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Homegrown Calendula Salve

October 15, 2008

Calendula is helpful for many skin conditions; it can be applied topically or internally. Romans named it calendula because it bloomed on the first day of the month (calends), it seemed to them. Roman used it to treat scorpion bites. Old herbalists believed that frequent use would prevent gangrene or tetanus. It is an excellent antiseptic because it contains natural iodine. As a tea it can be used for gargling or a nasal wash to soothe tender mucus membranes. It can heal membranes inside the body, such as colon, stomach, liver and gums. Applied as a poultice, it promotes healing of cuts and wounds. However, its most common application is as an ointment, salve or oil for injuries, burns, bruises and varicose veins.

I’ve been growing calendula since last year. I’ve decided to actually do something with it this year. I think the hardest part is getting around to planting and growing something. Then, when it is growing, you can harvest and dry and then figure out what to do with it later.

I’ve been harvesting blooms as they appear and drying them in my dehydrator along with batches of tomatoes, zucchinis and apples.

When I had about 3/4 of a cup of dried flowers, I put them in about 1/2 cup of sweet almond oil. I heated this on the stove and then let them steep for almost a week. I would pop it back on the stove every couple of days to reheat the oil to extract more good stuff. This is optional. You could pour the oil and dried blossoms in a jar and let it steep like that for several weeks. Or just heat it gently on the stove for several hours.

When I thought it was appropriately steeped, I filtered the oil through a colander lined with cotton. You could use muslin, flannel or cheese cloth.

The oil is a beautiful golden orange-y color.

After it is strained, I gently heated the oil again and grated about a tablespoon of beeswax into it.

I dropped a drop onto a plate and stuck it into the refrigerator to see if it would harden to a desirable consistency. It is much like testing jam.

When it was just right, I poured it into an empty mint tin.

For a small amount of time and cost, I made a homegrown calendula salve. I’m going to continue to harvest blossoms and make another batch or hopefully two. Maddy also harvested about 1/2 cup of seeds, so if anyone would like to grow some, we have plenty of seeds to share!

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. april. permalink
    October 15, 2008 7:10 pm

    i want to grow some! i’m mad at myself for dropping the ball so blatantly with regard to my yard/garden.

  2. april. permalink
    October 15, 2008 7:10 pm

    i want to grow some! i’m mad at myself for dropping the ball so blatantly with regard to my yard/garden.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    October 15, 2008 10:34 pm

    I would like to try some, please!
    Can you just mail a few seeds in an envelope? No rush, it’s cold as can be at night right now!
    Love, Aunt K (grandma-in-waiting!)

  4. Anonymous permalink
    October 15, 2008 10:34 pm

    I would like to try some, please!
    Can you just mail a few seeds in an envelope? No rush, it’s cold as can be at night right now!
    Love, Aunt K (grandma-in-waiting!)

  5. Lisa permalink
    October 15, 2008 11:41 pm

    You got it, Aunt K. I will likely mail them out soon so that I don’t forget!!

    April-Do you want some seeds?

  6. april. permalink
    October 16, 2008 12:00 am

    i would!

  7. Mon permalink
    October 17, 2008 10:49 am

    The work looks like it’s paid off very well. Looking good.
    Calendula is my absolute favorite for my baby.

  8. Angelina permalink
    October 17, 2008 3:06 pm

    If you end up with some seeds to spare I would like a few as well! I love calendula.

    What a great tutorial. I want to make some of this too!

    Salves are so handy to have around. I really like comphrey salve too.

    I’d love to learn to make a calendula lotion too.

  9. Lisa permalink
    October 19, 2008 5:53 pm

    Thanks Mon!

    Angelina-I have enough seeds for you.

  10. Angelina permalink
    October 19, 2008 6:21 pm

    I have spelled comfrey correctly for years, I have no idea why I suddenly can’t spell it.

  11. Tonia permalink
    October 20, 2008 9:03 pm

    Thanks for posting this. Do you have any idea how long it will last? I wanted to make some for gifts and don’t want it to go rancid. Thanks again!
    -tonia

  12. Lisa permalink
    October 21, 2008 11:58 pm

    Tonia-I don’t know how long it will last. I’m refrigerating mine to be safe.

  13. Tonia permalink
    October 22, 2008 2:43 am

    Lisa,
    Thanks, I thought I would do the same.

  14. Kim permalink
    October 23, 2008 5:47 am

    I am definitely going to try this as soon as I can find some local beeswax. Sounds wonderful!

  15. Lisa permalink
    October 23, 2008 6:13 pm

    Kimmus-Oh, I recommend that you try it! I’m making my second batch now, because my husband is using it daily on his hands! I’m hoping to get a couple more batches done before my calenda dies back.

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