[W]ell, I never intended to write a series on Calendula, but that’s what seemed to flow this week and I’m glad it happened! We’ve talked about growing, harvesting, preserving, and infusing this soothing medicinal flower…and I think it’s only appropriate that we conclude with a list of Calendula’s beneficial properties and a recipe.
Benefits of Calendula
Calendula is beneficial for a multitude of ailments. When taken internally — as a tea or tincture — it has the ability to reduce the inflammation of the digestive system. When applied topically — as a lotion, salve, ointment, herbal bath, or compress — it is one of the best herbs for treating skin issues like burns, inflammation, cuts, scrapes, bruises, bee stings, minor wounds, diaper rashes, conjunctivitis, eczema, athlete’s foot, and acne. It works just like any anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory would.
As powerful as it is aganist these ailments, it is also gentle enough to use on babies, children, or animals.
Including Calendula in your herbal preparations only adds to the healing properties of the final product. One of my favorite ways to use Calendula-infused oil is in a homemade lotion.
My first experience with making Calendula lotion was about three years ago, soon after the birth of our third child. I found it so moisturizing, healing, and cost-effective that I swore I’d never go back to store bought! And we haven’t…
There is a bit of detail and timing that goes into making lotion — especially if you make it without artificial preservatives and emulsifiers — but basically, all creams and lotions are referred to as emulsions (a.k.a.the combination of an oil and a water), because they use of an emulsifier to bind the oil and water together.
Tip: Think of it in the same way you’d think about making homemade mayonnaise.
The parts to making lotion include:
- a water (i.e. pure distilled water, floral hydrosols, or herbal infusions)
- an oil (i.e. olive, grapeseed, jojoba, sweet almond, apricot, avocado, coconut, cocoa butter, shea butter)
- an emulsifier (I’ve always just used beeswax)
- natural preservatives (i.e. benzoin essential oils, vitamin E oil, grapefruit seed extract or rosemary oil extract), optional
- natural additives (color, fragrances, essential oils), optional
- kitchen scale (in order to accurately weigh your ingredients)
- electric stick blender
- mixing bowls and pots (glass or stainless steal only, do not use aluminum or Teflon)
- measuring cups and spoons
- storage containers for the lotion (this is the perfect opportunity to repurpose those glass jars from the kitchen)
- wide-mouth glass mason jars
- fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
Calendula Lotion ~ The Recipe
A version of this recipe.
-4 ounces Calendula-infused oil
-2-4 ounces Calendula-infused distilled water
-0.5 ounces beeswax
-0.5 ounces vegetable glycerin
-o.5 ounces witch hazel
-1/4 teaspoon grapefruit seed extract, optional
-15 drops essential oils of lavender, optional
1. Sterilize all of your equipment and jars by putting it all in a big pot of boiling water then draining. It’s not vital that you do this, but it will help ward off bacterial growth…possibly extending the life of your lotion.
2. Prepare Calendula-infused distilled water by pouring boiling distilled water over fresh or dried Calendula flowers and steeping until it’s room temperature. Strain. Reserve 4 ounces of the “tea.” Note: You may simply use plain distilled water, I just like to add an additional Calendula punch. And yes, distilled or pure water should be used to prevent bacteria from growing.
3. Measure out the oils and beeswax by weighing them on a kitchen scale. Add them to a wide-mouth pint sized glass mason jar. Using a makeshift double boiler method, place a washcloth on the bottom of a pot filled with water, then place the jar in the pot. Melt oils and beeswax over low heat, stirring occasionally.
4. Remove the jar of melted oils and beeswax from the pot and allow them to cool on the counter. Note: This is the most important step! I can’t stress enough the importance of the oils, beeswax, water, vegetable glycerin and witch hazel all becoming room temperature prior to mixing. This must happen in order for the lotion to bind.
5. Throughout the cooling process, blend the oil mixture with a stick blender in order to produce a smooth texture. Once room temperature, begin slowing adding vegetable glycerin, witch hazel, and herbal infused water (and essential oils if using) in a slow steady stream while blending. Note: Add infused water, between 2-4 ounces, until you have reached desired thickness. As the lotion cools further, it will thicken.
6. Pour into storage containers. This recipe will produce approximately 6-8 ounces of high-quality lotion. I’ve kept it on my bathroom counter for 4 months without ever having an issue. For longer storage, keep in the refrigerator.
Get ready to bathe your family in Calendula goodness!
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