Uses for calendula flowers

There are many, many uses for calendula! Calendula is perhaps most commonly known as a first aid remedy for cuts and wounds. It’s also used internally as an antimicrobial to help the body resist pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Having anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, astringent, and vulnerary properties, calendula is also a good herb for the skin. In this post, we have gathered together some of our favorite recipes and remedies using this herb for all sorts of uses.

Just about all of these recipes will require dried calendula flowers, which you can harvest and preserve on your own or purchase them from a quality source. For tips on drying calendula, check out Joybilee Farm’s article here; and if you choose to purchase your herbs, we trust Mountain Rose Herbs as a quality source. Here’s what you are going to need.

Contents

Our Top 14 Calendula Recipes and Remedies

Elderberry Calendula Cold and Flu Elixir

The changing of seasons, right around late summer, is the perfect time of year to prepare one of our favorite cold and flu recipes using both calendula and elderberry. I especially enjoy making medicine from fresh plants, so this is the time to make my favorite cold and flu remedy – Elderberry Calendula Cold and Flu Elixir – including both elderberry and calendula, rose hips, orange peel, ginger, and elderflower.

A Simple Calendula Tea

Drinking tea made from calendula can help in the treatment of urinary tract infections. Additionally, the healing and anti-inflammatory properties of the herb make it very soothing on the throat. Simply use your calendula tea as a gargle when your throat feels sore.

Learn more here: http://thefreerangelife.com/30-uses-for-calendula/

Homemade Sugar Scrub

You can use this herbal sugar scrub every time you shower, or you can alternate it with soap as often as you’d like. Gently massaging it into your skin feels great and the oils will leave your skin soft, nourished, and glowing.

Herbal Deodorant

If you too have been struggling with finding the perfect natural deodorant that keeps you from stinking, here it is.

Calendula Balm for Diaper Rash

Another easy balm recipe, which is a great use for diaper rash!

Calendula Infused Facial Toner

This homemade toner is not only hydrating to the skin, but slightly astringent, anti-inflammatory, and promotes healing of skin thanks to the calendula.

Calendula Soap

Jan, author of Cold Process Soap Basics and Recipes and blogger over at The Nerdy Farm Wife shares with us two great recipes using calendula! This is a mild, unscented calendula soap bar that is gentle enough to use on almost everyone from babies to grandmothers.

A Natural Remedy for Irritated Eyes

This is another one of The Nerdy Farm Wife’s recipes, a great natural remedy for irritated eyes caused by: allergies, pool water, dryness, dust, wind, eye strain and even pink eye. Of course, be sure to read the caveats and precautions at the end of her post before going ahead with the remedy!

Herbal Sinus Infusion Using Calendula, Sage, and Thyme

Certain times of the year, pollen is really bad and affects everyone in the family, including the pets! This Herbal Sinus Infusion is a great recipe for treating seasonal discomfort.

DIY Herbal Sunburn Relief Spray

This combination of herbs is a great remedy to use on hot, damaged skin from a sunburn.

Simple Herbal Burn Salve

The herbs used in the herbal burn salve recipe above are commonly used herbs for burns, coming together for the perfect remedy!

Calendula, Oats, and Honey Lotion

The simplest remedy to treat environmental damage is to moisturize it with protective cream. You could of course buy it but it’s far more fun and less expensive to make it yourself. Another benefit to making your own is that you can control which ingredients you use and keep it as natural as possible.

DIY Herbal Healing Balm

This healing balm is excellent for acne, scrapes, burns, bruises, diaper rash, new tattoos, muscle pain, chapped skin and postpartum bottom care.

Herbal Lip Balm

From the Freerange Life, get this recipe for a moisturizing lip balm using dried calendula. It is simple to make and, best of all, only contains ingredients you can pronounce!

Further Reading on Calendula Uses

If you are looking for more calendula recipes and goodies, then you’ll want to stop by The Nerdy Farm Wife’s website to get a free ebook on Calendula here:

And find plenty of additional calendula growing tips, recipes and remedies, and fun facts on our Calendula Pinterest board! Pin with us here:

So how are you using calendula? Share with us in the comments!

If you are interested in learning more about calendula uses along with many other uses of common and not-so-common herbs, join us anytime in our Online Introductory Herbal Course or Intermediate Herbal Course.

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It’s easily harvested and extracted and looks beautiful whether the flowers are in a pot or steeping in a large glass jar. It can be made into a cream, oil, gel, compress, tincture or tea; used in a bath or facial steam; eaten in salads and stews; whipped into toothpastes or mixed into mouthwashes; and is gentle enough for babies and the elderly! What am I talking about? It’s the magical and powerful calendula!

Calendula is a plant that has been used for centuries for ornamental purposes, as well as culinary, cosmetic and medicinal reasons. Even if you’re not quite sure what it is, you probably are familiar with marigolds. This plant is in the same species as marigolds and often called by the alternative name pot marigold.

Calendula is one of the top herbs and can be taken orally, but more popularly it’s applied topically. This flower has become popular in many natural health products and skin care lines on the market today, used in almost 200 various lotions, shampoos and other products. (1) It has also been known to help with a variety of health issues, is a powerful antioxidant and is among the strongest of antiviral herbs. In addition, it helps health issues ranging from skin inflammation to cramps to even cancer! (2)

7 Amazing Health Benefits of Calendula

1. Possesses Anti-Inflammatory Capabilities

Calendula has been found to have strong anti-inflammatory properties via powerful flavonoids. These plant-based antioxidants protect cells from free radical damage and pro-inflammatory compounds like C-reactive protein and cytokines. (3)

Anti-inflammatory linoleic acid is also found in high concentrations in calendula. (4) Its powerful anti-inflammatory properties make it a potent remedy for all kinds of inflammatory, issues like diaper rash, dermatitis, ear infections, ulcers, sore throats and more. Ear drops containing calendula are sometimes used to treat ear infections in children as well.

