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Calendula, I love you!

Calendula, I love you! Thanks…

(and how to make infused calendula oil and tincture)

Yes, I love this plant. It’s so easy to grow, it gives great yield and it has many uses in the healthy home. In my experience, it is a gateway plant for growing medicinals, since it gave me such a strong feeling of success.

When we moved to the home we now live in, in early fall, I scattered some calendula seeds I had gotten from a friend.

I’ve been reaping the benefits every winter since! Calendula is an annual where I live but it reseeds itself. Many starts come up where the plant went to seed the previous year and I easily transplant them all around the garden. Using a spade I lift a seedling with its’ roots and plant it elsewhere.

Look at those flowers! Full of healing goodness. It speeds skin healing, regenerates skin tissue and also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and immune-supporting properties. All these while still remaining mild enough to use on a newborn baby’s skin.

In addition, it is a wonderful plant to have in the garden. According to Mountain Rose Herbs “Calendula repels many common garden pests including aphids, eelworms, asparagus beetles, and tomato hornworms, and is a companion plant for potatoes, beans, and lettuce.”

Here in our community garden, the calendula is growing beside an almond sapling where we also grow cabbage in the winter.

So what can we do with all this goodness? In our home, we ALWAYS have jars and jars of calendula balm made from infused calendula oil. Our daughter named it ‘Booboo Balm’ as we use it on al booboos, cuts, scrapes, bites, rashes, dry and chapped skin.

It is our go-to for all skin ailments. It also makes a wonderful gift for a newborn baby. (I like to give one big jar and a little plastic ‘to go’ jar to keep in a diaper bag. Be prepared to refill those jars because people come back wanting more :))

I use the infused oil in other creams and salves that I make. Baby massage and bath oil, green tea, and honey body cream and deodorant, to name a few.

To make infused oils (of any plant) you must use dry plants only. Otherwise, the water in the plant will make the oil go rancid very fast and even grow a layer of mold.

So here is how I dry them. I keep a shallow basket in the pergola (protected from rain) and pick the flowers when they are the biggest (midday). I put them in the basket and wait for them to dry a little. Then I move them over and add some more.

By the time I’m ready to add a new batch the first batch is dry, so I put that in an airtight container. And so on until it gets too hot and the calendula dies.

Dried calendula in an airtight container.

To make the infused oil:

Fill a glass jar ¾ of the way full with DRIED calendula flowers.

Cover with the oil you are choosing to infuse (I use olive oil, sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil)

Leave on a sunny windowsill for two weeks.

Strain through a cheesecloth or coffee filter.

Label, date, and store in a dark closet.

Infused oil when in a hurry:

In a double boiler, place dry flowers and cover with oil.

Let the oil infuse for up to 24 hours (even though 1 or 2 hours gets great results as well).

Make sure the water under the oil is not bubbling but just simmering.

Strain, label, date, and store in a glass bottle in a dark closet.

Up here you can see calendula being infused on a double boiler on a rocket stove in our community garden.

I also make a tincture, which is an infused alcohol, to use in my husband’s lavender patchouli vanilla spray deodorant.

To make the tincture:

Put fresh flowers in a jar and cover with

alcohol, in this case, vodka.

Let it sit in a dark closet for six weeks.

Strain it and stood in a dark closet.

Happy ‘calendulaing’

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