Calendula flowers have skin-soothing, protecting and toning properties. They are used in all types of skin care preparations including salves, body washes, scrubs, creams, ointments and lotions. A gentle but powerful herb, calendula flowers can used on damaged, sensitive, chafed or irritated skin. Calendula is often combined with other herbs such as comfrey leaf, aloes, St. John’s wort and lavender flowers.
Calendula flowers are an ingredient in hair rinses, shampoos, shaving creams and deodorants. In shampoo and hair rinse, calendula is added to formulas made for light-colored hair as it helps to brighten blonde or red hair. A dye for fabric can also be extracted from the flowers.
Caution/Safety: The Botanical Safety Handbook* classifies Calendula as Class:1 herbs which can be safely consumed when used appropriately. People who are allergic or sensitive to other members of the Asteraceae family, such as daisies or ragweed, should exercise caution until they have established they do not have a reaction to calendula flowers.
To Prepare: To make calendula skin care oil, place one cup of calendula flower petals (petals are better than whole flowers for this use) in a non-reactive container such as a glass jar. Cover with one cup of vegetable oil (a high quality oil such as extra-virgin olive oil or almond oil makes a good base), stir well, adding more oil if needed to keep the calendula completely submerged and the jar full. To extract using the sun, place container in a bag or box to keep out the sunlight, then place in the sun for a week. Stir contents daily. Or alternately, put calendula and oil in a crock pot or other thermostatically controlled container. Keep crock pot on the warm setting, stirring several times a day, making sure the mixture does not get too hot (over 110 F.) and replacing oil as needed. When the oil takes on the color and aroma of the calendula (about a week), strain out all of the flowers, squeezing them well to remove as much of the oil as possible. Place in a glass jar and let stand for a few days to let any sediment remaining in the calendula oil fall to the bottom of the jar. Draw oil off the sediment and store in a tightly sealed glass container. Keep in a cool, dark place. Use the oil as a massage, skin care oil or as a base for salves. Adding a little vitamin E to the finished calendula flower oil will help increase its shelf life. Scenting the calendula oil with synergistic essential oils such as lavender and geranium enhances the benefits of the calendula oil.