2. Calms Muscle Spasms

Calendula can help prevent and relax muscle spasms. Data from one study conducted by the Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at the Aga Khan University Medical College in Pakistan showed that the crude extract of its flowers relaxed spontaneous muscle contractions. This research additionally provided a scientific base for this herb’s traditional use in abdominal cramps and constipation. (5)

3. Heals Ulcers, Wounds & Hemorrhoids

In studies done for slow-healing wounds and various exposed ulcers, it was found that using calendula-based gels and topical ointments helped speed up recovery rate and healing. In one study, it was found that animals treated within an eight-day window using the treatment had a 90 percent closure of their wounds, as compared to only 51 percent of those who had not used the plant-based topical treatment. (6)

Calendula is also used to improve skin firmness and hydration. Even more impressive, it helps increase blood flow and oxygen to wounds and infected areas, which helps the body grow new tissue and heal more rapidly. (7) For this reason, it can also be effective for at fighting hemorrhoids. Many creams and ointments, such as Boiron Calendula Cream, exist today to provide effective natural relief for these external ailments. When taken as a tea, it can also be helpful for internal duodenal and gastric ulcer symptoms.

4. Aids Menstruation

Drinking calendula tea may help induce the menstruation cycle, as well as ease the painful side effects of menstruation in women, primarily PMS cramps. The large flavonoids presence helps relax muscles, blood flow and information, all promoting an ease of the menstruation. It can also even alleviate hot flashes.

5. Contains Antimicrobial & Antiviral Components

The acids held within the oils of this plant have powerful antimicrobial and antiviral effects, especially when fortified with sunflower oil. The oils and acids within the plant have shown to be effective in fighting pathogens, as well as candida symptoms and even antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria! This is a big reason why it’s used in antiseptic topical products today. (8)

6. Improves Oral Health

Calendula has become a popular additive in toothpastes and mouthwashes over the past years due to its powerful antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It helps reduce gum inflammation as well as fight against gingivitis, cavities, plaque and more. It’s also an astringent, which helps fight mouth bacteria and promote a healthy oral environment. (9)

7. Discourages Cancer

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, calendula can help fight against cancer and irritation due to cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. Animal studies have shown that it not only fights carcinogenic activity within tumors, but it also activates the lymphocytes, which fight against foreign and infectious invaders. (10)

According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, calendula appears more effective than typically recommended topical agents at reducing and preventing the incidence of dermatitis caused by radiation used for breast cancer treatment. (11)

How to Grow & Use Calendula

Calendula grows easily anywhere it’s planted, even in pots. In warmer climates, it blooms every month. Pick the flowers at the height of their bloom, in the heat of midday when all the dew has evaporated. The plant cultivates more flowers as soon as the flowers are picked, so harvest every three days or so without worrying about saving the flowering plant. Pick the flowers only if you’re going to use the plant for medicinal purposes. You should spread the flowers out on a tea towel or paper to allow to fully dry, without washing them. Allow them to fully dry before storing them out of direct sunlight.

Named “Herb of the Year” in 2008 by the International Herb Association, calendula is used to color and flavor butters and broths, and has a woody, earthy, bitter and slightly sweet taste. You can use its fresh flowers as a tea infusion. For cooking, cosmetic and medicinal uses, you should typically used dried calendula. Once it’s dried, it can be used in recipes just like any other dried herb. It’s often used as a replacement for the more expensive saffron. You’ll also find it in many herbal tea blends.

This herb can be purchased as a dietary supplement, tincture, liquid extract, tea, infusion, ointment or cream. Topical products, including shampoos and lotions, usually use calendula extract, which can be made by extracting the oils from the dried flowers in steam distillation. These products should always be protected from light and moisture, and should not be used after three years of storage.

There’s no way to find or make 100 percent pure calendula extract. Calendula oil is extracted by making an oil from the flowers. Once it’s properly dried and placed in a high-grade carrier oil like extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil, it usually takes about a month for the calendula to thoroughly infuse into the carrier oil, producing a beautiful, richly colored final product.

Calendula Nutrition Facts & History

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is an herbaceous plant of the small genus Calendula, in the Asteraceae family. This flowering, annual plant grows naturally around western Europe, southeastern Asia and the Mediterranean. It’s a common plant in home gardens throughout the world today and easily blooms and thrives wherever it’s planted, and it’s just as easily cultivated to be made into oil, tea and more. The orange-yellow petals of the flowers are used for medicine both externally and internally.

The bright yellow to deep orange flowers give off a slightly honey aroma and are edible, with a bit of spice and bitterness on the palate. The petals are often used in salads or as a dying additive to dishes. These petals contain high levels of antioxidants in the form of carotenoids and flavonoids. Calendula contains both lutein and beta-carotene, which the body absorbs and converts into vitamin A. (12) It also has fatty acids, with the two dominant fatty acids being calendic and linoleic acids. Additionally, the flower heads are rich in oxygenated oils like monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.

This herb been used medicinally since at least the 12th century. (13) It was originally called calendula by the Romans, who realized the plant bloomed on the first day of each month (calends). It was a symbol of happiness in Roman gardens and also provided a continuous supply of flowers and tender leaves — so it was used regularly for cooking and medicine.

