HOW TO MAKE CALENDULA INFUSED OIL – Using FRESH FLOWERS
You might ask yourself, “Why Calendula?” Here are a few reasons why I grow and use Calendula Officinalis .
Calendula officinalis, also known as pot marigold or garden marigold, has been used for centuries to heal wounds and skin irritations. Calendula has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, antifungal, antiviral, and immunostimulant properties making it useful for disinfecting and treating minor wounds, conjunctivitis, cuts, scrapes, chapped or chafed skin, bruises, burns, athlete’s foot, acne, yeast infections, bee stings, diaper rashes, and other minor irritations and infections of the skin. Plus, it stimulates the production of collagen at wound sites to help minimize scarring and assist with stretch marks. This versatile botanical can be incorporated into baths, creams, compresses, washes, salves, ointments, massage oils, baths, facial steams, tinctures, and teas. It is also gentle enough to use for babies, children, or animals. Internally, gargling with Calendula infused water may ease a sore throat, sores in the mouth, and inflammations in the mouth and throat.
Not only is Calendula a wonderful healing and medicinal herb, but it is also a lovely and useful plant in the garden! Calendula repels many common garden pests including aphids, eelworms, asparagus beetles, and tomato hornworms, and is a companion plant for potatoes, beans, and lettuce. Plus, it grows quickly and is easy to cultivate from seed. The fresh vibrant petals can be used to color butter, cheese, custards, sauces, or sprinkled atop salads, cakes, and sandwiches.
This herb is so easy to grow from seed. The first time I grew Calendula from seed was the Spring of 2013. I direct seeded it in several areas of my yard to ensure that I had a lot of flowers to use fresh and for drying. I was so happy to see that almost every seed came up and bloomed. Around mid June I started harvesting (cutting) my Calendula flowers. The more you cut, the more flowers the plant will produce. I was picking flowers about every 2 days somewhere in my gardens. When harvesting flowers to use in my oil infusions I make sure that the dew is entirely gone from the flowers and before it gets too hot outside. Here in Wisconsin that is around 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. This time span will ensure me that the flowers are dry, yet full of all the essential oils that are needed to make a GREAT oil infusion. If it rains I make sure I don’t harvest the flowers for 1-2 days after a rain. I am using FRESH CALENDULA FLOWERS for my oil infusion. I DO NOT WANT ANY MOISTURE IN THE FLOWERS.
Here is how I make my CALENDULA INFUSED OIL
1. Clean sterilized GLASS jar of your choice.
2. Fill jar (loosely, do not pack it down tightly) with freshly picked Calendula flowers about an inch from the top of the jar. I use the whole flower, center & petals, NO STEMS. Do not wash the flowers. Just brush off any dirt or bugs.
3. Pour organic extra virgin olive oil over flowers in the jar. Make sure all flowers are covered with the oil. Use a wooden chop stick or the handle of a wooden spoon to poke down the flowers so they are completely submerged in the oil. Keep poking them down to help get all the air bubbles out.
4. Cut a piece of paper towel to fit over the top of the jar. Secure the paper towel with a rubber band. Using paper towel instead of a lid allows the little moisture that is in the FRESH flowers a chance to evaporate. If you put a lid on at this time, it is likely that moisture would be trapped and mold could grow. That would be a disaster.
5. Put the jar in a dark cabinet. Check every day to see if all the flowers are under the oil. If they float to the top and are poking out of the oil, push them down with the wooden chopstick or wooden spoon handle. It might take a week or so to keep them down under the oil. They will settle and there will be about an inch of oil over the flowers.
6. After you see that the flowers have settled and the oil is covering them you can remove the paper towel and screw on the jar lid. You will now let the jar set in the dark cabinet for 6 weeks. Check it weekly to see if there is any mold or if it smells bad. It should just smell like olive oil.
7. After 6 weeks your oil is ready to strain. I first use a sieve and strain it into a glass bowl. Then I strain it a second time through a Krups Gold coffee filter, which is a very fine sieve. You could use cheese cloth. I just like being able to wash the filter & reuse. The cheese cloth you probably would throw out. You know me…I am very thrifty.
8. Pour your wonderful INFUSED CALENDULA OIL into a clean GLASS jar. I use the jar that the extra virgin olive oil was in. I like it because of its dark green color doesn’t allow light in. Plus I am recycling. Store your INFUSED CALENDULA OIL in a cool dark area. Mine is in my basement.
9. Now you are ready to use your INFUSED CALENDULA OIL to make a ointment, balm, cream, body butter or just use it for a massage oil.
10. Remember to label you jar with the date infusion was started and ended. Of course, label what infusion…CALENDULA.
I know that this might sound complicated and drawn out BUT once you do it you will be so happy you took the time. You can also understand why it is so expensive to buy. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Using FRESH herbs for most oil infusions is much more beneficial medicinally. The medicine is in the plants oils and there is not much oil in dried herbs. I hope this helps you and inspires you to make infused oils.