No other herb screams “Sun bursting summer celebration!” like Calendula does for me. These beautiful, vibrantly orange marigold flowers are nothing short of breathtaking when they’re growing in a hot summer field, basking in the heavy heat of mid summer. Calendula is always a treat for me, as it’s really only available and in high quality during the summer and early fall months, so I can’t bask in it’s glory all year long. But when I can get my hands on some fresh or dried calendula flowers, I want to make ’em last as long as I can.
Enter infused oils (and get ready for a truly decadent full body treat).
A few years ago, I discovered that calendula and apricot kernel oil are practically made for each other. They’re like botanical soul mates. The first time I infused dried calendula flowers into apricot oil and put it on my skin I swear I could hear my whole body just giggling with appreciation. The delicate balance of apricot oil and soothing calendula is a straight up lifesaver for those with dry, sensitive skin (and all others too, let’s be real). And in this way, I can keep calendula with me through the winter and early spring as a decadent bath oil, body oil, main ingredient in AMAZING salves (that one’s coming up next) and even lip balms. And, it’s amazingly simple to make to boot.
(Side note – when I make infused oils, tinctures, topical medicines, tea blends etc…I totally feel like I’m at Hogwarts, blending up magical recipes to store away and keep in my botanical apothecary. Have fun with this! Let your inner magic child come out, and get imaginative and creative with your blends. It’s hard to go wrong with infused oils!)
Calendula is excellent topically due to it’s anti-inflammatory and mucilage (polysaccharide) content, making it soothing and cooling for dry or inflamed skin. It has been used topically as a vulnerary (wound healing) treatment for centuries, as well as a syptic (to stop bleeding) when applied to wounds on the skin. It also has some mild anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties as well (and a salve made of this is usually a staple in my backpacking first aid kit).
Photos by Renee Byrd, on the first of our many herbal+photography collaborations together <3