The flowers are considered sacred in India, where they’re used to adorn statues of deities, as well as used in religious ceremonies in ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations. They’re also still used during processions on the Day of the Dead in Mexico.

The Germans used it in soups and stews, as well as a saffron substitute in hearty large pot dishes, thus the nickname “pot marigold.”

Calendula Recipes

Calendula’s antiviral properties make it a therapeutic and key ingredient in my Honey & Chamomile Home Remedy for Pink Eye. Dried calendula is also tasty and therapeutic in any of your own homemade tea blends.

From start to finished product, this next recipe takes a little more time, but it’s still super easy and well worth the wait. I’m talking about making your own Homemade Calendula-Infused Oil!

Homemade Calendula-Infused Oil Recipe

Time: 5 minutes/about 4 weeks

Applications: Depends on how much you use at at time, but this recipe will likely supply you with calendula oil for months to come.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces dried calendula flowers
  • 16 ounces organic olive oil
  • 1 glass pint jar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place the dried calendula flowers in a clean, dry glass jar.
  2. Pour enough olive oil into the jar to cover the flowers. Shake the jar and let it sit for an hour or so.
  3. When you check back, the oil should cover the calendula flowers by at least half an inch, or if the flowers are floating, there should be a half inch at the bottom with no flowers. Add more oil if needed.
  4. Stir well, cap the jar tightly and place it on your warmest, sunniest windowsill.
  5. Shake the jar once a day.
  6. After 3 to 6 weeks, strain the calendula flowers out of the oil using cheesecloth. (You’ll know your creation is ready when the oil starts to turn yellow and smells nutty. Four weeks is usually a safe bet.)
  7. Pour the infused calendula oil into smaller glass bottles (or leave in its current container) and store in a cool dark place.

Now you have an amazing, homemade oil to use whenever you like! Ideally, use your homemade calendula oil within a year or less.

Calendula Cautions

You shouldn’t use calendula if you’re allergic to plants in the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Other plants in this family include ragweed, chamomile and echinacea.

Because of its promotion of menstruation, it’s advised for pregnant women to avoid calendula teas as well as breast-feeding women and even those seeking to get pregnant, as it can potentially cause miscarriage due to the highly potent pro-menstruation effects.

Calendula can possibly interact negatively with sedatives due to its muscle-relaxing abilities, as well as diabetes and blood pressure medications.

Final Thoughts on Calendula

Calendula holds a very powerful healing effect internally and externally. The bright, wonderful colors of the calendula flower come from the potent flavonoids that can protect and heal our bodies. It’s a great natural remedy that has very few side effects.

The powerful antioxidants within the little yellow flower hold the key to helping reduce and subside many inflammatory health issues. This wonderful, gentle herb can be mixed into many homeopathic and natural products, ranging from teas to creams. In addition, it’s been shown to possess anti-inflammatory capabilities; calm muscle spasms; heal ulcers, wounds and hemorrhoids; aid menstruation; contain antimicrobial and antiviral components; improve oral health; and discourage cancer.

Read Next: Use Antiviral Herbs to Boost Immune System & Fight Infection

Calendula for healing skincare and handmade soap

How to use calendula flowers for skin and healing skincare. Shown to have powerful skin healing properties, calendula’s compounds can be easily extracted and made into homemade ointments, balms, creams, lotions, and soap. This is part of the growing calendula for beauty, health, and food series.

  • The complete guide to growing Calendula
  • How to harvest and dry calendula flowers
  • Using calendula flowers in handmade skincare
  • Using calendula flowers in food recipes
  • Browse Calendula ideas and recipes

Calendula officinalis, also called the Pot Marigold, is a cheerful garden plant that produces continuous blooms of golden flowers. It’s also probably the most useful garden flower to be had. Its flower petals are edible and you’ll often find them in fancy salads or recipes for edible flower cakes and desserts. They have a slightly peppery flavour and the yellow-orange of their petals can naturally color food. The ‘pot’ in Pot Marigold refers to its use in the kitchen.

However, the most exciting use for calendula is in healing skincare. The flowers are antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial and have been shown to help speed up the healing of skin. These properties make it a great ingredient for soothing, natural skin products.

Probably the biggest question you might have right now is how to actually use calendula flowers for skin. This piece, along with my additional calendula pieces and recipes, will help you learn how to grow it, harvest it, and use it in natural skincare.

Use calendula infused water and/or calendula infused oil to make creams and lotions

Calendula at a glance

  • Perennial in mild climates, hardy annual in cooler zones
  • Typically, orange to yellow flowers
  • Around 100 cultivars of Calendula officinalis
  • Used by herbalists as a vulnerary, a wound healer
  • Use calendula flowers for skin complaints like eczema and acne
  • Fresh and dried flower can be used to create homemade skincare
  • Also called the Pot Marigold although it is not the same as the typical ‘Marigold’ (Tagetes type)

Natural compounds in calendula flower petals promote rapid skin healing

Calendula promotes skin healing

On a scientific level, calendula flowers contain polysaccharides, flavonoids, triterpenes, resins, carotenes, and other compounds. From a skincare point of view, they’re primarily used to heal damaged and inflamed skin such as minor cuts, rashes, eczema and acne. In one study, calendula sped up the healing of wounds in animals by nearly double

Calendula most likely works by helping wounds to quickly form granulation tissue. This moist red to pink tissue closes the wound, protects the inner tissues from infection, and begins the healing process.

Aside from cuts and wounds, calendula helps soothe and heal burns. Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce pain and swelling. There is also a promising study that shows that calendula can reduce the growth of tumors.

