When to harvest calendula?

Calendula: Beautiful Flowers That Heal

If you have a garden, I hope you grow the beautiful annual flower calendula.

Calendula officinalis produces beautiful orange or yellow flowers from seed in midsummer until frost, attracting honeybees, bumblebees, and other pollen and nectar-seeking insects, as well as hummingbirds.

Calendula self-sows readily in the garden if you allow a few flower heads to fall to the ground (or you can harvest and dry the mature flowers, save the seeds, and plant them where you want them next spring). Its flowers are edible, and its long use as a cooking herb gives the flower its common name pot marigold. Adding calendula flowers to cooked foods (grains, casseroles, breads, even desserts) gives them a lovely yellow color.

The flowers also have a long history of use for healing, especially for wounds, inflammations of the skin, mouth, and mucous membranes, and sunburns. You’ll find extracts of calendula in many cosmetics, hair-care, and baby-care products, too.

When you harvest the blooms or handle the plants, a sticky, resinous substance with a distinctive, fruity fragrance clings to your fingers. Herbalists say these plant resins are partly responsible for the plant’s healing power.

How to Make Calendula Tea/Wash, Oil, or Salve

Most calendula medicinals begin with a supply of fresh or dried flowers. If you’re not growing your own, buy dried flowers intended for human use.

  • To make a tea that soothes internal mucous membranes, add calendula flowers to water in a ratio of a tablespoon of fresh or two teaspoons of dried flowers to a cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer or allow to steep for 10 minutes. You can either drink the tea or use it as a soothing wash for sunburns, rashes, or sores. Refrigerate for up to a week any tea you don’t use right away.
  • To make calendula oil/lotion, fill a sterilized glass jar (of any size) with dried calendula flowers and cover the flowers with a high quality oil: olive, almond, or grapeseed work well. Cover the jar and let it sit in a cool, dark place for four to six weeks, shaking or stirring occasionally. Strain the plant material from the oil using two or three layers of cheesecloth, and refrigerate the oil until ready for use. You can rub the oily cheesecloth bag holding the spent flowers onto face or hands as a moisturizer. To help prevent the oil from going rancid, add two or three drops of benzoin essential oil or half a teaspoon of tincture of benzoin per half cup of oil, along with a few drops of rosemary or lavender oil.
  • To make a healing salve, add three or four teaspoons of melted beeswax per half cup of warmed oil in a double boiler, and stir well until the mixture begins to cool. Pour it into a suitable glass or metal container and seal. If the salve is too hard, reheat it and add a bit more oil; if it’s too runny, add a bit more beeswax.

19 Uses For Calendula Tea

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Calendula, Calendula officinalis, is of the marigold family and is readily known as Pot Marigold. This beautiful flowering plant is known for its varied medicinal properties and has been referred to as a magical healing remedy throughout the ages.

CALENDULA IN THE GARDEN

There may be no easier flower to grow in your garden. Here in the Northeast, USA, right on the line of zone 5a and zone 5b, this flower will self-seed and provide prolific blooms year after year if allowed. Preferring full sun but tolerating partial sun, this flower is low-maintenance and easy to grow.

Many prefer to start indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost, but as this plant is fast-growing (45-60 days from seed to flower), direct seeding may be a viable option. Once introduced into your garden, this plant will provide yearly blooms as it readily self-sows if allowed.

The benefits of calendula, Calendula officinalis, not to be confused with ornamental Marigolds of the Tagets genus, not only reaches our medicine cabinets but our gardens as well. This amazing plant makes a wonderful companion plant in the garden area. PESTS BEWARE! Planted near chard, carrots, & tomatoes, calendula is known to deter pests.

Planted throughout the garden area, it will not only deter pests but can also help to reduce the number of weeds and provide protection against heat & wind on those valuable vegetable & perennial plants. WIN-WIN for increasing crop yields!

