Summertime! For a lot of people that means warmer weather, longer days and flowers popping up everywhere. At the same time, it can also mean: getting sunburned, dryer skin and bug bites. This calendula salve recipe helps with these and many other skin conditions. It is easy to make, contains only 3 ingredients and is completely natural!
Know what you put on your skin
Let me ask you this: have you ever looked at the ingredients on your body lotions, sunscreens and facial creams? Because unless you are buying natural, ecological products, you’re probably thinking: what do these ingredients even mean? Colouring agents, chemical preservatives, harmful E-numbers… Knowing what you put on your body is quite important, as your skin is your biggest organ and can absorb a lot of those toxins.
As people become more and more aware of what they put into their body and unto their skin, they’re grabbing more towards natural, ecologically produced skin care. But as you pay the real price for the real products, it can seem very expensive. Well, it doesn’t always have to be. Homemade skin products are a lot cheaper! On top of that, you’re able to mix and match your own ingredients, making products your skin likes best.
Grow your own
Maybe you’ve got, just like us at Cranleigh House, calendula growing in your garden. They produce beautiful flowers and are found pretty by many people, including the bees, but they are much more than just pretty! Calendula flowers are anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, antiseptic and astringent. Quite impressive right? It is those qualities, together with this plant’s local action, that makes it very beneficial for the skin and a whole range of skin conditions like sores and cuts, swollen and/or inflamed areas, fungal outbreaks, bug bites, minor burns, eczema,…
Calendula is considered a very easy plant to grow yourself, growing in most climates and reseeding itself. Give it a try this summer and perhaps you can harvest some of your own calendula for this skin-healing salve!
When harvesting calendula, be mindful and don’t pick more than a third of the flowers, although the flowers should grow back during summer, we need to help our bees a little bit and calendula happens to be great bee-attracting flowers.
Only pick the flowers, as it’s the petals that have the medicinal properties. Before washing, leave them alone for a while so insects have the chance to jump off. Then wash and leave them to dry. Spread them out on a plate or rack and put them somewhere dark and dry, with circulating air. A hot cupboard would be ideal!
When your flowers are dried, they should easily come off their crowns. Let the salve making begin!
Recipe Calendula Salve
- 8 parts oil (olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil,…)
- 2 parts dried calendula petals
- 1 part beeswax or candelilla wax
For example: 200ml grapeseed oil, 50ml dried calendula petals, 25ml candelilla wax. If you know one tablespoon is 15 ml, it’s easier to measure your herbs that way.
- Mix the oil with the dried herb
- Put them in an oven of 50-60 degrees, leave the door slightly open
- Leave in for 3-5 hours, stirring occasionally
- Strain the herbs, pressing them down with the back of a spoon to get the most oil out of it.
- Place the wax into the oil and warm up through the double boiler method. Once the wax is melted, pour the mixture in containers.
- Let cool down completely before putting on the lids.
Once finished, make sure to label with name and the date! Your salve keeps at least as long as the oil you are using.
Written by Lien, volunteer at Cranleigh House in Spring 2017, nurse and student herbalist.