Oil infused with dried calendula petals

Is calendula safe for everyone?

Generally speaking, calendula is typically very safe to use for most adults and children. That means that you can use calendula flowers for skin complaints in toddlers up to seniors.

However, calendula is part of the Asteraceae family and some people can be allergic. If you’re sensitive to ragweed/ragwort, chrysanthemums, or daisies then please be cautious. Calendula is also considered unsafe for pregnant women or if you’re breast feeding.

If you buy calendula, it usually arrives as dried flower heads

Get calendula flowers

The quickest way to get calendula flowers is to buy them. I’ve seen them sold fresh a few times at farmers markets but online or through health food shops you’ll tend to get them dried. That’s perfect because in many cases you need dried flowers to start making beauty products.

On packaging calendula will simply be listed as ‘Calendula officinalis’. There are about 100 cultivars though and the varieties that are best for skincare are types higher in resins. Erfurter Orangefarbige and Resina are excellent choices but it can be difficult to get this information. If you’re lucky you might be able to get the cultivar’s name from the supplier – especially if they’re a small-scale grower or herbalist.

If you’d like to ensure that you’re using a medicinal variety then it might be better to grow it yourself. Fortunately, growing calendula is very easy.

It does need an outdoor situation but that could be a window box, container, flower bed, or in the garden. Not only can you harvest their golden petals from spring until early winter but they add decorative color and cheer. Get started by reading the complete guide to growing calendula flowers.

Calendula salves and balms are excellent for soothing eczema

Use calendula flowers for skin products

There are several ways that you can get the healing compounds in calendula onto your skin: as a poultice, compress (tea), or as an infused oil. The last two can be used to make more conventional skincare products like salves, creams, and lotions.

Calendula skincare uses

  • Helps clear acne and pimples
  • Promotes healing of minor cuts, scrapes, and wounds
  • Soothes eczema and irritated skin
  • Speeds up the healing of sunburns and other minor burns
  • Treats chapped skin, lips, and cold sores
  • Sensitive astringent
  • Naturally colors handmade soap

Use the petals to make compresses, poultices, and oil infusions

Make a calendula poultice

You can use calendula petals whole by making a poultice. Poultices are mashed up herbs and leaves that you lay directly on the skin and hold in place with a bandage or cloth. They’re useful for treating large areas of skin inflammation such as a rash from nettles or a sunburn. Poultices are also quick to make if you have a jar of dried calendula at the ready.

Make a basic calendula poultice by using enough fresh or dried flower petals to cover your skin in a 1-2mm layer. Mix the petals with a small amount of hot water and mash it up. Pulverizing it with an immersion blender can release even more of the extract and make a kind of paste.

Spread or smear the poultice on, attach a bandage to hold it in place, and leave on the skin for up to a few hours. Afterwards, rinse it off, dry the skin, and apply a balm or ointment.

Calendula is water and oil soluble

While poultices are a great solution for your herbal first aid kit they’re not for every day use. It’s cumbersome and unnecessary to wear a poultice unless you have major inflammation. For daily use it’s better to apply ointments and balms for minor issues that need protection. To treat acne and herbal skincare it’s best to use a water-based product like a lotion or cream. The benefit of these products is that they’re less awkward to have on and thus can stay in contact with your skin for longer.

To make any of these you need to first extract calendula’s compounds into another substance. Fortunately, calendula is both water and oil soluble. That means you can infuse it into water, another liquid, or the oil of your choice.

Both calendula flower petals and flower heads can be infused in oil or water to extract beneficial compounds

Make a calendula herbal compress

Compresses are an infusion that you apply to your skin using an absorbent cloth. They’re a good way to soothe skin inflammation and rashes in the case that you need to put together something quickly.

Make one by seeping 3 teaspoons dried calendula flowers heads or petals (or 6 teaspoons fresh) in a cup (240ml) of scalding water. Leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes, then strain the flowers out and discard. It’s the liquid you want at this stage and it’s best to use it fresh.

Soak a cloth in the tea, wring it out, and use it to cover your face or any other parts of your body that need some relief. Leave on for ten minutes or until the cloth starts to get cold. Use a calendula compress from twice a week to daily. If you have leftover liquid, you can store it in the fridge for up to three days if you’d like to use it again later.

Once you’ve made calendula-infused oil and/or water, you can use it to make creams and lotions

Make a calendula tub tea

The infusion you make for a compress is essentially a tea, and you can make it on a larger scale too. Place up to a cup of dried flowers in a reusable cotton tea bag (or a sock) and let it seep in your hot bath water. Alternatively, you can make a pot of strong calendula tea and pour it in the bath.

Oatmeal is another great additive to add to warm baths, especially to soothe sunburns. Years ago a friend was terribly burned and the only thing that soothed his skin with immediate relief was an oatmeal bath. If you’re in the same scenario, put a cup of oatmeal along with up to a cup of calendula in a bag/sock and infuse it in your bath water. Swishing it around will release a stream of milky calendula-oatmeal goodness. You’ll sigh in relief once you climb in.

Calendula tea in lotions and creams

Lotions and creams are made mainly of water. Usually it’s distilled water but you can substitute calendula tea as part or whole of most any recipe. Make in the same way that you would for a compress and blend it together with an emulsifier, oils, and other additives. You can also use calendula-infused oil to make your creams and lotions. Here’s a calendula lotion recipe to get you started.

Making calendula-infused oil

Calendula-infused oil

One of the best ways to prepare and preserve calendula is in oil. When seeped into light oils such as grape seed or sweet almond, the petals release their healing properties and color into the liquid. You can then use the oil to create lotions, creams, balms, salves, or to use neat on the skin.