CALENDULA BENEFITS & WARNINGS

As with most powerful remedies from Mother Nature, the benefits do not come without some risk. Beginning any herbal or floral treatment should be fully researched prior to commencing. Here is what has been found to assist you in that endeavor.

BENEFITS OF CALENDULA

Calendula is known to possess powerful antioxidant, antiviral, astringent and anti-spasmodic properties, & has a multitude of uses. A few of the favorites are:

  • The flowering petals can be used fresh, adding to salads and dishes, having a similar taste to that of saffron.
  • They can be dried and used in teas, wonderful for menstrual issues.
  • The dried petals can be tinctured, easing gastrointestinal issues as well as promoting oral health in homemade toothpaste and mouthwashes.
  • Infused into oil, it can be used for skin issues ranging from diaper rash, eczema/psoriasis, acne, and dry/chapping skin.

The last being a favorite here on the hill. Making this oil and using it to create many of our products including our baby products, Diaper Cream & Baby Oil, ensures that the products created here are made with the finest, organic ingredients that are fully in our control.

Baby Shower Gift Basket

To find a full listing of the organic hand-crafted products made with love and available here click the button below.

Interested in making your own oil either with flowers you’ve grown or purchased, a favorite source can be found here, be sure to read “How To Make & Use Calendula Oil” for step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow.

WARNINGS FOR CALENDULA

Although calendula is a gentle therapy that many will likely have no issue when taken internally or applied to the skin, there are a few precautions and warnings.

  1. PREGNANCY & BREASTFEEDING – Do NOT take calendula while pregnant, either orally or topically. There is a concern for miscarriage as Calendula can stimulate menstruation. Although there is not enough evidence to date to suggest harm for usage while breastfeeding, err on the side of precaution and stay away from use until reliable information is known.
  2. ALLERGIC REACTIONS – Calendula may cause a reaction in those allergic to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. This includes marigolds, ragweed, chrysanthemums, daisies & more. If you have allergies, consult with your practitioner prior to taking Calendula.
  3. SURGERY – Discontinue use of Calendula products two weeks prior to surgery as Calendula may interfere with medications and cause extreme drowsiness.

HOW TO MAKE CALENDULA TEA

To make Calendula tea, there are three methods depending on the intent for usage.

  1. TEA – Simply place 1-2 TBL of Calendula flowers into a mug, fill with boiling water and let steep.
  2. INFUSION – Fill a mason jar 1/2 to 3/4 way full of flowers, cover with boiling water. Cover and let set 8-10 hours.
  3. SUN TEA – The preferred method here on the hill. Harnessing the power of the suns rays will infuse the tea with its energy. There has never been an issue with safety using this method here. Should it be a concern for you, choose the infusion or tea method instead.

CALENDULA TEA – SUN TEA METHOD

Fill a mason jar 1/2 to 3/4 way full of Calendula flowers, fill with water and cover.

Place jar outdoors (preferably) or on the sunniest of window sills. Allow the tea to brew for 3-5 hours in the direct hot sun. Shown in the background is my calendula oil brewing as well. Find out how to make your own oil infusion in my article, “How To Make & Use Calendula Oil”.

Once brewed to desired consistency, bring in and either place in the refrigerator for future use or strain.

Strain into cup of your choice to enjoy.

19 USES FOR CALENDULA TEA

It’s fair to say that the uses for Calendula are many, but what is the tea good for and how do you use it? Here are 19 benefits and suggestions.

