Calendula has been found to have strong anti-inflammatory, antiviral and natural regenerative properties. It’s antioxidants protect cells from free radicals. It is said to help tissue regrowth in wounds and be deeply hydrating for the skin. They are so easy to grow in the garden or in a pot and the more flowers you pick the more they produce.
Calendula oil is so easy to make at home and you can use it for the conditions listed below or add it to homemade creams and salves. I’ve included the instructions below if you’d like to try it out for yourself – go on, it’s sooooo easy!
- Rub onto wounds, haemorrhoids and skin rashes to help speed up the healing process.
- A few drops in the ear helps prevent ear infection.
- Soothe your digestive tract by using it on your salads as a dressing.
- Soothes away the pain of sunburn and helps to heal the skin.
- Reduces pain and swelling caused by insect bites.
- Calendula is said to be hydrating for the skin so if you suffer from dry skin or need a little extra hydration in winter, then this is the oil for you.
- Apply calendula oil regularly to scars to help them fade. This also works on old scars. Applied to post-operative scars it aids and quickens the healing process and softens the skin. This stops irritation and discomfort caused by the skin tightening as the scar heals.
- Apply to minor burns to hydrate the skin and reduce the pain.
- Its anti-bacterial properties will help shift stubborn fungal infections like athlete’s foot.Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce the pain of strained muscles, bruises and varicose veins.
How to make calendula oil
All you need to make this ‘liquid gold’ is a good double handful of calendula flowers and some olive oil.
- Pick the flowers on a sunny day around midday. (Yes I know this sounds a bit like ‘eye of newt and toe of frog’ but bear with me, there’s reason to my madness!) Calendula like many other medicinal herbs and plants develops the greatest amount of healing properties once the flowers have had a few hours of full sun. This also makes sure that the plants are dry by the time they are picked and not still wet with dew. Pick only the flower heads and you will find that the plant produces many more flowers to replace those you’ve picked.
- Pull off all the petals and place them in a colander. You will probably find the flower heads to be full of little black bugs. What I tend to do once I have enough petals is to sift through them a few times gently with my hands as if I’m making pastry (but not rubbing of course). This gives the bugs a chance to realise what’s happening and make a getaway! Once all the bugs have taken flight you can bring the petals inside.
- Fill a jam jar or something similar loosely full with petals and cover them with organic olive oil. Once you start pouring in the oil, the petals will squish down a little and you can add some more if you’ve any left. There should be around one centimeter of oil over the top of the petals when you’re finished.
- Place the jar in a warm sunny place for between four to six weeks. The longer the better but I’m usually too impatient to let it sit for six! Shake the jar every day to avoid the infusion rotting.
- Strain the calendula oil into a measuring jug through a fine sieve or a sieve lined with a muslin cloth. Pour into a glass bottle and you’re done! Store the oil in a cool dark place.
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