Guest Post: Simple Steps to a Healing Calendula Herbal Oil Infusion
Calendula or Calendula Officinalis, also known as Pot Marigold is a very potent medicine that is easily grown in your own back yard, which is what I do! Its so easy too, and the best thing about it is that they come back every year. They are not perennial plants, but the seeds fall to the ground and come back up in the spring/summer.
I love to make this herbal oil infusion for a variety of things and keeping Calendula handy is a great idea! You can apply this oil to cuts, scrapes insect bites, and more. It increases the recovery process due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the herbal oil. In addition to the unique antioxidant compounds found in this flower. It also will keep wounds and scrapes from infection allowing them to heal quickly.
Aside from stimulating healing, Calendula oil can significantly boost the appearance of your skin. It can affect blood flow to the skin cells, provide antioxidant protection that reduces the appearance of wrinkles and ages spots, and even the visibility of scars. If you want smooth, even-toned skin that glows with youthful vitality.
Now for the fun part....
Step 1. Harvest your Calendula flower tops. You can also purchase these from Mountain Rose Herbs or at your local Herb Shop. I choose to buy Organic when I do, but this is up to you. We will infuse 1 ounce of dried flower tops. The fresh weight will most likely be double, so harvest about 2 ounces of flowers. I️ like to use some nice pruners to get a nice clean snip off the stem. Then of course some sort of harvest basket or whatever you have handy.
Step 2. Dry the flowers in a dry dark place for about a week. I️ built myself a drying rack because of how often I do this but you can use anything that allows proper air flow and space for flowers to dry. It's important to do this because any water content in the infused oil will ruin your oil and make it unsafe to use do to botulism.
So... dry those babies out!!!
Step 3. Now that you have your dried flowers its time to pour your oil of choice in a mason jar on top of your 1 oz of dried up flower tops. Here I am using Coconut oil which I had to pre melt before pouring over the flowers. I generally use Olive oil but you can also use any shelf stable oil like Jojoba as well.
For 1 oz of flower I used 2 cups of oil, but the most important thing is that the flowers are covered by oil.
Step 4. Blend the oil and flowers up a bit to enhance the surface area of the flowers. You want as much of the plant material to touch the oil for infusing the good qualities of the plant into the oil.
Step 5. Label, Label, Label! A very important step, I can attest to this. I have had plenty of times where I didn't know what the heck I made! Which isn't fun because I hate wasting medicine, especially the homegrown kind. So, make sure to list the name, date harvested, date infused, which oil I used and how much, and the plant source. Also the date you start either method 1 or 2 of infusing. (See next step)
Step 6. Okay so now we are finally to our final step, The infusion step. There are two ways to accomplish this. I tend to want a faster result so I use method one.
Method one is the crock pot method. I put all my contents in the mason jar (1 pint or 1 quart), fill the crock with water, put a small towel at the bottom, place you jar in, and turn the crock on warm. I leave this for about a week on the warm setting. Keep in mind that you must have a warm setting on your crock. Keep an eye on the water level as you will need to refill it after about a day and a half from water evaporation.
I like to infuse this for a week. Method two is the solar method. This is where you leave your jar in a warm window sill for about 4 weeks. I put mine in a paper bag to prevent oxidation from the sun. Once the time has passed for either method, use a cheesecloth to strain your herb from the oil and store in a dark glass container and label once again.
You now have a wonderful infused Calendula oil for all types of skin conditions. To complete this oil as a salve, melt 1 ounce of beeswax in a double boiler, add once cup of your oil and pour into your containers.