  1. FACE WASH/TONER – the anti-septic properties in Calendula make this a healing tea for acne & breakouts
  2. SORE THROAT – gargle with tea to ease inflammatory throat soreness
  3. MOUTH RINSE – rinse & gargle to ease & heal canker sores, ulcers, thrush, & just as a preventative mouth-wash
  4. HEALING SPRAY – used as an antiseptic spray to assist healing wounds, sores, & general skin issues such as eczema
  5. HAIR RINSE – rinse hair & scalp to ease itchy scalp
  6. DIGESTIVE AID – drink tea to help remedy gastric ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), & inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  7. MENSTRUAL REGULATOR – helps prevent menstrual cramps & induce menstruation
  8. FEVER REDUCTION – help to assist in fever reduction by inducing sweat
  9. SKIN IRRITATION – it’s anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties assist in treating and easing skin irritations such as diaper rash.
  10. EYEWASH – treats pink eye and dry itchy eyes
  11. FOOT SOAK – assist in healing fungal issues such as athletes foot
  12. SITZ BATH – to soothe hemorrhoids, yeast infections, & other inflammatory issues
  13. TEA COMPRESS – assists in preventing infections & promote healing to wounds, injuries, & burns
  14. HOMEMADE BABY WIPES – help to alleviate & prevent diaper rash
  15. ANIMALS – efficacious for dogs and cats (hot spots/itchy spots), as well as farm animals to treat flea bites, scratches, & small wounds
  16. PREVENTATIVES – assist in supporting the immune system; can be added to elderberry syrup for an added boost to the immune system
  17. SKIN TREATMENT – add tea to your favorite sugar scrub to promote healthy, youthful-looking skin
  18. SUNBURN RELIEF – add with marshmallow root, aloe vera gel, and essential oil of lavender to create a wonderful sunburn relief spray
  19. INTERNAL INFECTIONS – helps to improve bladder infections, upset stomach, cleanses the digestive tract, & relieves digestive disorders

These are just a few of the ways that Calendula can support & heal. Have you used this flower for it’s healing properties? What are some ways you utilize it? Join the conversation below or on any or our listed social media channels.

Love, Light, & Laughter ~

Disclaimer: Recommendations and or suggestions made by this blog regarding husbandry and or herbal remedies etc. are not meant to replace solid advice from qualified professionals. None of the information on this blog has been evaluated by the FDA. Products or remedies mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. Please do your due diligence. Research, talk to qualified professionals and proceed at your own risk.

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Calendula Benefits & How to Use This All-Purpose Plant

Calendula has long been known for its diverse gardening, culinary, and medical benefits. A plant that can do it all, the brightly colored calendula flower petals make them an eye-catching addition to a garden and their healing properties make them a go-to in the first-aid cabinet.

What is Calendula?

Calendula officinalis for long—also known as the “Pot Marigold”— is a plant within the family Asteraceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe, although it can now be found around the world. Calendula plants stand out with bright petals, usually yellow or orange, growing 1-2 feet tall. Its narrow petals are described as a sunray shape. In addition to being a culinary tool, Calendula is best known for its medicinal uses.

The flower is widely used as a medicinal plant whose antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties make it a strong ingredient for healing. In addition to using whole petals, Calendula flowers can be ground into powder or made into oils, creams, and ointments. The FDA has approved calendula for use as a spice and as an ingredient in cosmetics, soaps and shampoos, body creams, and wound treatment, both internally and topically.

Considering the exciting potential of Calendula, it is also important to know what it is not. It is not the same as a French Marigold, which is part of the Tagetes genus. Unlike Calendula, these marigolds are not edible and do not share in the versatile usage. However, they are also quite beautiful and have similar vibrant colors. One way to distinguish the two is to look at the petals. The petals of French Marigolds are a bit more layered than the Calendula, creating a more fluffy bloom than the Pot Marigold. Before ingesting or applying a marigold mixture, make sure you’re working with the health-inducing Calendula, not its ornamental cousin, the French Marigold.

5 Health Benefits of Calendula

Calendula really is a Jill of all trades. With the capacity to address a host of health issues, this plant has the potential to make its way around your entire home: from the garden, to the kitchen, to the medicine cabinet.

