Monday, December 15, 2014

Homemade Calendula Oil for Sensitive Skin

I know that I talk about essential oils a lot, but herbs are another one of my passions. Earlier this year I took a course about how to use herbs and Calendula was something that really stood out to me as something I NEEDED for my sensitive skin. The more I learned about it the more I felt like it could really take some of my DIY recipes to the next level.

What Is Calendula? 
Calendula officinalis is a really fancy name for regular ole Marigold. You can grow your own (dry it completely before use) or you can buy a good quality organic variety (like this one). 

If you haven't dried your own herbs before, then I recommend that you read this really detailed guide about harvesting and drying. It's a science and if it's not done correctly your mix won't turn out the way you want it and could even mold. {sad face}

How to make your own calendula oil for fabulous skin

Why Should We Use Calendula?
Calendula has been used for centuries as a way to promote and support the skin, especially irritated skin! It is fantastic for a number of issues such as blemishes, redness, itchiness, discoloration, chapped lips, dry or sensitive skin... you get the idea! But one of the things that is so amazing about Calendula is that it can help to stimulate the production of collagen which can help to minimize scarring and a decrease the appearance of stretch marks. Sounds pretty great, doesn't it?! Hmmm... now excuse me while I smear it all over my thighs.....

But it gets better! In 2009 a research study was published about how Calendula impacted excision wounds. The researchers concluded that the group who used Calendula had a significant increase in skin health. [C. Cabrera. An Herbalist's Top Ten. Proceedings, 4th annual Herb Business Conference, 1999. 93] Cool, huh?!

I love using Calendula oil in any recipe that is made to support dry skin such as my winter skin lotion (recipe coming) or in homemade first aid remedies for skin support. 

How to Make an Oil Infusion with Calendula
How to make #DIY calendula oil for natural #skincare especially dry, irritated skin
Calendula is so therapeutic because of its high levels of carotenoids (vitamin A like compounds). Because these compounds are oil soluble, an infused oil is an easy and practical way to get the benefits from this herb.
Simply add the dried herb until the glass jar is about half filled and cover it generously with any liquid carrier oil (such as jojoba, almond oil, grapeseed oil, hemp seed, or fractionated coconut oil). I do NOT recommend common cooking oils (like corn or canola) or refined, expeller pressed oils. 

When making oil infusions remember that your herbs will absorbed some of the carrier oil so always make sure that the flowers are generously covered with oil. Some people suggest doubling the volume of carrier oils to flowers, but I find that you often don't need quite that much. Just keep an eye on it and add a little more oil if needed.

***Your oil must cover your plant matter completely to prevent mold growth!***

Set the jar in a sunny window for two weeks to one month and make sure that you gently shake the mixture every few days. If you live in a colder climate, you may want to put the mix in a crockpot. Read this article for slow cooker instructions! 

Using Calendula Oil
When it's ready, it should be a beauuuuutiful golden color! Just strain the mixture over another glass jar or bowl to separate the oil from the herb. You can use the herb infused oil in place of recipes that call for a liquid carrier oil or when making your own DIY salves, lotions or ointments.

Here are some recipes or uses featuring Calendula Oil
Storing Your Oils
Please always store your oil in a glass jar with a tight lid in a cool, dark place. Make sure you label and date the jar because if you are anything like me, you'll have no clue what it is in 3 months! 

This oil will stay good for about 1 year if stored properly.

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