • To make the infusion, combine 1/2 cup dried herb and 1/2 cup freshly boiled water, and steep for 30 minutes, covered.

Basic Salve:

Good choices for the infused oil in this recipe include calendula, cayenne, ginger, peppermint, rosemary, St. John’s wort and turmeric {turmeric can stain}.

1-ounce beeswax

1 cup infused oil

5-10 drops essential oil or combination of oils of your choice {for fragrance or additional healing properties}

Grate the beeswax into a small bowl. In a saucepan or double boiler, heat the infused oil gently to about 100 degrees F. Add the grated beeswax slowly, stirring as it melts. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes before you add the essential oils. Stir to thoroughly combine. Pour your salve into jars and let it cool. Cap and label jars. Apply the salve as needed to the affected area. You can store a salve indefinitely.

Tips for Salves.

If you prefer a salve that’s harder or softer than this recipe, just add more or less beeswax or oil. You can test the consistency of the salve before it hardens by scooping out a spoonful and dipping the back of the spoon into a little bowl of ice water to harden the salve. If it’s too soft for your taste, heat the ingredients again and add more beeswax. If it’s too hard, heat the ingredients again and add a bit more oil. Test after each addition to get the consistency you prefer. Sometimes, after the salve is poured into a jar and when it’s nearly set, a small crater will appear in the middle of the surface. You can add a small amount of hot salve to the crater to create an even surface.

Healing Salve:

Use to reduce inflammation and lessen the possibility of infection from a skin injury.

1-ounce beeswax

1 cup infused oil, using equal parts calendula, yarrow, and St. John’s wort – infused oils

5-10 drops essential oils of your choice, such as lavender, orange, mint, or thyme {for fragrance}

Grate the beeswax into a small bowl. In a saucepan or double boiler, heat the infused oil gently to about 100 degrees F. Add the grated beeswax slowly, stirring as it melts. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes before you add the essential oils. Stir thoroughly to combine. Pour your salve into jars and let it cool. Cap and label the jars. Apply the salve as needed to the affected area. You can store a salve indefinitely.

One of my favorite recipes is Healing Lip Balm:

A lip balm is no different than a salve in its formulation, except that you may wish to make it a little firmer. This one works wonders for chapped, dry lips.

1-ounce beeswax

1 cup infused oil {calendula, ginger, peppermint or spearmint, rosemary, and St. John’s wort are good choices}

5-10 drops essential oils of your choice {for fragrance}

Grate the beeswax into a small bowl. In a saucepan or double boiler, heat the infused oil gently to about 100 degrees F. Add the grated beeswax slowly, stirring as it melts. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes before you add the essential oils. Stir to thoroughly combine. Pour your mixture into lip balm tubes and let it cool. Cap and label the tubes.

‘Beauty and the Bees’

That syrupy stuff is not just for sweetening your favorite herbal tea. Find out how ingredients made by bees can help boost your beauty routine.

An Apiary is a place where beehives are kept and can be as simple as a small hive box in a garden to hundreds of boxes on a commercial orchard. Humans have kept bees since ancient times – as far back as 9,000 years, possibly, with early cave paintings depicting honeycombs, bee swarms, and honey collection. Today, beekeeping has become a hobby for a growing number of rural and suburban residents. Of course, bees play a crucial role in agriculture, too; it’s hard to find a flower, tree, or food source that doesn’t require the help of the hardworking honeybee to pollinate it. Many of the foods we eat would just not be possible without bees. And, when it comes to all-natural skin and hair care, bee-based ingredients also offer a wealth of benefits.

Unrivaled Ingredients

Honey and beeswax are extremely unique. We have yet to create a synthetic version of these two ingredients that can compare to what honeybees naturally produce. Nothing quite matches the rich sweetness that honey provides, and beeswax lends an incomparable texture to everything from furniture polish and candles to waterproofing in winter boots.

In the realm of beauty, honey and beeswax promote healthy skin and hair, helping to keep it clean and protected. Made through a mixture of nectars, pollens, resins, and the bee’s own enzymes, honey is a powerful antimicrobial, inhibiting the growth of bacteria on the skin. It’s also high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help slow down the signs of aging. As a humectant, it moisturizes and soothes the complexion.

