This is a very simple recipe for a very simple salve that you can make at home. But do not underestimate Calendula officinalis. This flower may look pretty and delicate but it is extremely effective and really helps to speed up healing. It does this by stimulating a faster rate of skin cell renewal and regrowth. It is also very calming if your skin is broken or irritated. I use it after I've been picking prickly bushes full of gorse flowers or blackberries and the relief is almost instant!
I use Calendula Salve on everything from patches of scaly, stubborn dry skin, to cracked skin around my nails after gardening. It helps any cracks or nicks to heal up fast and it does not sting or irritate in any way. I also put it on my cat's ears if she gets ear mites. She finds it very soothing and Calendula, like so many other plants, also has antibacterial and antifungal properties as well.
Making a salve is a two-step process as first you must make Calendula oil. Unlike a seed or a nut, you cannot press oil from the plant. Flower oils are nearly always infused oils. This means that they have been infused (soaked) also known as 'macerated' in a carrier oil. During the infusion period, the natural oil-soluble constituents from the flowers are dissolved into the oil.
Step 1: How to make Calendula Oil
First pick your Calendula flowers (you can also use dried flower heads) and fill a jar about 3/4 full. Then cover with a light oil like sunflower or sweet almond. You can use olive oil but it can be a bit greasy on the skin. Ideally you should pick the flowers on a dry morning, early, before it gets too hot and the essential oils start to evaporate.
Fill the jar to about an inch (2.5 cm) above the flowers and make sure that they stay submerged. Shake every day for the first 3 days and then occasionally. Leave in a warm place for 3 to 4 weeks, then strain off the oil, through some fine muslin cloth, and discard the flowers.
Step 2: How to make Calendula Salve
To make the salve take the oil and weigh it. It will make up 80% of your salve. You will need some beeswax pellets. They will make up 20%. So, for example, if you want to make 100g of salve you will need:
80g calendula oil
20g beeswax pellets
5 drops of lavender or rosemary essential oil
Melt the beeswax into the oil in a double boiler (bain marie) over a gentle heat. Remove from heat and add your essential oil (optional but it helps act as an antioxidant). Then pour into little tins or jars. Leave to cool (do not move them while they are hot) in a safe place out of reach of little hands (or paws!). When it has cooled it will harden to a lovely buttery consistency.
Always remember to label them! If you take care with the labels these will make lovely little Christmas or birthday presents for friends who appreciate the love in a hand-crafted gift!
If you can't wait, we make a lovely CalSalve too with organic calendula and marshmallow oils.