Calendula flower is frequently used to reduce fever, prevent muscle spasm, reduce pain and swelling caused by inflammation and to treat poorly healing wounds. Applied topically, calendula oil is excellent for treating diaper rash, yeast infection, ear infections, gum disease, hemorrhoids, and more.
Calendula Officinalis – The Plant
This short-lived perennial can be grown indoors or out in garden beds and containers. While it is a type of marigold, it should not be confused with common marigold (Tagetes spp.)
This easy to grow plant is perfect for those who want to create their own healing salves, lotions or oils. Start the seeds indoors in early spring and then transplant the sturdy seedlings. Calendula is a hands-off plant, meaning that once it’s established it doesn’t require additional fertilizing.
How to Make Calendula Oil aka Liquid Gold
- Put the dried calendula flowers in a food processor or blender, pulsing until ground coarsely.
- Lightly spritz the calendula with alcohol, just enough to moisten the flowers. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 4-6 hours.
- Transfer the coarsely ground Calendula to a dry, sterilized heat-proof jar.
- Cover the herb entirely with a carrier oil, ensuring it is completely submerged under the oil.
- Cover the jar with a lid, and shake gently to combine.
- Extract the oil using either the maceration method or the water bath method (explained below)
- Filter the herb from the oil by straining with cheesecloth or a mesh strainer.
- Store the oil in a glass jar or bottle in a cool, dark place. Shelf life is 1 to 2 years.
Calendula Oil Extraction Methods
The oil can be extracted in a couple of different ways. If you’re not in a hurry, maceration is a wonderful way to prepare infusions. It doesn’t break down or damage the more delicate constituents of the plants or carrier oils. More resinous herbs, such as Calendula are best extracted using heat.
Fill a clean, sterilized jar with dried calendula flowers, cover completely with a carrier oil, seal tightly. Cover the jar with a paper bag to block damaging UV light and place it in a sunny place, shaking once daily for four to six weeks.
The water bath method is wonderful if you’re in need of an oil infusion quickly. Fill a clean, sterilized jar with dried calendula flowers, cover completely with a carrier oil, seal tightly. Place the jar in a water-filled saucepan on a trivet (to keep the jar from resting directly on the bottom of the pan. If you don’t have a trivet, use mason jar lid rings, they work just as well.)
The water level of the pan should be about mid-jar. Bring the water to a simmer, then turn it off, leaving the jar in the hot water, allowing it to infuse. Repeat eight to ten times over the course of 24 hours. When the oil has taken on the color of the herbs, it’s ready.
Water Bath Slow Cooker Method
If you need a hands-off option, place the jar on a trivet on the bottom of a slow cooker. Add water to the slow cooker until it reaches about halfway up the jar. Turn the slow cooker on the lowest setting and leave it overnight, or about 10 hours in all.
Apply Calendula oil directly to the skin for various conditions, or thicken with beeswax to create a wonderful healing salve. We use it in homemade antifungal baby wipes.