To make calendula oil, fill a glass jar with dried calendula flower heads and/or petals. Then fill the jar with liquid oil until the flowers are submerged. Seal and place in a warm, sunny window for 2-4 weeks and remember to give the jar a shake every couple of days. Placing the jar inside a brown paper bag is optional but can help protect the oil from UV light.

The type of oil is up to you. My favorite is sweet almond oil but you could also use grape seed oil, sunflower oil, apricot kernel oil, or even olive oil. Look for one that has a shelf-life of at least a year.

When the time is up, strain the oil from the flowers — the dried flowers will have absorbed a lot of oil so make sure to squeeze it to get every last drop. Bottle into dark glass jars and store in a cool and dim place. Calendula oil is good for up to a year. Make sure to check the shelf-life of the oil you use though first – if it expires in three months then your calendula oil will only be good up until that time too.

Calendula infused sweet almond oil

Making calendula salves

Calendula salves are oil-based skincare made with calendula-infused liquid oil mixed with melted solid oils. It’s then poured into containers and solidify into a semi-solid form. You scoop it up and massage it into the skin wherever you need healing action or soothing.

To make calendula salve mix one part by weight solid oil or wax (beeswax, soy wax, or cocoa butter) with eight parts calendula oil. For example, 20g (0.7oz) of beeswax with 160g (5.6oz) calendula oil.

First melt the solid oil using a double-boiler, pour in the calendula oil, stir well, pour into containers and allow to cool. Calendula salve can keep for up to two years or by the closest best-by date of the ingredients you’re using in your batch.

Salves are made by blending solid and liquid oils together with healing extracts

Using calendula flowers in handmade soap

There’s no literature that I’m aware of that shows that the medicinal properties of calendula survive in handmade soap. At least if you’re making soap using just the flower petals. The benefit that I see in calendula flower soap is the color.

Most flowers will darken when used in soap making and it’s disappointing to see once vibrant lavender buds or rose petals turn brown. Calendula is different in that it maintains its sunny yellow or golden orange hue not just through the soap making process, but for months afterwards. For that reason alone, calendula is one of my favorite natural soap colorants. I share a calendula soap recipe here.

Calendula Series

This piece on how to use calendula flowers for skin is part of a series on growing, harvesting, and using calendula flowers. To learn more, continue with:

  • The complete guide to growing Calendula
  • How to harvest and dry calendula flowers
  • Using calendula flowers in handmade skincare
  • Using calendula flowers in food recipes
  • Browse Calendula ideas and recipes

Triterpene saponins (oleanolic acid glycosides), triterpene alcohols (α-, β-amyrins, faradiol), and flavonoids (quercetin and isorhamnetin) The National Center for Biotechnology Information
Wound healing activity of flower extract of Calendula officinalis Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology
Calendula officinalis and Wound Healing: A Systematic Review. Wounds : a compendium of clinical research and practice. Leach, Matthew. (2015). 20. 236-43.

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10 Things to Make With Calendula Flowers

Have an abundance of dried calendula flowers or a bountiful crop of the blossoms from your garden and aren’t quite sure what to do with them all?

Calendula flowers are traditionally used for their following properties:

  • skin soothing
  • antiseptic
  • healing
  • anti-inflammatory

These 10 projects using calendula flowers are both useful and pretty!

A few notes before we begin:

1. If your calendula flowers are fresh, you’ll need to dry them before making most of these recipes. To do so, spread the flower heads out in a single layer on paper towels or clean dish towels and let them air dry for several days.

2. To print this post, scroll down until you see a green “Print Friendly” button.

3. There may be a few affiliate links scattered in this post. That means if you click on one and make a purchase, I earn a small commission for sending a customer their way. This costs you nothing extra, but helps to support the site and lets me keep doing what I do. Thank you! 🙂

4. If you don’t grow your own calendula, you can purchase dried organic flowers HERE from Mountain Rose Herbs or HERE from Amazon.

1. Calendula Flower Infused Oil

This calendula infused oil can be massaged directly onto dry, irritated skin or used as an ingredient in recipes for salves, lotions, creams, soaps and lotion bars. Shelf life of strained, infused oil is around 1 year.

To make it, fill a canning jar about half-way up with dried calendula flowers. Cover with about twice as much as your favorite carrier oil, or to the top of the jar. (Suggested oils include sunflower, olive, sweet almond, apricot kernel, avocado, hemp and so forth.)

For a quick infusion: Set the uncovered jar down into a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Heat over a low burner for a few hours, keeping a close eye that the water doesn’t evaporate out. Remove from heat and strain. The quick infusion is the best way to infuse coconut oil.

For a slower, more traditional infusion: Cap the jar of calendula flowers and oil and tuck away in a cabinet for around 4 to 6 weeks, shaking occasionally as you remember to. When the infusing time has passed, strain.

For an alternative option: You could also set the jar of flowers and oil in a sunny windowsill for several days to a week to jump start the infusion. (Don’t store for long periods in sunlight though, as it tends to fade flowers and herbs over time.)

2. Calendula Flower Salve

This recipe uses the infused oil we made above. It’s perfect for including in your first aid kit since it helps soothe many minor skin ailments such as scratches, dry spots, diaper rash, razor burn, minor scrapes, insect bites and more. Calendula salve can be used on pets and farm animals too!

To make it, combine 3.5 oz (100 g) of calendula infused oil with 0.5 (15 g) beeswax in a heatproof jar or empty tin can. (For a vegan option – try using roughly half as much candelilla wax instead of beeswax.)

