Herbal infused oils are simple to make at home. Learn how to make your own healing calendula oil to keep in your first aid kit for use on scrapes, burns, and other skin ailments.
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I love growing calendula in my garden and landscape. It’s so pretty and cheerful, and the pollinators and beneficial insects love it, too!
However, when I look out at the beautiful calendula flowers popping up around the yard I think, “Off with their heads!” Which is a little grim if you think about it, even though I grow extra flowers so there’s enough for me and some for the bees.
When I set my eye on those beautiful flower heads, what I’m really after is some healing golden liquid.
Many years ago I had a burgeoning soap business, and my ‘Gentle Skin’ soap bar was made with calendula oil because of its skin-healing properties and its ability to reduce inflammation.
But that calendula oil was store-bought, and now I have the opportunity to make my very own oil from my very own calendula flowers!
Hint: If you aren’t growing your own calendula flowers, don’t worry. As long as you source quality dried calendula, you can make calendula oil that retains its healing properties.
Want to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your front yard landscape without sacrificing curb appeal? Check out my mini guide, The Permaculture Inspired Edible Landscape.
How to Make a Healing Calendula Oil
Instructions for making an infused herbal oil are simple: Infuse dried herbs in a quality oil, bottle it up, and enjoy!
The following are the detailed, step-by-step instructions for making a soothing calendula oil.
Step 1: Healing calendula oil starts with cutting fresh flower heads at the peak of bloom.
I’m not gonna lie, it feels a little sad to cut all those gorgeous flower heads that are cheerfully gracing my gardens and attracting all of those pollinators. That’s why I only harvest about half of the possible blossoms.
Step 2: Dry the flower heads and pluck the flower petals.
Some people pluck the fresh petals right away, discard the heads, and then dry the petals. Other people dry the whole head and then use the whole head in the oil infusion. All of these options are safe and potent.
I take a middle-of-the-road approach: I dry the whole flower heads in the dehydrator (here’s mine) and then pluck the dried petals. It really doesn’t take too much time, and I love the rich, golden color that comes from using only the petals.
Bonus: The denuded flower heads are still beautiful post-pluck! I use them in my dining table centerpiece!
Step 3: High-quality calendula oil is only as good as your infusing oil.
Since infused herbal oils are meant to be medicinal, select a high quality oil.
I like to use organic, cold-pressed olive oil, but you can use any cold-pressed oil that you’d typically use in a salad dressing. For more details about selecting an olive oil (there’s a lot of fraud in the industry, as well as a disease affecting olive trees), see the notes in my article How To Make Herbal Salve.
Cold-pressed grapeseed oil or avocado oil are good alternatives.
Step 4: Fill jar with calendula flower petals and infusing oil.
Next, fill a sanitized 8-ounce mason jar about halfway with flower petals, then fill the rest of the jar with oil.
Step 5: Cap the jar and soak the infusion.
Cap the infusion tightly and sit the jar in a sunny window to soak for a month. I put mine in my kitchen window above the sink and give it a little shake each morning.
I write the beginning and ending date on my calendar so I don’t forget when it will be done. Over the course of the month, the oil will get progressively more golden as the petals infuse.
Step 6: Strain the infused calendula oil.
After about a month, it’s time to strain off the flower petals. I set a canning funnel on top of an empty mason jar, and set a piece of cheesecloth on top of the funnel.
Now, pour the infused oil through the cheesecloth into the empty jar.
Step 7: Store your infused herbal oil properly.
These instructions yield about eight ounces of healing calendula oil, which you’ll want to keep in a cool, dark place.
An amber or cobalt blue dropper bottle makes an attractive gift option and protects the oil from UV light so that it lasts longer.
Step 8: Use your infused herbal oil on dry skin, scrapes, and sunburns.
I use this moisturizing and soothing oil directly on dry skin, scrapes, and sunburns, and other skin ailments. A dropper bottle makes it easier to apply.
I also use it to make a healing salve.
If you like this recipe, then you’ll like these five homemade infusions (tinctures, elixirs, vinegars, and liqueurs) that make great gifts!
Have you ever made an oil infusion? What herb and oil did you use? Did you turn it into another product like salve?
Tracy @ Our Simple Life says
I just love step-by-step instructions with pictures! Good job and I am pinning this one!
Dawn Robertson says
Hello! I enjoyed reading your post on calendula oil & your question on other infusions. In July I infused olive oil with Plantain & Comfrey. I simmered it on the stove (gas) for almost 5 hours. After letting it cool a bit I added some shaved beeswax & then peppermint, tea tree & frankincense essential oils. Unfortunately it only made 2 – 4oz.jars. which we emptied by the end of October. We loved it.seemed to work well for most anything. I recently made another batch with plantain infused olive oil, a bit stronger than the last but it’s growing on me 🙂 . I’ve got some Goldenrod infusing about ready to use. This is my first time leaving a comment anywhere and I hope I wasn’t too lengthy. I love herbs,& Thank you for sharing !
Thanks for your comment. I love the blends of herbs and essential oils you’re choosing to use in your infusions. I’d like to collect some plantain from the yard this year – it’s a good idea to blend it with comfrey.
I was surprised at how quick and easy it is to make these homegrown, homemade medicines. Thanks for sharing your process.
Just Judy says
I never made one, but I have a bunch of calendula. Mine are different colors. Does that matter?
Nope, shouldn’t matter as long as it is Calendula officinalis or Calendula arvense. Typically flower colors range from bright orange to yellow.
Lisa from Iroquois says
I believe that your oil will have more potency if you include the knobby part of the flower. I think it is called the Calax. A herbalist friend told me it was better than just using the flower petals.
That sounds like a great tip! Thanks!
I used a calendula lotion while going thru radiation for breast. Get for sun burns.
I’m wondering if I can make a salve with fresh herbs, rather than drying them first? Particularly lemon balm?
Experienced herbalists will often use fresh herbs in their preparations, but in general I recommend using dried herbs, since the fresh herbs can sometimes ferment and go rancid in the oil. If fresh herbs are used, be sure to strain the oil really well before storing.
I use calendula oil in my paw wax. It works very well. I can’t wait to make it myself as I have always used store boughten. I also make the green native salve. Using comfrey, plantain and beeswax. I simmer mine in my crock pot on low for 3-5 hrs.. I am on my 4 th batch this summer . Looking forward to your posts on using herbs.
Laurie Reilly says
I can’t wait to try this. How l9ng does the oil keep.
I’d say about 12 months (at least) if you’re using high quality ingredients and keeping the oil in a dark, cool place once it is made. However, lower quality ingredients, sun, and heat will degrade its quality faster.
Christine Fick says
Thank you for the article. I used catnip (dried) to make an oil infusion with sweet almond oil but I didnt have time for the window so I did mine overnight in my oven in a flat dish on a very low temp. I made a small batch to add a few drops to a pet friendly room freshener and for a bug spray that can be sprayed directly onto my pet’s bedding. The catnip definitely made a difference it doesnt seem to affect them.
Since Calendula are great at attracting aphids, etc, what do you think is the most effective way to get rid of these pests when wanting to use the flowers for oil infusions, etc? Picking the flowers and then rinsing them super well seems to help, but I feel like that might also be washing away some of its medicinal qualities. Thoughts??