Herbal infused oils are simple to make at home. 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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Whenever I look out at the beautiful calendula flowers popping up around the yard I think, “Off with their heads!” Though I feel a little like The Grinch Who Stole Summer, what I’m really after is some of that healing golden liquid I had only read about over at Root Simple.
Many years ago I had a burgeoning homemade soap business in which 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.
According to Root Simple, I can make my own oil from my very own calendula flowers! I just had to give it a try. Here’s how I did it and how it turned out.
Hint: If you aren’t growing calendula flowers, don’t worry. As long as you source quality dried calendula, you can make calendula oil that retains its healing properties, and no one will be the wiser!
Step 1: Cut 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 off that are cheerfully gracing my gardens with their presence 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 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.
I take a middle-of-the-road approach: I dry the flower heads in the dehydrator (here’s mine) whole and then pluck the dried petals. It really doesn’t take too much time.
Bonus: The denuded flower heads are still beautiful post-pluck! I use them in my dining table centerpiece!
Step 3: Acquire your infusing oil
I like to use olive oil, but you can use any cold-pressed oil that you’d typically use in a salad dressing. Grapeseed oil or avocado oil would work well. Since infused oils are meant to be medicinal, you will want a high quality oil.
Step 4: Fill Mason Jar with Petals and 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 and Soak
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 it on my calendar, so I don’t forget when it will be done. Over the course of the month, the oil should get progressively more golden as the petals infuse.
Step 6: Strain
After about a month, it’s time to strain off the flower petals. I set a canning funnel on top of a mason jar, and set a piece of cheesecloth on top of the funnel. Now, dump!
I dump the whole infusion into the cheesecloth, which catches the flower petals, filtering out the liquid gold.
Step 7: Storage
In the end, you’ll get about 8 ounces of healing calendula oil. I’ll use it directly on dry skin, scrapes, and sunburns, etc. I also use it to make a healing salve.
If you like this recipe, then you’ll like these five infusions that make great gifts!
Need more ideas for growing and using herbs?
Are you looking for strategies for your permaculture garden? You’ll find loads of information in my book, The Suburban Micro-Farm.
Have you ever made an oil infusion? What herb and oil did you use? Did you turn it into another product like salve?