1. Heals Wounds
Calendula is primarily known as a healing plant because of its soothing abilities. Although a gentle herb, the healing effects derived from Calendula petals are very powerful, making it a must-have in the medicine cabinet. It is beneficial for any wound healing you may need including insect bites, bruises, blisters, cuts, and cold sores. Topical application of Calendula is used to keep wounds clean and help new tissue to grow. It is often used to help poorly healing wounds, those that are exhibiting signs of tenderness, redness, or inflammation, to correct course.
The healing herb is also effective in treating minor burns, including sunburn. It assists in sun protection and may consequently be included in sunscreen formulas for preventative care. Calendula cream, ointment, or healing balm may be applied to wounds to reduce swelling and their antimicrobial components, specifically their antifungal agents, can prevent secondary infection, leading to a quicker healing process.

2. Assists with Digestive and Immune System
Just like topical Calendula can remedy external wounds and burns, it also soothes internal wounds and burns like ulcers, heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome. It has a protective effect for the stomach that improves digestion by repairing the gut wall while relieving discomfort in the meantime.
The vulnerary capacity of Calendula can be called on to kick the leftover infection caused by a passing flu or cold. Calendula has been shown to strengthen the immune system’s ability to fight off infection. This is likely due to the fact that Calendula is antimicrobial, which means it slows or kills infection to prevent it from spreading. Its antibacterial properties give it the power to fight that lingering cough or congestion you can’t seem to get rid of.
Some research has established a link between gut health and mental health, including the experience of depression. With Calendula’s ability to repair and improve gut function, this connection would compound the impact of Calendula to positively affect brain activity as well.

3. Hydrates and Nourishes Dry Skin

Calendula has can be used to relieve many types of skin conditions that may cause dry, itchy, or irritated areas. It soothes skin experiences symptoms of eczema, dermatitis, and dandruff. By promoting the production of collagen, an essential protein for glowing skin, Calendula aids in sustaining soothed, hydrated skin. Although strong in effect, the gentleness of the herb often makes Calendula a skin care benefit that can be enjoyed even by many of those with skin sensitivities.

And who has more sensitive or delicate skin than babies? Parents tend to be careful when applying products to their babies’ rashes or irritations. But, Calendula is so safe and effective, it appears in many products for babies. As a natural remedy option, it is often preferred for prevention and treatment of rashes and irritations that babies experience like diaper rash and cradle cap.

4. Slows Development of Wrinkles
Calendula has also been found to assist in slowing the development of wrinkles. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in Calendula have been found to significantly protect against oxidative stress in human skin cells. Oxidative stress is an imbalance of damaging atoms and antioxidants. Oxidative stress plays a large role in the aging process as well as the development of several illnesses. Calendula allows it to keep skin hydrated and healthy making it a great component for daily lotions or lip balm.

5. Reducing Scarring
One of the prominent Calendula benefits is its ability to reduce scarring when used to treat wounds. The Calendula properties that benefit wound healing apply to the scarring process as well. Calendula increases blood flow to the injury, promotes a speedy and healthy healing process, free of infection, and encourages growth of healthy new tissue. In the cases of skin ulcers like chicken pox and acne, the herb softens and soothes the skin, preventing inflammation, boosting the immune response, which allows wounds to heal quickly and cleanly.

How to Grow Calendula

If you are interested in bringing Calendula into your life, you can always buy dried flowers and receive all the benefits the plant has to offer minus the lively colors of live flowers. But, if you are interested in gardening, Calendula is a great addition for even the most novice gardener.

Calendula is an easy-care, low maintenance plant. It isn’t picky about its soil type and requires limited watering with, of course, consideration of the season. It is drought resistant and frost tolerant. Calendula plants do not require any special care. It can grow in the sun or in the shade, in an outside planter, or in a pot indoors. So many options!

Once Calendula begins to bloom, harvest the flowers every 2-4 days to keep the flowers full and abundant. As you pick the flowers, more will blossom. In mild climates, Calendula may be a perennial (a plant that lives more than two years). Although Calendulas can weather light frost, where there are more severe winters, Calendula is typically considered an annual (a plant that has a one-year life span). Where it is an annual, however, it is capable of self-seeding for the following year.

