Calendula officinalis otherwise known as Pot Marigold (not to be confused with ornamental marigolds) belongs to the Asteraceae or daisy family of plants. This sunshine yellow flower was once considered the poor man's saffron in the middle ages and was also used as a dye.
The name Calendula comes from the greek word ‘calendae’ meaning ‘ little calendar’ referring to the fact that the flowers can bloom every month of the calendar year in warmer climates.
It might surprise you to know that Calendula officinalis is actually an edible variety of flower and that its medicinal use can be seen throughout history. In clinical practice I use the ethanolic extract for various conditions as a bitter tonic, for liver and gallbladder support, as a digestive anti inflammatory, as an antifungal or to support the lymphatic system.
Calendula is considered a warming herb and is thought to gently warm the solar plexus, thin fluids and dispel moisture through the skin.
What is an oil infusion
A herbal oil infusion is a carrier oil that's been infused with a particular herb for a particular period of time. By allowing certain herbs to infuse in oil, certain herbal constituents release from the plant into the oil, creating a therapeutic oil.
The major chemical constituents found to be present in Calendula officinalis include terpenoids, flavonoids, coumarins, carotenoids, quinones, volatile oils, and amino acids. It’s these particular compounds that are responsible for giving calendula its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, stimulant, detoxifying, carminative, anti-hemorrhagic, antiviral and antifungal properties.
Calendula oil is for external use only and can be used for:
Wound healing - Bruises, minor cuts and grazes
Dry chapped skin
Skin conditions like eczema, varicose veins, and acne. It’s antifungal properties mean it can also be used for athletes food, ringworm and topical fungal infections.
How to make your own calendula oil
You will need:
Organic dried calendula flowers
Organic oil of your choice - olive, jojoba, avocado or almond oil.
Clean, dry, airtight jar.
Sieve, cheesecloth, or strainer
1. Place calendula flowers into a clean, dry, airtight jar. Pour oil over the flowers ensuring that you cover completely and 3cm over to accommodate for expansion of the flowers. The petals may float up initially so you can gage the amount of oil based on the space at the bottom of the jar.
2. Stir the mixture to ensure they are evenly coated and that there are no air pockets.
3. Place lid on jar and place the jar. Then place the jar in an area of the kitchen where it will be exposed to sunlight. This can be a window sill or sunny spot.
4. Leave the mixture for 4-6 weeks. Stirring occasionally every few days.
5. After 6 weeks strain the oil into a new clean and dry, airtight jar or bottle. I like to reuse the bottle the oil came in. Make sure to label the contents and write the date. Generally speaking, if stores correctly, calendula oil will last for up to 2 years.
6. Store in a cool, dark place. It's now ready for use.
The oil can then be used to create a salve, cream, ointment or be used as a stand alone oil.