Today I am harvesting my beautiful Calendula flowers!
Calendula is a tender perennial, an annual where I live and so easy to grow. I see them in 6 packs at garden centers, the seeds are sold everywhere. They germinate very easily and quickly so I usually just direct sow them right outside in the garden. No matter what type of gardening season we have, they always seem to come through with lots of vitality and a profusion of blooms. They are wonderful in the vegetable garden because they deter sap- sucking insects and attract beneficial insects. If aphids bother your roses, try planting some Calendulas nearby.
Both the flowers and the Calendula leaves are edible. The flowers are high in antioxidant carotenoids, which gives them their vivid yellow and orange colors, particularly lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene. They can be added to salads or as a pretty garnish to summer desserts. A Calendula tea is nice. Just add water that has just reached the boiling point to the blossoms and let it steep, as you would regular tea. This would make a nice iced tea as well, particularly if you added some mint to the brew.
Calendula is called, “Queen of the cosmetic herbs”. It is reputed to have rejuvenating and healing effects on the skin. Herbalists classify it as a vulnerary, saying
it heals by promoting cell repair and has anti inflammatory and antiseptic properties as well. You will often see it listed among the ingredients in salves for bruises, burns, sores, diaper rash ointments and expensive cosmetic skin repair serums.
Calendula infused oil is so easy to make! You can use it as a moistuirizer, a massage oil, a bath oil. It also works wonderfully to remove make-up. Just place the patted- dry or wilted flowers in a clean, dry glass jar, cover completely with oil. Screw lid on tightly, making sure that is clean and dry as well. Let the oil steep for 2 weeks. Strain out the flowers and the oil is ready to use.* Apricot, grapeseed and almond oil are great choices if you want a good face and neck moistuirizer. Olive oil is a good choice for a body oil. If you want to add rose petals or lavender to your Calendula flowers when you make your infusion, they are great for the skin too. You can customize your hand made oils by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Eucalyptus and lavender would be great choices for a massage or bath oil.
However you decide to use Calendula; for your garden, your tea, your skin or the bath…..You can’t go wrong! It is beautiful wherever it is.
Future posts will have instructions on how to make your own salves, lip balms, body powders and more. Keep harvesting your Calendula flowers, they bloom until frost, and dry them in a dehydrator, your oven, or even better : spread out in the sun!
- If oil has mold, don’t use it. Moisture is usually the culprit; either in your herb, the jar or the lid. Make sure enough oil is added to the jar and the flowers are completely submerged and remain covered by the oil during the steeping period. Make sure also that the jar and lid are completely dry.
I shared this post with Wildcrafting Wednesday-Herban Momma