Ways to Use Calendula

1. Tea
One prevalent way of getting many of the benefits Calendula has to offer to prepare it as a tea. This requires powdered or dried Calendula that is then steeped in boiling water for 10-20 minutes. This tea can be used to drink or as a mouth rinse to treat a sore throat or wounds within the mouth. If steeped to be especially strong, Calendula tea can also be used as a healing warm compress for eye infections.

2. Calendula Oil
Calendula oil is a common method of topical medicinal use. It is made by infusing Calendula flowers in a warmed oil for several weeks, stirring it daily. Some oils to consider are carrier oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic compounds in the oil are fantastic for wound healing and the various skin conditions already mentioned. In addition, the resulting oil can be used in formulas for smooth application of products like sunscreens to get the natural protective and remedy benefits of the plant.
3. Cream/Ointment

Once you have an infused oil, you may be interested in cooking up a cream or Calendula ointment for easy topical application. This can be created by combining the oil with additional ingredients like beeswax, additional essential oils.
4. Calendula extract

Extract from the Calendula flower can also be used as a soothing ingredient within formulas for many products used habitually like deodorant and body lotion. These products help bring the healing properties of Calendula into your daily regimen.

Risks or Potential Side Effects of Calendula

Some people with sensitivities or allergies to pollen, like ragweed or marigolds, experience allergic reactions to calendula as a side effect of their underlying allergy. That is something to look out for before you start exploring the exceptional benefits Calendula has to offer!

I’m right in the middle of a Calendula trial right now, so Calendula is definitely at the forefront of my mind. I’m testing over 30 different varieties for vigor, floriferousness (not a word), and medicinal quality for a project that I’m working on, so I’m definitely knee deep in working with this pretty little plant. It’s truly one of the most used in my apothecary!

GROWING CALENDULA

Calendula is grown as a hardy annual in most growing zones and as a perennial in a couple of the warmest zones. Back in southern California, I could definitely grow it as a perennial, but even here in the PNW, it kept right on blooming through the frosts and the snow we had over the winter. I’ve heard reports of it not overwintering well in areas that get a lot more snow (and much colder temps) than we do, but the plants that I left in the ground last fall kept right on flowering and are still going while my new seed-grown batch is just starting to produce more heavily!

Calendula loves to be grown in full sun and will produce the highest yields when planted in the brightest areas of your garden. Well-drained soil is a plus and it seems to thrive when I add lots of compost to the soil before planting and a layer of mulch just after transplanting.

Plant your seeds in seed boxes or propagation trays, covering them with about ¼” of soil and water in well. You can direct sow the seeds, but planting them up in trays first will give you a head start on the growing season so you can start harvesting blooms sooner. It also gives you an opportunity to provide an early food source for the pollinators, which love this plant. Mine are consistently visited by at least 7 different kinds of bees, among other things.

Once your plants have well developed root systems and are ready to be planted out, you can space them about a foot apart throughout the garden. I’ve found that dedicated Calendula beds are strikingly beautiful, but I also plant them throughout my vegetable beds in between plants to draw pollinators to the food plants. If it will overwinter in your area, consider giving the plants even more room in their beds because they’ll grow to be quite a bit larger than plants grown as annuals and will need more space. 16-18″ would be good.

HARVESTING CALENDULA

Once flowers start opening, you’ll want to harvest at least every 2 to 3 days, but I’ve found myself harvesting daily during its peak blooming time. Pick the flowers the day they are fully open and leave a few for the bees, but make sure that you deadhead the flowers you leave behind before they go to seed to keep your plants happily producing throughout the season.

I like to pull or snip the flower heads right off into my gathering tray and then come back through and trim the stems down on the plant later. Your hands will get sticky from the resins in the involucre of the flower heads (the green bracts on the bottom of the flower head). Most of the time, the sticky residue will wash right off with soap and water once you’re finished harvesting, but you can also use a little bit of olive oil (or any fatty oil) if necessary for stubborn bits.

