Thursday, September 5, 2013

Calendula Salve & Recipe

Calendula salve is something that should be in everyone's medicine cabinet. I've used it a few times in years past, but have become a faithful user in the last couple years on some skin issues stemming from post thrombotic syndrome in one of my legs..  It's very therapeutic, and can be used for a wide variety of things with great success.
What is Calendula? "Calendula" is Calendula Officinalis. Also know as the Marigold or Pot Marigold. Before you turn up your nose and think "EWWWWWWWWWWWWW! No way!", this may not be the same plant you think of when you hear "Marigold". I know its not for me.

To me, Tagetes, is a Marigold and the first thing that comes to my mind at the mention of "Marigold". The stinky flowers in everyone's garden that you'd never dream of having inside the house because of their distinctive foul odor. Thankfully, this isn't the flower were talking about.
Calendula Officinalis
Calendula Officinalis is the specie of Marigold that we need. I have only bought the commercial products, but after more searching and talking to some friends, I decided to take the plunge and make my own after learning more about which plant specie and variety was the one needed to try making my own salve. 

  • Calendula is known for its benefits on the skin, and has been used as an anti-microbial(both antibacterial & anti-viral), anti-fungal, used for burns and irradiated skin, bruises, soreness, cracked dry skin, eczema, cooling to inflammation, diaper rash, and skin ulcers. It can help reduce bleeding and is great for varicose veins. I use it mainly for the veinous ulcers that come and go on one of my legs after having compromised cirrculation after several DVT's. Calendula salve has worked better than any of the topical ointments and treatments I have used from the doctor.  I also have started using it on diaper rash on my little ones with great success!

So, I ordered Organic Calendula Officinalis off You could easily order from anywhere online or pickup some at any herbal or whole foods store. Just make sure that you get Certified Organic, then you wont have to worry about what kind of pesticides were used on the flowers and ending up in your salve.  Same goes for your Coconut oil. Organic is the way to go. You can use other good quality Organic oils to make your salve, it does not need to be Coconut, but the unrefined coconut works wonderful and adds alittle extra to the smell.

Fill your glass jars with the Caldendula flowers. Make sure not to pack them in tight, so the flowers have room to expand when the oil is added.

Add your carrier oil of choice. In this case, I used Nutiva Organic Coconut, which is a solid below 76*.  Warming up the oil to become a liquid, then using a funnel to pour the oil into the jars containing the flowers.

Then into the Crockpot. I filled the water to about half way up the sides of the jars, and turned the crockpot on low. 3 Days of warming the oil and flowers to speed up the process.

After the Calendula has infused for 3 days(give or take), you can strain it with a fine metal mesh strainer, a cheesecloth or thin dish rag.  I prefer the cheesecloth or rag because you can squeeze out the flowers and get the very last of the infused oil out of them.

Store in a cool dark place. 

How to make a basic salve-
 A salve or ointment, is a combination of an oil or fat that has been infused with herbs or flowers and bees wax. The oil works as a solvent to draw out the therapeutic properties of the herb and creates a healing and soothing base to build other products with besides just the salve I'm making today.  By adding the bees wax(or another emulsion wax you have on hand) it helps to solidify the wonderful healing infused oil and make it apply and have around without creating a big old sticky mess. The bees wax also adds some natural moisturizers, a protective element that helps with inflammation, irritation and dryness. Its also been found to have an antioxidant quality which is a great addition to everything.

The basic salves I make are generally 4 parts carrier or infused oil to 1 part bees wax or other emulsion agent. 1 cup carrier to 1/4 cup wax... or 1/2 cup carrier to 1/8th cup  wax.

Add the bee's wax to the infused oil in a double boiler. Slowly warming and stirring the oil & wax until wax melts. After the wax is melted and mixed well with the oil pour into containers and let cool, stirring occasionally until its starts to solidify. Store in a cool dry place.