Set the jar/can down into a saucepan containing an inch or two of water. Place the pan over a medium-low burner and heat until the wax is fully melted. Pour the melted mixture into tins or jars. Shelf life is around 1 year.

3. Whipped Calendula Coconut Oil

This is a super simple recipe that requires only two ingredients – dried calendula flowers and coconut oil.

To make, infuse calendula flowers in coconut oil, using the quick method (see #1 above.) Once fully infused and strained, pour the melted calendula-infused coconut oil in a bowl and place it in the refrigerator for about 20 to 30 minutes or until it starts firming up. Remove from the refrigerator and beat the chilled oil with a handheld mixer until it’s light & fluffy. This may take up to 5 minutes. Scoop the coconut oil in a jar and store in a cool area that stays under 76°F (24°C), the melting point of coconut oil.

This recipe comes right out of my book, 101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home. (You can check it out HERE, if you don’t have a copy yet!)

4. Calendula Lotion Bars

Lotion bars are the best thing ever for dry, cracked skin. They’re really easy to throw together and make wonderful gifts too!

Lotion bars are usually made with equal parts (by volume) of infused oil, beeswax and a vegetable butter, such as shea, mango or cocoa. If you make a lotion bar and it feels too soft, just remelt it and add more beeswax. If it feels too hard, remelt it and add more oil. Lotion bars are very forgiving to work with!

To make, combine 1/4 cup (52 g) calendula infused oil, 1/4 cup (28 g) beeswax and 1/4 cup (44 g) shea, mango or cocoa butter in a heatproof canning jar or upcycled tin can. (For a vegan version, use roughly half as much candelilla wax instead of beeswax.) Set the jar/can down into a saucepan containing an inch or two of water. Place the pan over a medium-low burner and heat until everything is melted. If you’d like to add a few drops of essential oil for scent, do so at this point. Pour the melted mixture into heatproof silicone candy molds.

To use, rub a lotion bar over your skin wherever it feels dry. They’re especially helpful for spot treating rough feet, knees and elbows. Store your lotion bars in a cool area, out of direct sunlight and they should have a shelf life of around 9 months to a year.

5. Calendula Soap

This is a mild, unscented calendula soap bar that’s very gentle. It’s made with calendula infused oil and calendula tea.

You can find the recipe for calendula soap HERE. (If you’ve never made soap before, visit my Soapmaking 101 post, HERE, first.)

Or, you may also like this Calendula Tallow Soap recipe over at Homestead Honey.

6. Calendula Oatmeal Soak

This bath soak is specially designed for sensitive or itchy skin types. Ground oats soothe irritated skin while calendula flowers calm inflammation. If desired, you can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil for a light relaxing scent.

How to Make: Using an electric coffee grinder, blend the oats and calendula together until finely powdered. Stir together the sea salt and Epsom salt. If using, add the lavender essential oil. Add the powdered oats and calendula and stir until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Store the soak in a tightly closed glass jar for three to four months, keeping in mind that the scent may fade over time.

How to Use: To use, dump the entire cup of bath soak into a bathtub as it fills with comfortably warm water.

This recipe can also be found in my Natural Bath Care Package (learn more about it HERE.)

7. Calendula Tea

Calendula tea can be used for all sorts of things, from a sore throat gargle to a disinfecting wound spray to a hot spot treatment for dogs.

You can read more about 14 ways to use calendula tea, HERE.

8. Calendula Cupcake Sprinkles

Edible flowers, such as calendula, can be used as all-natural colorants to create cupcake and baking sprinkles that are free from fake colors.

You can find the directions to make them in THIS POST. (If you’re sugar free, try the coconut version instead!)

9. Calendula Cream

This lovely calendula cream is thick and rich, almost like a body butter, and can be used like lotion or like a healing salve.

You can find the full recipe and directions to make, over HERE at the Grow Forage Cook Ferment blog.

10. Calendula Cocoa Butter Balm

This Calendula Cocoa Butter Balm is filled with nourishing ingredients. The cocoa butter is deeply moisturizing and the infused oils are softening and healing as well. The beeswax adds some hardening and further protects the skin.

You can find the full recipe and how to make it, over HERE at the Homespun Seasonal Living blog.

If you enjoyed reading about 10 things you can make with calendula, be sure to sign up for my newsletter HERE to get my best herbal projects, soap ideas, and DIY body care recipes sent straight to your inbox, once per month. (No spam ever, unsubscribe at any time.)

Want to learn more about making all natural bath bombs and soaks? You’ll love my Natural Bath Care Package!

Common Calendula Uses: What To Do With Calendula Flowers

Native to the Mediterranean, calendula is a plant that has been used medicinally for centuries. It’s a pretty plant to grow in the garden, but there are also a lot of calendula uses that you could try. Make your garden work for you with these tips for what to do with calendula.

Calendula Benefits

Also known as pot marigold, calendula is a pretty, bright flower that adds cheer to garden beds. But did you know that this is also a medicinal plant? You should always talk to your doctor before trying any kind of herbal or supplement, but if calendula is safe for you, there are some medicinal purposes it may serve:

  • Helping wounds and burns heal faster
  • Treating hemorrhoids
  • Reducing skin inflammation
  • Preventing dermatitis
  • Healing ear infections
  • Healing diaper rash
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Helping to heal various skin ailments, like acne, eczema, and rashes

How to Use Calendula

Using calendula flowers medicinally usually involves preparing topical applications. Most remedies use dried flowers, so harvest your calendula flowers and give them time to dry. Some of the things you can do with those dried flowers to promote skin health include:

  • Adding the flowers to sugar for a simple sugar scrub.
  • Making a balm for diaper rash and other conditions using coconut oil and beeswax.
  • Infusing the dried flowers in water to make a facial toner.
  • Using calendula flowers in homemade soap recipes.
  • Using calendula in aloe vera gel for sunburn relief.
  • Making a salve with olive oil and other herbs to treat mild burns.

