Most people would probably be familiar with Calendula . With daisy-like flowers ranging in colour from vibrant orange and yellow through to pale apricot they seem to pop up in gardens all over the place. It’s sometimes called pot marigold, but isn’t part of the marigold family.
Calendula officinalis has been traditionally used as both a culinary and medicinal herb. The petals can be added to salad, made into tea and used to colour cheese. For centuries it’s been used to heal wounds and skin irritations such as eczema, nappy rash, insect bites and minor burns.
Made with calendula infused oil and beeswax Calendula Salve utilises the skin-healing properties of the flower to create a treatment for irritated, chapped or sensitive skin which is effective, but still mild enough for children to use. We also use it on our dog when she tangles with the rose bushes.
Calendula petals can make an interesting addition to soap as they're one of the few plant materials that hold their colour through the soap-making process. Unfortunately the same can't be said of lavender - the buds start out purple, but end up an unappealing shade of brown!
Calendula oil is made by steeping fresh or dried petals in a light oil for several weeks. Calendula “tea” can be made easily at home and can then be used as a compress to make a soothing treatment for cuts, scrapes, insect bites and irritated skin.
To make calendula “tea” pour one cup of boiling water over a handful of fresh or dried petals. Cover then allow to cool to room temperature. Strain out the petals. To make a compress soak a clean cloth in the “tea” then place on the skin as required.