Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Commonly known as "pot marigold," calendula is an exceptionally versatile herb native to the Mediterranean. For centuries, it has actively been grown in gardens to use as food and for its healing properties. Identified by its bright orange and yellow petals which hold medicinal properties, it should not be confused with the garden variety marigold.

The name calendula is derived from the plant's tendency to bloom according to the calendar, either once a month or with the new moon. This annual flourishes in cool, temperate climates and grows to a height of 9-20 inches.

The flavenoids present in the calendula flower and its inherent anti-inflammatory, astringent, antifungal, and antiseptic properties result in an ideal topical agent. It can be applied to the skin to treat boils, rashes, sunburn, chafed skin, insect bites, and other skin irritations. The properties of calendula make it an attractive herb for treating and soothing the scalp.

Calendula is usually found as dried flowers or essential oil. It can be used to create tinctures, ointments, lotions, infused oils, and body butters to name a few. When mixed with oils like olive oil, the effects of calendula are enhanced. Products containing calendula are readily available at health food stores and online - or create your own using one of these recipes!

Pack a glass jar with dried calendula flowersCover packed flowers with olive oilCover with a tight lidStore the jar in a dark cupboard and shake well every day for two weeksAfter two weeks, strain oil into a clean glass jar or bottleAdd Vitamin E oil as a natural preservativeApply directly to the skin, scalp, or hair Test the oil on a small area to test for allergic reactions 6 ounces calendula infused oil (above)2 ounces sweet almond oil3 ounces shea butter2 ounces cocoa butterMix ingredients in a small pot on very low heatOnce the ingredients have melted, simmer for 20 minutes while stirring regularlyCarefully pour into plastic or glass jars and allow to solidifyApply directly to the skin, scalp, or hair Store in the refrigerator to lengthen the shelf life.

Increase or decrease ingredients for the desired consistency 6 ounces calendula infused oil (above)2 ounces jojoba oil10-15 drops of rosemary essential oil10-15 drops tea tree essential oil10-15 drops sage essential oilMix ingredients together in a spouted applicator bottleShake well prior to useApply directly to the scalp.  Use this oil on the scalp to sooth conditions and combat dandruff.