Honeybees produce beeswax through secretion of their abdomen. Bees hang in strings, and as they produce this wax, they pass it through their legs and mouths to fashion the honeycomb. As the substance sets, it turns into the hardened opaque wax we are familiar with. Thanks to its antibacterial and antiviral properties, it helps protect the hive from infection.

In cosmetics, it has a long shelf life because it doesn’t become rancid. These actions make it a great addition to beauty products, and its texture creates a physical barrier that protects skin from the elements while still allowing pores to breathe. The cosmetic industry values it as an ingredient because it doesn’t become rancid and it has germ-killing properties. Like honey, it’s also a humectant, and its mild, pleasant aroma blends well with other ingredients. And all skin types, including those with sensitive skin, can enjoy it.

You can find plenty of cosmetic products on store shelves featuring these bee ingredients – or try your hand at making your own. Here are some recipes to get you started.

 

Honey Cleanser

Honey is often used in place of soap as a mild and gentle cleanser for skin and hair. Using local raw honey is best, but in this recipe, any pure honey will work.

1 Tbls pure honey

2 Tbls oatmeal or oat flour, finely ground

1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl and spoon into a clean container. To use: Massage into damp skin and then rinse well. Yields: 1 ounce.

Anti-Aging Facial Mask

Reduce the signs of aging with this antioxidant-rich mask. The darker the color of your honey, the more antioxidants it contains, which means more benefit for your complexion.

1 Tbls raw honey

To use: Smooth the raw honey over a clean face and neck and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse well with warm water and pat skin dry. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer or natural oil. Yields: .5 ounces.

Egyptian Honey Mask

This recipe takes its inspiration from ancient Egyptian practices of soothing and cleansing the skin using natural clay and honey.

1 Tbls white kaolin clay

1 Tbls raw honey

1 Tbls pure or distilled water

Mix together all ingredients until you have a smooth paste. To use: Spread on your clean face and neck and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse well with warm water and pat your skin dry. Yield: .75 ounces.

Honeybee Bath

Honey’s especially soothing to dry skin when it’s used in the bath because it helps lock in all that moisture. If the idea of sitting in a tub full if honey sounds a bit sticky, don’t worry; this recipe will make your skin feel soft and silky without residue.

1 cup water

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup mild liquid soap such as castile

Mix together all the ingredients and pour into a clean container. To use: Gently shake to remix and pour 1/4 cup into the bath under running water. Bathe for 15 to 20 minutes. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a bit of aromatherapy. Yield: 16 ounces, enough for eight baths.

Beeswax Lip Balm

Most lip balms contain beeswax, and for good reason; it helps condition your lips and protects them from the elements. This recipe is for a basic lip balm; feel free to build on this recipe or experiment with different oils in place of the coconut.

1 tsp beeswax

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp cocoa butter

Place all of the ingredients in a heat-resistant container and gently heat on the stovetop or in the microwave. Stir until well-mixed and pour into a small container or empty lip balm tube. Let cool completely until it becomes solid. To use: Spread on your lips. Yield: .5 ounce

Lavender Lip Balm

Lavender and bees make a perfect pair. Honeybees love to forage and feast on lavender’s pretty purple flowers, producing a delightfully fragrant lavender honey in turn. {It’s a real treat to taste if you can find it.} Lavender and honey are also well-suited for skin care, as they both soothe and provide natural antiseptic properties. This balm contains essential oil of lavender to help heal dry, chapped lips.

2 tsp almond oil

1 tsp beeswax

1/4 tsp raw honey

2-3 drops essential oil of lavender

Place the oil and beeswax in a heat-resistant container and gently heat on the stovetop or in the microwave until the wax begins to melt. Remove from heat and add the honey and essential oil of lavender; continue to stir until well-mixed. Pour the warm mixture into a small container or empty lip balm tube. Let cool completely until it becomes solid. To use: Spread on your lips. Yield: .5 ounce

Beeswax Hand Cream

Because of pure beeswax’s moisturizing effects and protective barrier, it serves as an ideal base in hand creams, especially for those hard-working hands that prefer to dig in the dirt.

