A Jar of Sunshine: How to make infused Calendula Oil
Updated: Aug 18
Extracting the beneficial, medicinal, and botanical properties from herbs into carrier oils is one of the many ways to start your herbal journey into making your own skin care products. Of all the herbal oil infusions I use to create my skin care products, calendula is my first herb of choice. Infused calendula oil is also called liquid gold, but I like to call it a jar of sunshine. It's just pure goodness. I like to think of it as capturing all the benefits from the sunshine. It's colorful and attracts pollinators to your yard and garden. If you have the ability to grow this beautiful herb, I encourage you greatly to do so. It's self seeding and easy to grow. It's so hardy and faithful. My calendula can withstand snow storms and frosts, and it just grows wonderfully in my zone 2-3 herb garden. It just makes me happy and smile when I look at calendula and knowing of all the beneficial properties that it holds in this little flower, makes me want to learn so much more about all the other herbs that are growing around my home.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis), also called "pot marigold", is known for its colorful, beautiful, decorative flowers, as well as its culinary, cosmetic and healing properties. Not to be confused with the common garden marigold, calendula has very little scent and is edible. Calendula's edible petals can be added to salads, scrambled eggs, soups, stews, cookies, breads, teas and other culinary purposes. It has been used for internal medicinal purposes to treat stomach ulcers, it supports the immune system, is high in vitamin A and helps promote collagen production. For the skin, calendula is also known for its antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties. For this tutorial, we are going to focus on the external skin healing properties of calendula. For safety reasons, before you infuse any herb, it is in your best interest to do thorough research on the herbs that you want to infuse. Calendula is known to be safe, effective and tolerated by most.
So what does "an infused oil" mean? It means you're adding a dried herb to an oil to extract the medicinal and beneficial properties from the herb into that oil. Calendula can be infused into oils, then made into salves, balms, lotions, creams, and soap. It can also be sprinkled just as a dried herb into bath salts, bath bombs, soap, or onto soap. Make it for a massage oil or an after shower/bath body oil. My main use for the infused oil is to treat certain skin irritations, like rashes, dry/chaffed skin, eczema, diaper rash, cradle cap, acne prone skin, minor scrapes/skin irritations, stings, and varicose veins. It helps promote collagen production and cell repair and growth. Calendula is so gentle and soothing to the skin. It is my first aid, medicine cabinet staple. I keep salve on hand in the house, like the bathrooms, and even the camper and vehicles. This simple extraction method, will give you the foundation to begin making and experimenting with other dried herbs and recipes. It's rewarding being able to make healing and soothing skin are products for you and your family. Not only that, but they make great gifts too!
Make sure you use pesticide free, preferably organically grown, dried calendula. If you can't grow your own, you can buy dried calendula on Amazon or at Mountain Rose Herbs. Harvest the flower heads mid-day, when the flowers are open and there is no risk of dew or moisture. Use the entire flower head for infusing the oil to get all the beneficial medicinal properties. Evenly space the flower heads out on a screen or an herb drying rack, and air dry until thoroughly dried. This can take up to a few weeks.
As for a carrier oil, I recommend using organic oils, since you will be putting this onto your skin, you don't want pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals on your skin. I buy my oils on Amazon or Mountain Rose Herbs. Using the carrier oil of your choice, fill a glass jar 1/2 full with the dried calendula, then fill up the rest of the jar with the oil of choice and leave a 1/2 inch of head space for expansion. Gently stir the herb into the oil, and place a lid on it. I like to put a coffee filter or parchment paper in between the lid and the jar, because the oil can leak out and it keeps the lid on tighter. You will want to store this away from direct sunlight. I like to keep mine in a paper sack to protect it from direct sunlight. Label and date the jar with the oil and herb that you used. I like to infuse my herbs from 4-6 weeks. Gently shake the jar every few days to help extract the medicinal properties from the calendula.
When the oil is done infusing, get another clean jar, and a cheesecloth or a sieve/strainer, and drain the oil into the other clean jar, and squeeze out all the oil that you can from the calendula. Label and date the jar with the oil and herb used, and store it away from direct sunlight. Can store for up to 1-2 years.
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