You can also use the dried flowers of calendula to make a simple tea that reduces inflammation and promotes healing from infections and sore throat. Just steep about a quarter cup of dried petals in a cup of boiling water and strain to enjoy.

While calendula has many potential benefits, it’s important to never use a new herbal plant or product without first checking with your doctor to be sure it is safe. Calendula is safe for most people, but it should not be used by pregnant women or anyone allergic to plants in the aster or daisy family. There may be some interactions between this herb and specific medications.

I eat pansies for breakfast.

Like, the actual flowers. Not very often, but enough to want a t-shirt that says so.

Edible flowers are more than just a fun conversation starter, though. The soothing properties of calendula (Calendula officinalis), for example, have a long history of use in both folk medicine and culinary traditions.

Gentle enough for babies and yet potent enough to draw the attention of researchers, calendula is often used as first aid for cuts, scrapes and bug bites, to soothe a sunburn, as a rinse for pinkeye, relief for sore throats, and as a salve for diaper rash.

Calendula petals have traditionally been added to butter, cheese and custards to enhance their golden color. Because its flavor is similar to saffron, it is sometimes used as a substitute.

Unlike rare herbs that tend to be expensive and difficult to find, it’s easy to grow or buy for an affordable price.

What is calendula oil?

Herbal constituents (aka beneficial components) can be extracted using many kinds of mediums: water, alcohol, oil and others. Water based extracts – like this Happy Adrenal Tea – are usually consumed internally, although occasionally they are used externally for issues like skin or eye irritation. Some very concentrated teas are mixed with honey to make long-lasting herbal syrups, like this elderberry version.

Tinctures – like this one for restful sleep and this one for adrenal support – use alcohol or glycerin to extract “hard to get” beneficial compounds such as alkaloids. They’re taken internally and used occasionally for wound care or other skin applications.

Oil extractions – like the calendula oil recipe below and this plantain salve – are most often used externally. However, calendula oil also makes a delicious, gut-soothing addition to homemade salad dressing – just use it like you would regular olive oil.

Also known as infused oils, herbs extracted using oil can be made in a number of ways. In the tutorial below I’ll share two methods with you. With both methods the goal is the same – mix herbs and oil so that the oil can draw out the helpful properties of the herbs.

Important note: Infused oils are very different from essential oils, which I do not recommend taking internally unless under the care of a qualified healthcare provider. Infused oils use a carrier oil to extract components of the whole plant, while essential oils only extract the light aromatic compounds found in the plant.)

Don’t have time to make your own?

One of the most common questions I get when I post a recipe is “Hey, do you sell this?” I get it, no one has time to make #allthethings all the time! Although I don’t have a shop to sell the recipes I share here, I can recommend this calendula oil if you’re looking for a pre-made option.

How do I use calendula oil?

Calendula’s soothing properties make it a favorite for supporting wound healing, nourishing skin and promoting gut health. It is often used as:

  1. First aid for cuts, scrapes, burns, sunburns, bug bites and other minor skin irritations.* I make the oil into a calendula salve that can be kept in my purse without leaking.
  2. Face and lip care – Infused calendula oil is the “secret ingredient” behind many beloved face serums and lip balms. Use it in place of regular olive oil in this lip balm recipe.
  3. Diaper rash – I like to apply the oil – or a salve made from it, which I will be showing you how to make soon – and then sprinkle some bentonite clay over the area. Both calendula oil and clay are considered cloth diaper friendly.
  4. Dry or chapped skin – Calendula is thought to support the integrity of skin, thus allowing it to retain moisture normally
  5. Salad dressing – Yep, really! Calendula is considered soothing for the skin and the digestive tract. It has a mild flavor similar to saffron. I use it in a basic salad dressing recipe in place of plain olive oil.

*Calendula infused oil works perfectly well for all of these situations, but if you’d like to make the oil easier to transport – say, in your purse – you can make it into a salve. I’ll be showing you how to do that soon!

Safety Considerations

According to the Botanical Safety Handbook, calendula is a Safety Class 1A herb – the safest rating possible. However, older studies report that the internal use of calendula may stimulate menstruation, so it is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Topical use is considered fine.

Also, individuals who are allergic to ragweed may find that they are also sensitive to calendula.

As always, please check with your healthcare provider before using any herbal remedy.

How To Make Calendula Oil

Ingredients

  • Organic dried calendula flower petals (find them here)
  • Olive oil (Or another oil that you prefer. Almond and avocado are good options, as is jojoba although it is not edible)

Instructions (Slow Method)

This is the traditionally preferred method because it is thought to preserve the delicate constituents found in calendula best. However, sometimes it’s just not practical to wait 4-6 weeks for a batch. For those times, I’ve included a faster method below.