1 cup light natural oil such as almond, olive, or light sesame

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup grated beeswax

1/2 tsp vitamin E oil

In a heat-resistant container, combine all of the ingredients and heat gently until the oils and wax begin to melt. Remove from heat source and stir well until all ingredients are melted and well-mixed. Pour into a clean container and let cool completely. To use: Massage a small amount into your skin. Yield: 8 ounces

Sunny Day Healing Salve

We do our best to apply sunscreen, but sunburns can still occur, and this healing salve can help soothe some of the discomforts. Natural beeswax, along with soothing aloe vera gel, helps calm and comfort your skin. This salve also works well for mitigating dry skin and treating insect bites.

1/4 cup grated beeswax

1/2 cup cocoa butter or shea butter

1/2 cup light sesame oil

1/2 cup aloe vera gel

5-6 drops essential oil of lavender

5-6 drops essential oil of peppermint

In a heat-resistant container or pan, combine all of the ingredients and heat gently until the mixture begins to melt. Remove from heat source and stir well until all ingredients are mixed. Spoon into a clean container and let cool completely. To use: Gently spread over your skin and allow it to soak in to cool the burn. Yield: 8 ounces

Honey Conditioning Hair Pack

Honey can do great things for dry or damaged hair. It helps restore color, moisture, body, and shine. It may also lighten your hair slightly if used over time so dark-haired individuals may want to do a patch test first or skip this treatment.

1/2 cup raw honey

After shampooing, massage the honey into your hair and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. You may want to cover your hair with a plastic shower cap or cotton towel. Rinse well with warm water and condition your hair as normal. Yield: 4 ounces

Raw Honey

As opposed to the honey you find in the store, raw honey hasn’t been pasteurized, heated, or processed. If you get raw honey directly from the source – the beehive – you know exactly what combination of flowers has gone into it.

Raw honey provides many benefits, including antibacterial properties comparable to pharmaceutical antibiotics when applied topically to wounds and red or swollen areas. It’s also effective in treating conjunctivitis, and in some cases, using small amounts of raw honey helps relieve seasonal allergies by exposing the body to small amounts of pollen {processing honey removes pollen}. Of course, the dangers of consuming unpasteurized food products include food poisoning and botulism {especially in infants; never give children under the age of one honey, raw or processed}.

Honey bee hovering near blue-eyed grass flower

Saving The Bees

You don’t have to become a beekeeper to support or “save the bees.” You can enjoy bee-based products and support your local growers and bee enthusiasts by purchasing from local growers and keepers. You can also plant some bee-friendly herbs and flowers in your yard – honeybees can fly almost five miles from their hives, and will happily find your plants. In return, they will help pollinate your garden. Some easy, bee-friendly plants include lavender, sage, mint, oregano, calendula, rosemary, and blackberry. For more local favorites, check with your favorite nursery, as many growers now feature plants that promote pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies.

Apitherapy Ingredients

“Apitherapy” is the term used for treatments that involve honey and bee-based ingredients. Honeybees may be nature’s best cosmetologist. Here are some of their amazing products.

Beeswax: This is the wax secreted from the underside of bees, which they use to make the walls of the honeycomb. No synthetic product has been developed that has all of beeswax properties. In beauty products, it forms a protective barrier on the skin that helps protect against environmental irritants and locks in moisture. You can find beeswax where beekeeping equipment is sold and at many natural food stores and markets.

Propolis: This substance is considered the “bee-glue” with which bees use to seal up their hives. It’s a sticky dark-colored mixture of beeswax and bee saliva. You’ll find it in some cosmetic products as an antioxidant ingredient and also in cough medicine. It’s used in herbal salves and balms. Obtain it through your local beekeeper or find it on sale at some beekeeping supply stores.

Bee Pollen: This is pollen collected by worker bees and used in the hive to feed young bees. It contains a number of vitamins and minerals. Cosmetic companies are increasingly adding it to products, especially ones focused on anti-aging to help promote new cell growth. There are mixed opinions about using bee pollen, the main concern being potential allergic reactions. Please check with your physician if you have any concerns about using bee pollen on your skin, especially if you are allergic to bees.

 

 

 

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.