You know those pretty orange flowers that are blooming everywhere right now? They're on grassy slopes, sidewalk cracks, garden beds, you name it.
They're native wild calendulas and they're superb. AKA Nature's healer, Calendula has tons of beneficial uses.
From "How Stuff Works":
When looking for an herbal remedy to treat skin or wounds, think flower power -- or, more specifically, calendula. Its flowers, and occasionally its leaves, can be used to treat a variety of afflictions in different ways.
Calendula has a long history of use as a wound-healing and skin-soothing botanical. This lovely marigoldlike flower (although called pot marigold, it is not a true marigold) is considered a vulnerary agent, a substance that promotes healing. Calendula also has anti-inflammatory and weak antimicrobial activity. It is most often used topically for lacerations, abrasions, and skin infections; less commonly, it is used internally to heal inflamed and infected mucous membranes.
Uses of Calendula
Numerous topical preparations exist for external use. Calendula salve, for example, is a useful and versatile product to keep in the first-aid kit or home medicine chest. In addition to treating minor cuts and abrasions, the salve is great for chapped lips and diaper rash. You can use calendula teas as a mouthwash for gum and tooth infections, a gargle for sore throats and tonsillitis, and a sitz bath for genital inflammation or hemorrhoids. Or drink the tea to help treat bladder infections or stomach ulcers.
You can buy six packs at the nursery or start some from seeds, but the wild ones are out there and plentiful, so why not harvest some?
From Mountain Rose Herbs; a few recipes...
This medicinal oil is simple to prepare and has so many uses. The gentle, soothing, and healing oil is perfect for cradle cap, diaper rash, chapped or chafed skin, bruises, and sore or inflamed muscles. The oil can be used alone, or incorporated into salves, massage oils, lip balms, ointments, creams, and lotions.
Organic Olive oil
Organic Calendula flowers
1. Place Calendula flowers in a clean, dry glass jar. If using fresh Calendula, wilt for 12 hours to remove most of the moisture (too much moisture will cause the oil to go rancid) before adding to the jar. Pour olive oil into the jar, making sure to cover the flowers by at least 1” of oil so they will have space to expand. Stir well and cap the jar tightly.
2. Place the jar in a warm, sunny windowsill and shake once or more per day.
3. After 4-6 weeks, strain the herbs out using cheesecloth. Pour the infused oil into glass bottles and store in a cool dark place.
Heat Method: I prefer to infuse oils utilizing the solar or folk method described above, but heat can be applied if you need the oil quickly. To prepare, follow step 1 from above, but place the Olive oil and Calendula flowers in an uncovered container. Warm over low heat at approximately 100 degrees F for at least 3-5 hours, the longer the better. A yogurt maker, double boiler, or inside the oven with a pilot light on are all effective ways to heat the oil, just make sure to check the temperature occasionally to ensure that the oil isn’t getting too warm. Once the oil has infused, strain out the herbs using cheesecloth and package the infused oil into glass bottles.
A soothing and healing salve. Rub into sore or inflamed muscles, apply to minor cuts, scrapes, insect bites, rashes, diaper rashes, stretch marks, chapped lips, chafed skin, bruises, and other skin irritations.
4 oz Calendula flower infused herbal oil (from above recipe)
½ oz Beeswax
20 drops organic Lavender essential oil (optional)
Coarsely chop the beeswax or use beeswax pastilles. Melt beeswax and Calendula oil over a double boiler. Once melted, remove from burner and stir in the Lavender essential oil. Pour into tins or glass jars. Allow to cool thoroughly before using or placing caps on the jars.
This nourishing lip balm is made from healing ingredients which soothe dry and chapped lips.
1 Tablespoon Shea Butter
3 Tablespoons Calendula Herbal Oil (from above recipe)
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Beeswax
10-15 drops essential oil of choice
A few drops of Vitamin E Oil
Coarsely chop the beeswax or use beeswax pastilles. Place beeswax, butter, and oil in a small pot or glass Pyrex measuring cup and gently heat in the top of a double boiler until the beeswax and butters have melted. Once melted, remove from the stovetop and stir in the essential oil and Vitamin E Oil. Immediately pour the mixture into lip balm tubes or small containers. This recipe will make approximately 1.5 oz of lip balm, enough to fill 10 lip balm tubes, 6 of your 1/4 oz plastic jars, or 3 1/2 oz tins or plastic jars.
- See more at: http://mountainroseblog.com/healing-calendula/#sthash.WHSCMG1i.dpuf
Our Treat of the Month for March is the ever-delicious, savory and beneficial Chicken, Sunflower Seed & Calendula [with Joint Support!] They're on special at 15% off, try some today. Your lucky dog will thank you for it...Cheers & Woofs, Ma Snax