Are you looking for an all-natural, thick and creamy body butter? Make Calendula cream or body butter at home – it is easy and affordable.
Commonly known as Pot Marigold, Calendula Officinalis comes in as many as twenty varieties of shrubs, perennials, and annuals. A native flower of Egypt and the Mediterranean parts of Europe, it arrived in North America with the pioneers and is now a common ornamental flower in gardens and flower pots across this continent.
Calendula cream is a topical skin cream whose main ingredient is the flower of the genus Calendula (species Calendula officinalis ). As more and more people choose to use natural and herbal remedies over chemical and synthetic skin care products, lotions, ointments, and creams, Calendula cream is a popular option as a skin therapy cream.
This dry skin cream is effective at combating excema due to the anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties of the Calendula flowers. It is becoming increasingly popular with mothers of newborns dealing with babies and dry skin, and now baby calendula cream and baby calendula ointment is often available at drug stores and pharmacies.
Due to its healing properties, calendula cream is also gaining notice as an alternative to aloe vera gel. Note: Calendula is a daisy-like flower, and is NOT of the same family as the native American Marigold. Calendula should NOT be ingested if you are pregnant.
Calendula Officinalis Through the Ages
The name Calendula comes from the Latin word kalendae, meaning first day of the month. The flowers were so named as they often appear to bloom at the beginning of the month in the Roman calendar. Used as far back as the time of the Saxons, they referred to Calendula as ymbglidegold, meaning “turns with the sun”, also referring to the regular blooming. The common name of Pot Marigold is thought to be derived from this Saxon word, but is also explained as a reference to the Virgin Mary, as the early follower’s of Christ referred to it as Mary’s Gold. References to Calendula appear in Roman, Egyptian, and Greek ancient works. Pot marigold petals were used by doctors during the American Civil War and World War I as a topical applicant to help slow the bleeding of the wounded. Introduced to India by the Portuguese, the orange and yellow petals of Calendula decorate Hindu shrines and holy temples and are a common ornament at Hindu weddings.
Uses of Calendula Cream and Calendula Oil
Calendula can be used for the following:
- diaper rash
- dry skin
- chapped lips
- chafed skin
- athlete’s foot
- stretch marks
- face cream
- bee stings
- chicken pox
- pimples and boils
- sore nipples from breast-feeding
- minor abrasions
- skin dermatitis
Recipe for Calendula Cream or Calendula Body Butter
Calendula cream can be made at home using this simple recipe – only 3 ingredients!
2 1/2 ounces (60 grams) of dried calendula flowers
18 ounces (500 grams) of organic vegetable shortening*
1 1/2 teaspoons of organic beeswax (available from your local health food store)
*Note: you can make Calendula Cream with clear or creamy petroleum jelly instead of the organic vegetable shortening if you wish. I have also heard of recipes that use a block of Crisco! The idea is to use something creamy as a base.
Combine dried flowers, beeswax, and shortening in a large, non-metallic bowl. Heat over boiling water for approximately 2 hours, but don’t allow the mixture to boil, just warm slowly and gently, and keep stirring to mix the flowers and beeswax in well – you don’t want any waxy lumps. Pour (while still warm) into clean, dark glass jars. Allow to cool, uncovered. Store in a cool location.
Recipe for Calendula Essential Oil
Calendula Oil can be used as for treating acne, eczema, diaper rash, and extremely dry skin. Here are two options for making Calendula Essential Oil at home:
Calendula Oil Recipe
9 ounces (250 grams) of dried Calendula Flowers OR 27 ounces (750 grams) of fresh Calendula Flowers
17 ounces (500 mls) of organic grapeseed oil or extra virgin olive oil
Heat these ingredients together in a double boiler or a bowl over boiling water for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool slightly, then pour into dark glass jar.
How to Make Calendula Oil Using the Immersion Method
This is the preferred method as there is no heating involved! Using the same ingredients as above, fill a large glass jar (the big pickle jars are great) with flowers. Cover with oil, and add a few drops of your favourite essential oils if you like. Cover and place on a sunny window ledge for 2-3 weeks. Your oil will now be ready to use. If you prefer a more concentrated oil, replace the flowers with fresh ones and leave for another 2-3 weeks.
Growing Calendula in Your Home or Garden
Calendula or Pot Marigold is hardy, easy to grow, and useful to have in your home garden, or even in a container on your patio or front porch. Buy a package of seeds, plant them in the pot or ground, water them, and watch them grow. Calendula grows best in a sunny location,and can be planted outdoors from early spring onwards (note: I am in Canada and this works well here). The seeds are large, easy to see, and your seedlings will generally start to flower about one-and-a-half months after you plant them.