DRYING CALENDULA

Calendula flowers are best dried in a single layer on screens in a warm area away from direct sun with excellent air flow. The blooms are thick (the flower centers, especially), so it’s important to make sure that all of the moisture is gone out of the blossoms before storing them. Make sure you check the flowers after about a week of drying time and if there is any moisture left in the center of the blooms, let them dry longer. Some folks like to use fans in their drying room when they process their Calendula to help speed the process along, but for home-sized batches, I haven’t needed them. If you’re in a humid area, though, fans might be a good idea.

Where I live, Calendula may even take 2-3 weeks to dry completely in the center, so be patient. It’s better to wait to get them in your jars than to spoil a whole batch because of leftover moisture in some of the blooms.

USING CALENDULA

Once your blossoms are completely dried, they can be used in:

  • herbal butters
  • herbal vinegars and salad dressings
  • tinctures
  • glycerites
  • syrups
  • compresses and poultices
  • herbal oils
  • salves, balms and ointments
  • lotions and creams
  • kitchen recipes (both sweet and savory)
  • herbal tea blends
  • bath tea blends
  • skin care recipes
  • and more!

Calendula is especially suited to applications for the skin (it’s full of skin-healing and skin-protective compounds), mucous membranes, and the digestive tract, so keep that in mind when formulating with it. You can read more about making herbal oils with Calendula flower heads here and I also have a post about some of my favorite ways to use Calendula here.

Once you start growing Calendula, you’ll probably find yourself planting increasingly more of it each year. It’s such an irresistible and usable plant!

How about you? Do you grow Calendula?

Much love,
Erin

Calendula flowers are one of the easiest herbs to grow and also one of the most useful. Learn to dry calendula preserve it by making infused calendula oil.

Last night I watched the videos for module 2 of the Cuaranderismo course at the University of New Mexico. Guest lecturer, Bernadette Torres spoke about using calendula infused oil as a breast massage oil to encourage lymph drainage, and reduce pain, swelling, and lumps in both women and men. This introduced me to a new use for calendula infused oil, taken from Mexican traditional medicine and folk traditions.

Calendula Flower

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is a member of the Compositae family. Many plants in this family have health benefits, like chamomile, dandelion, arnica, goldenrod, and sunflowers. Lettuce and endive are also from this botanical family. The key feature of this family are flowers with ray petals. Each petal is actually an individual floret and each flower is made up of several rows of florets around a center disk.

Calendula is easy to grow

Calendula is a hardy cool weather annual. Plant the seeds in the ground about 2 weeks before your last frost date, they will begin peaking out as soon as the ground warms. Starts will begin to bloom about 8 weeks later and continue to give you flowers to harvest for a few weeks after frost. If you live in a warm-weather location, the plants will not produce during the hottest part of the summer but will pick up with the blooms in the fall.

Once you are nearing the end of the season, leave a few of the earliest flower on several plants, to mature and give you seed so that you can have a perpetual stock of calendula seeds for future years.

Just 2 tablespoons of seed will give you several years of calendula flowers for your home garden.

Harvesting Calendula flowers

It’s the flowers that make calendula so special and the part that you want to preserve. Pick them in the morning, as soon as the dew has dried from the petals. It is best to pick the flowers as they open, but you can harvest any time during flowering. Just be sure to pick before the seeds begin to set. Once the blooming starts, I usually go out twice a week and remove all the flowers that are open or semi-open, leaving those blossoms that have visible seed forming.

Don’t leave too many blossoms to set seed or the plant will stop producing new flowers.

Saving Calendula Seed

Calendula seeds need several weeks to mature on the plant and dry down before harvesting, so save the earlier flowers on the plants for seed, if you have a shorter season. I am in zone 3 and I can get a reliable, viable seed harvest from calendula in all but the harshest summers. The calendula seed will continue to mature on the plant after frost until you get a killing frost.

