*This information is based on my own research and reading–I always encourage you to do your own research too. Consult your doctor if you are considering changing, or going off, any medication (read my full disclaimer/disclosure here.)*
It’s the perfect time of year to talk about calendula. If you grow it in your garden, it’s probably in full bloom, and looking as radiant as the sun. You’ve also probably noticed that it’s gotten quite comfortable, and planted itself sporadically around your garden–lucky you.
The petals of the calendula flower have exciting healing and anti-inflammatory properties, and when applied topically, can aid in the healing of burns, bruises, cuts and minor infections. A popular method for applying calendula to external wounds, is in the form of a salve.
Traditionally, a calendula tincture was taken internally, and gargled to reduce inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat. This helped to sooth sore throats, laryngitis and tonsillitis, coughs, dryness of the lungs and digestive upsets.
This week’s Tincture Tuesday is different because I don’t use the calendula tincture internally. Instead, I incorporate the tincture, along with calendula infused oil, into an external, healing salve, which I apply to burns, bruises, cuts and minor infections. The following will discuss, step-by-step, how to make a medicinal, calendula, healing salve!
I found this fabulous recipe for medicinal salves, which I’ll discuss below, but here’s the catch: I have not tested it, and am currently in the process of making it myself! The reason that I’m “jumping the gun,” is because right now, calendula are in full bloom, so I wanted to get this post out for those of you interested in making this salve, as I am. I want you to get out there and start harvesting and drying your calendula before it’s too late!
As I write this, my dried, calendula petals are sitting in oil on my window sill, and sippin’ on alcohol on my counter (a.k.a. being made into a tincture.)
Drying the Petals
The petals of the calendula flower should be dried before preparation of the tincture or oil infusion. Simply pop the whole flower head off of the stem, and leave it out to dry in the sun (on a non-breezy day).
To dry herbs and flowers, I use an old, mesh fruit/veggie bag which prevents the delicate petals from flying away. You can also use a old window screen which you can place on a rack to allow air-flow from each direction. If you have neither, simply place the petals on a towel and flip them from time-to-time.
Once the flower is dried, remove the petals, and place in an airtight jar to store for future use.
How to Make a Calendula Tincture
Did you miss Week One’s post, Tinctures 101? If so, read it first to find out how to make tinctures, and why I’ve decided to incorporate them in to my medicine cabinet.
- Place about 1/4 – 1 cup of calendula petals in a jar, and cover them with twice as much 80-proof alcohol (40% vodka or rum etc.) e.g. 1/2 petals, 1 cup alcohol.
- Seal with a lid, and leave out of sunlight for 2-8 weeks.
- Strain, and transfer to an amber tincture bottle.
- Label and store in cool place out of sunlight.
How to Make Calendula Infused Oil
I often make herb and flower-infused oils, and ALWAYS have one “infusing” on my window sill. I haven’t discussed infusing oils (yet) on my blog, but it’s really quite simple. The summer months are an ideal time for infusing oils: flowers and herbs are abundant, and the solar light feeds the infusion process. I risk sounding like a non-modern hippie when I say this, but there’s something more magical and healing about the sun infusing oils, as opposed to the stove-top or slow-cooker method.
Although the solar-infusion method takes much longer, I prefer it (in the summer months, at least), so that’s what I’ll discuss.
To infuse oils via the sun/window sill method:
- Ensure that the calendula petals (and any herb/flower/leaf that you may be using) is completely dry. Unlike an alcohol infusion (tincture), any moisture will create a breeding ground for bacteria to grow.
- Fill a jar about 3/4 full of dried, petals, then top the jar up with liquid, oil. I like to use olive oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil, or sweet almond oil for my infusions (and sometimes even a combo of the four.)
- Seal with a lid, and leave it on a sunny window sill.
- Give it a shake every few days.
- After 2-3 weeks, strain it with a fine sieve or cheese cloth, making sure to squeeze all of the oil out of the petals.
- Label the jar, and store in a cool place for future use.
How to Make a Medicinal Calendula Salve
- 1/4 cup calendula-infused oil
- 10g beeswax (about 3/4 tbsp)
- 2 tsp calendula tincture
- 5-10 drops tea tree essential oil (optional) for additional anti-bacterial properties
Measure out the beeswax. I find it easiest to weigh it using a kitchen scale. You can use beeswax pastilles, or shave if off of a bar of beeswax.
Melt the wax in a double-broiler, just as you would chocolate. To create this effect, place the beeswax in a small jar, and place the jar in a pan of simmering water.
Once melted, stir in the calendula-infused oil and essential oils, if using. Remove the jar from the heat, and slowly drizzle in the tincture while whisking it with a fork.
Pour into a small container while it’s still liquid, and allow it to completely cool.
Apply the medicinal calendula salve externally to cuts, bruises, and minor burns and infections.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s Tincture Tuesday! Talk to you next week 🙂
*Tincture bottles are for sale locally (2 for $5), at Flo’s Body Piercing Studio (my mom), in Sechelt, B.C. Or, to order, message me on facebook at www.facebook.com/modernhippiehousewife