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When I was a child, my grandmother had a massive garden that I spent many days exploring and playing in, and right in the middle of it was a bird bath surrounded by cheerful bright orange yellow flowers called Marigolds, also known as Calendula (Calendula officinalis).
Not only is this herb easy on the eye, but it’s also wonderfully versatile around the home, you can use it to naturally colour soap or add the petals to baking or salads for a lovely pop of colour. But for me the most exciting use for these glorious blossoms is in skin care (you know its good enough for your skin when you can eat it right!?).
This powerful but gentle herb has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties, making it famous for wound healing and assisting those with dry or sensitive skin conditions.
And because it’s so gentle, it’s a perfect ingredient to use on all skin types, even babies, children and elderly.
You can easily incorporate dry or fresh Calendula petals into your bath salts, facial steams and soaps, but what about using it for creams, lotions, massage oils and balms? Well… one of the easiest ways to do this is to use calendula infused oil as a base, so I’m going to cover how to make this in today’s post.
I brought my organic Calendula (here) which is already dried making it perfect for using in an infusion. When purchasing your Calendula petals, make sure they are from a reputable source, don’t ever use flowers from a florist as they have been chemically treated and sprayed, you don’t want all those toxins on your skin… yuck! If you’re lucky enough to have some flowers growing in your garden that you want to utilise, simply pop them somewhere dry on a tray and wait for them to wilt (around 12 hours), this will remove most of the moisture. It’s important that the moisture is removed to prevent your oil going rancid quickly.
To make your infused oil, fill a glass jar (like these ones) with your dried calendula petals to the very top. Then slowly pour in your golden jojoba oil until the flowers are completely covered, then seal your jar tightly to ensure that no air gets in. Then, place the jar into a brown paper bag to protect it from from any UV light, and leave it in a warm, sunny spot for 4-6 weeks. Shake your jar every few days for about 4-6 weeks.
When it’s time to finally reveal all that golden goodness, open up the jar and strain using a cooking strainer to remove the majority of the petals from the oil. Then to get those last little bits removed completely I used a muslin cloth, and squeezed the cloth to ensure I got every last drop! Pop the infusion into an amber glass bottle (like these ones) and store in a cool and dark place.
Just look at at the colour change of the oil once its been infused! And it smells divine too, I actually left mine a bit longer, around 6 weeks to achieve a colour like the above.
You can choose to use any type of carrier oil, perhaps one that suits your needs or particular purpose. I chose Jojoba because I want to use as a facial oil. Jojoba has a composition is similar to sebum produced by our own skin making it particularly nourishing, protective and well-tolerated by most skin types, other good options to consider would be olive oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, rosehip seed oil or apricot kernel oil. Just ensure that the oil you select has a decent self life, around a year is ideal.
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