You’ll notice that when you pick the flowers there is a sticky, oily feel to the plants, with a strong, distinctive scent. The plant contains volatile oils that contribute to it’s healing benefits.

Preserving the Goodness of Calendula Flowers

There are several ways to preserve the goodness of calendula blossoms. Drying the blossoms is the easiest way, but dried flowers will preserve the goodness of calendula for only a year. By preserving it in other ways, you can extend this shelf life from a year to up to 5 years.

How to Dry Calendula Flowers

Calendula flowers are high in moisture and oil content. I find that in order to dry them at room temperature, in the high humidity of my usual summer weather, I need to put them in an airy container, like a wicker basket, and put them somewhere with strong airflow. This is hard to achieve in my climate, which is in the mountains and fairly cool, so I resort to drying my calendula in a dehydrator on low heat.

If you live in a desert climate you will be able to dry calendula without resorting to an electric dehydrator. When drying herbs in a dehydrator, keep the temperature at 95F or lower so that the herbs aren’t subject to strong heat. This will preserve the volatile oils.

Drying overnight is usually long enough for the delicate blossoms to release their moisture. The petals will darken, but that is nothing to be concerned about. The center of the flower should be completely dry with no perceivable moisture. Store the fully dried flowers in glass jars, with a tight-fitting lid or in paper bags. Keep them out of direct sunlight.

Dried flowers can be used as in herbal teas, oil infusions, tinctures, and honey-vinegar infusions. Expect the dried flowers to last until the next harvest season.

Make an Herbal Tea with Calendula Flowers

Another name for herbal tea is tisane, which is an herbal tea made without tea leaves. Both dried and fresh calendula blossoms can be used to make a tisane. Usually, herbal teas are made with water that is just simmering, in order to preserve the volatile oils in the flowers, so use water that is slightly cooler than tea made from camelia tea leaves.

To make an herbal tea with calendula, add 1 tsp of the dried herb to a tea ball, and use 180*F water. Once the tisane is brewed, keep it refrigerated and use 1/2 cup to 1 cup 3 or 4 times a day.

Always cover the pot where the tisane is brewing to prevent the goodness from evaporating into the air. For the best benefits, cover and allow the herbs to steep for 15 to 20 minutes.

The petals of calendula are used for treating sore throat and mouth ulcers, ease menstrual cramps, reduce fever and stomach upset and calm the pain of ulcers .

Make Calendula Tincture

Tinctures are made by pouring alcohol over the fresh or dried blossoms and allowing the mixture to macerate for 6 to 8 weeks. I use vodka (40% alcohol) because this is the highest percentage that I can buy in Canada. Those of you in the US can get stronger alcohol. While using stronger alcohol can allow you to mix specific ratios of tincture according to materia medica standards, for home use this is not necessary. Use the alcohol that you can obtain legally in your area.

You can use fresh flowers in this tincture but it will be somewhat diluted compared to tinctures made with the dried flowers.

Supplies Needed:

  • 2 cups Vodka
  • 1 cup dried calendula petals
  • a one-quart canning jar

Directions:

  1. add the dried blossoms to the canning jar
  2. cover the calendula flowers with vodka
  3. cap tightly and shake the jar several times a week
  4. allow the mixture to infuse for 6 to 8 weeks in a cool, dark cupboard
  5. strain out the flowers and compost them
  6. transfer the tincture to a clean container and label it with the name and date

Use Calendula Tincture:

Use as a wound wash or take internally, (1 tsp. 3 times a day). Calendula tincture helps with menstrual cramps, ulcers, stomach upset, fevers, and supports the liver.

Make a Calendula Oil Infusion

Oil infusions are made by pouring olive oil or sweet almond oil over fresh or dried calendula blossoms. If you plant to use fresh blossoms, allow the blossoms to wilt overnight before infusing, to minimize the risk of mold in the jar. Add 1/4 tsp. of vitamin E oil to preserve the infused oil from rancidity.

