If you’re a modern-day homesteader or simply a lover of all things natural, you’re likely no stranger to the wonders of Calendula Salve. Calendula, a vibrant, sun-kissed herb, scientifically known as Calendula officinalis, boasts a rich history as a medicinal herb.
Calendula is revered for its soothing properties and ability to promote healing, especially for skin issues. So, if you’ve ever wondered how to turn this botanical gem into a versatile DIY Calendula Salve, you’re in the right place.
Understanding the Magic of Calendula
What is Calendula, and Why Should You Care?
Calendula, often referred to as “pot marigold,” is a herbaceous plant native to the Mediterranean region. Its radiant orange or yellow blossoms have earned it a special place in herbal medicine and skincare. Calendula is celebrated for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and soothing properties, making it a top choice for addressing various skin concerns.
The Science Behind Calendula’s Health Benefits
Before we jump into making your calendula salve, let’s look at some scientific proof that it really works. Studies, like the ones in the Journal of Clinical Drug Investigation, have found that calendula is great for healing wounds. It has special compounds, like triterpenoids and flavonoids, that help your skin heal faster and reduce swelling. This makes it a fantastic remedy for small cuts, burns, and bug bites.
One study from 2018 in the Journal of Clinical Drug Investigation looked at calendula extracts and how well they heal wounds. They found that calendula really does speed up the healing process. Another study, published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, looked at how calendula can reduce swelling. It confirmed that calendula is excellent for soothing irritated skin.
So, science tells us that calendula is a powerful healer. Now, let’s use this knowledge to make our very own calendula salve.
Creating Your Homemade Calendula Salve
Now, let’s roll up our sleeves and transform calendula petals into a healing salve. Here’s your step-by-step guide to crafting your very own calendula salve.
What You’ll Need For This Calendula Salve
- 1 cup of organic calendula-infused oil (we’ll get to this shortly)
- 1/4 cup of organic beeswax (for a vegan alternative, use carnauba wax)
- 1/4 cup of organic virgin coconut oil or 1/4 cup of organic unrefined shea butter (for a softer salve)
- A few drops of vitamin E oil
- 15-20 drops of lavender essential oil (or your preferred essential oil)
- 5-10 drops of tea tree essential oil (for its antibacterial properties)
Creating Calendula-Infused Oil
- Place dried calendula flowers (whole or petals) in a clean, dry glass jar. I like to blend my dried flowers up beforehand, to speed the infusion process a bit and get as much out of the flower as possible.
- Cover the calendula with a carrier oil of your choice. Organic olive oil, organic sunflower oil, or organic jojoba oil are great choices.
- Seal the jar and place it in a sunny windowsill or a sunny spot in your kitchen for about 2-4 weeks, or alternatively; in a cool dark spot for 4-6 weeks. This allows the oil to become infused with calendula’s healing properties. Make sure to shake the jar gently every day.
- After the infusion process, strain the oil using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean glass jar. Compost the calendula petals.
Creating Your Calendula Salve
- In a makeshift double boiler, combine the calendula-infused oil, beeswax (or carnauba wax for a vegan salve), coconut oil or shea butter.
- Heat the mixture on low heat until everything has melted into a liquid form. Be patient; this step may take a little time.
- Once melted, remove the mixture from the heat source and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
- Stir in the vitamin E oil and your chosen essential oils. Lavender and tea tree oil are excellent for skin health and antibacterial properties.
- Pour the mixture into clean, dry glass jars or tins. Let it cool and solidify at room temperature.
- Seal the containers, label them with the date, and store them in a cool, dark place. Properly stored, your calendula salve can have a shelf life of up to a year.
Other Ingredients You Can Add To Your Calendula Salve
- Jojoba Oil: Known for its skin-soothing and moisturizing properties.
- Sunflower Oil: High in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, ideal for dry skin.
- Cocoa Butter: Adds a chocolatey aroma and helps with dry patches.
- Arnica Oil: Known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
- Chamomile Oil: Offers calming effects and supports sensitive skin.
Feel free to experiment with these ingredients to tailor your calendula salve to your specific skincare needs and preferences.
Applying Your Calendula Salve
Your DIY calendula salve is a versatile addition to your natural body care routine. Apply it to:
- Dry skin
- Minor cuts and burns
- Insect bites
- Itchy skin
- Dry hands
- Razor burn
- Diaper rash
- Minor skin irritations
Remember to clean your hands before each use to maintain the salve’s purity.
Can I use dried calendula petals instead of fresh ones for this salve?
Yes, you can use dried calendula petals. In fact, many herbalists prefer using dried petals because they are easier to source and have a longer shelf life. Just make sure they are of high quality and free from contaminants.
How long does this calendula salve last once it’s made?
When stored in a cool, dark place and in an airtight container, your homemade calendula salve can last for up to one year or even longer. Keeping it away from direct sunlight and heat sources helps prolong its shelf life.
Can I use different carrier oils in this recipe?
Absolutely! You can experiment with different carrier oils to suit your preferences and skin type. Sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, or sunflower oil are great alternatives to consider.
What are some common uses for calendula salve?
Calendula salve is incredibly versatile. It can be used to soothe dry skin, minor cuts, insect bites, diaper rash, itchy skin, and even to relieve symptoms of varicose veins. Some people also use it as a lip balm or for minor burns.
Can I make this recipe vegan-friendly?
Yes, you can make a vegan version of calendula salve by substituting beeswax with plant-based waxes like carnauba or candelilla wax. Additionally, ensure that all the ingredients you use are vegan-friendly, including the carrier oil and essential oils.
Embrace the Healing Touch of Calendula
Creating your own calendula salve isn’t just a DIY project; it’s an act of self-care that connects you to centuries of herbal wisdom. Calendula’s medicinal properties, supported by scientific research, make it a valuable addition to your herbal remedies toolkit.
As you enjoy the soothing embrace of your homemade calendula salve, rest assured that you’ve harnessed the power of nature to nurture your skin and well-being.
So, whether you’re tending to your family’s minor skin issues or simply indulging in a moment of self-care, your calendula salve is a gentle, natural touch in a world of synthetic bath products. Share the love, share the healing, and share the knowledge of this magnificent herb with others who seek the softer side of nature’s gifts.
Remember, the best remedies often grow right in your herb garden or local fields, waiting for you to harness their potential. Enjoy your calendula salve!