  1. Place calendula petals in a clean, dry glass jar. Next, pour in the olive oil – add enough so that the petals are covered by about one inch of oil. My petals usually float when I first add the oil, so I watch the bottom of the jar to make sure I’ve added enough. The reason this is done is that the petals expand as they soak in the liquid, so you add extra to ensure that they stay covered.
  2. Cover the jar with a tight fitting lid and give it a good shake. Place the jar in a paper bag and store near a warm, sunny window. (Some people skip the paper bag, but others believe it helps protect some of the valuable constituents found in calendula from breaking down due to UV light.) Give the jar a good shake when you walk by it every day.
  3. Once the oil has been infusing for 4-6 weeks, strain out the herbs and pour the oil in a clean, glass jar. Store in a cool, dark cabinet until needed.

Instructions (Quick Method)

  1. Place calendula petals in a clean, dry glass jar. Next, pour in the olive oil – add enough so that the petals are covered by about one inch of oil. My petals usually float when I first add the oil, so I watch the bottom of the jar to make sure I’ve added enough. The reason this is done is that the petals expand as they soak in the liquid, so you add extra to ensure that they stay covered.
  2. Cover the jar with a tight fitting lid and give it a good shake.
  3. Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of your crockpot and place your jar inside. Add enough water to cover about half the jar and set to the lowest setting for 2-6 hours. I set mine to warm.
  4. Strain out the oil using cheesecloth and pour the oil in a clean, glass jar. Store in a cool, dark cabinet until needed.

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10 Recipes to Make with Calendula

Calendula is one of my favourite herbs to work with. The beautiful, bright, sunny yellow flowers have long, elegant petals that curl and wisp in all sorts of pretty ways. If you’ve spent much time on my blog, you’ve definitely seen them sprinkled around wee jars and bottles of assorted concoctions as part of my attempts at photo styling. Calendula is one of the first herbs I worked with; I bought some at the bulk section of my local health food store after trying a salve infused with it and thinking it would be a fun new toy. It’s been a consistent part of my DIY cupboard ever since, and here’s ten awesome things I love to make with it.

So, why do we put calendula in our concoctions? It’s anti-inflammatory and helps speed healing. It’s rich in antioxidants and can help reduce swelling. It has a lovely, subtle grassy/floral scent, and it’s inexpensive. You can even grow it yourself! It’s easy to use by or water, blitzing them into powders in your coffee grinder, or mixing into soap. Calendula is special in that it stays pretty and yellow throughout saponification (unlike lavender buds, which sort of transform into little brown lumps that look like mouse poop), so you’ll often see it decorating all kinds of different soaps, both sprinkled on top and mixed into the batter.

If you don’t have any calendula, unlike many DIY ingredients you can typically pick some up at your local health food shop in the bulk bins for a reasonable price. I recommend getting a jar of infused oil steeping straight away so you have it on hand whenever you need it, and keeping the rest of your blossoms for decorating soap, infusing into water and specialty oil blends, or just using to pretty up your pictures. Ok, let’s dive into our DIYs!

Angela’s Calendula Eye Balm

This balm is designed to be an eye balm—super lightweight and soothing—but it is fundamentally a salve/body butter sort of thing, and you can use it anywhere you please. I used a lightweight blend of mango butter and macadamia nut oils to create a oil-based balm that won’t leave you feeling heavy and oily.

Calendula & Shea Nose Salve

This was one of my first DIYs, and I still love it. It’s simple, but wonderfully effective; if you’ve been blowing your nose a lot, this stuff will make your face stop feeling like you’ve been exfoliating with sandpaper.

Grapefruit & Calendula Soap

Calendula is special in that it does not turn brown, black, or some other unappealing colour when it goes through saponification. It stays its pretty, cheery yellow colour, which is why it’s a pretty popular soap additive. In these pretty bars it plays with pink and white swirls and looks rather fetching, if I do say so myself.

Morning Frost Face Mask

I love blitzing dried herbs into powdery face mask bases; it helps dilute the clay, making the mask less drying, which is great if you have dry or sensitive skin. The fact that calendula is one of those herbs means this face mask is extra awesome for battling inflammation and boosting healing. Score.

Luxury Facial Serum

This lovely facial serum was inspired by a very expensive shop-bought one. A blend of skin-loving oils are infused with calendula to boost healing and reduce inflammation, making for a pretty darn great facial serum.

Herb Infused Belly Bar

If you know somebody who’s expecting, this simple body butter bar would make a lovely gift. Even if you don’t know somebody is such a state, this is a pretty great body bar. Since it doesn’t have any essential oils in it as it all kinds of soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, it would be great for babies, too. Or just, you know… skin 😉

Scar Salve

I whipped this up when a close friend had an impending surgery, and I’ve gifted tubes of it to quite a few people since for everything from surgical scars to accidental car-trunk-nose encounters. My friend Robb wrote a great testimonial for it, and it’s definitely worth a read 😊

Healing Herbal Hemp & Shea Lotion

If you suffer from dry, irritated skin, this stuff is great. Rich, creamy, it’s crammed with all kinds of skin-soothing, healing goodies like allantoin and honey. Unrefined hemp seed oil gives it a slight green tint, and an herb infusion that includes calendula helps battle inflammation.

Palm Balm for Rock Climbers & Boo-boos

I assembled the ingredient list for from all my best healing ingredients, so I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to smell amazing, too. It’s a bit grassy and herbal, and downright addictive. It’s great for all kinds of scrapes and boo-boos, so definitely don’t feel like you need to like rock climbing to make a batch!

Even Better Zit Drying Lotion

I love this stuff, and a couple weeks ago I introduced my friend Kate to it. She tried a bit of mine, and then the next time I saw her she asked for a jar of her own. She said the zit she’d put it on seemed to have decided not to bother, and that’s pretty awesome. The calendula helps with inflammation and healing—two great things in the battle against zits.

Ok, those are my favourite things to make with calendula! What are yours?

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