Directions for calendula infused oil:

  1. Add 2 cups of dried calendula flowers to a one-quart canning jar.
  2. Add enough olive oil or sweet almond oil to completely cover the calendula flowers.
  3. Allow the oil to infuse on a sunny window sill for 4 to 6 weeks.
  4. Strain, discard the flowers and reserve the oil.
  5. Add an additional 1/4 tsp. of vitamin E oil per quart of liquid.

Store calendula oil in a colored glass bottle. Be sure to label and date the jar. Calendula infused oil can be used as a massage oil, to encourage lymph drainage, reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation, and to promote healing of tissue, cuts, and wounds. It makes a wonderful after garden moisturizer or wintertime skin boost because it soothes and heals dry, cracked skin. The infused oil will last up to 3 years if protected from light, heat, and moisture.

Eat Your Calendula Petals

While you are busy trying to preserve the bounty for winter, don’t think of calendula as only a medicine. Calendula flower petals are a fun addition to rice dishes, adding some of their cheering yellow color to the dish. Add the fresh (or dried) petals to tossed salads, or even drop a few tablespoons of the fresh petals into a jar of fermented lemons or other citrus fruits. Flowers are good food and good medicine. Seeing the petals in food increases the fun factor, too.

Pregnancy caution: Calendula should not be used internally during pregnancy as it stimulates menstruation. Using it externally as a salve or massage oil is fine and will relieve lymph congestion, decrease stretch marks, and ease breast soreness.

For more on growing calendula check out Homespun Seasonal Living. Other preservation methods for calendula include making a salve, calendula first aid ointment, and healing calendula cream.

To learn more about improving your health with herbs, join me in the Beginner Herbal Course or the Intermediate Herbal Course from the Herbal Academy of New England.

How To Make Calendula Tea – Growing And Harvesting Calendula For Tea

A calendula flower is so much more than just a pretty face. Yes, the bright yellow and orange pom-pom type flowers are bright and lovely, but once you learn about calendula tea benefits, you’ll have even more reasons too love this plant. If you are considering growing calendula for tea, read on. We’ll give you information about calendula tea benefits and also tips on how to make calendula tea.

Growing Calendula for Tea

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) are loved by gardeners for their vibrant orange and yellow flowers that brighten the back yard from the middle of summer until winter’s first breath. The blossoms send out a siren’s call to bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

But many people are also growing calendula for tea. Tea made from calendula plants has properties just as exciting as the ornamental value of the plant. Calendula blossoms have long been renowned

for their healing properties, and have been found useful for wounds, inflammations of the skin and mouth and sunburns. And the benefits of tea made from calendula are also remarkable.

Tea made from calendula is said to soothe the swelling of internal mucous membranes. Sipping calendula tea may help heal gastric ulcers, congested lymph nodes and sore throat. Some say that it can break a fever by causing a sweat.

How to Make Calendula Tea

The first step toward getting calendula tea benefits is harvesting the plants. Harvesting calendula for tea is like harvesting any other food crop. You need to take the plants at the right time and dry them the right way.

Harvesting calendula for tea starts when the first flowers are in full bloom. Don’t wait until they fade. As you pick some, more will grow. As much as possible, act in the morning while the plants are perky.

Cut or pinch off blossoms and stems, and leaves too, if you are short of flowers. All foliage seems to have the same healing properties. But flower blossoms are the prettiest.

The next step in how to make calendula tea is to dry the harvested plant parts thoroughly. Spread them out on a dishtowel or newspaper in a dry indoor place that doesn’t get direct sun. Turn them from time to time. When the flowers are dry to the point of being crispy, remove the petals and store them away for tea.

Add two teaspoons of dried petals too one cup of water. Bring it to a boil, then let the tea steep for 10 minutes.

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