Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How to Make Calendula Medicine ~ Home Apothecary Series

"In the Middle Ages, many plants were renamed
'Mary's Gold' in honor of the Virgin Mary."

Although the calendula (also known as "pot marigold") is a bright and beautiful flower, it also boasts some bold medicinal benefits! They are a nutrient dense, antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-fungal, healing and pain-relieving plant. There are multiple ways to utilize this herb making it quite the fun little flower!

“Here’s flowers for you;
Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram;
The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun,
And with him rises weeping…”
~ William Shakespeare

Externally: "healing chapped skin, wounds, inflammation, diaper rash, fungal infections, bacterial infections, burns, stings, and bites of any kind... antiseptic, antibacterial, hemostatic, emollient (softens skin)..."

Internally: "Because calendula soothes and boosts mucus membranes, it is good for sore throats, digestive upsets, ulcers (in the mouth or elsewhere in the digestive tract), internal swelling, lymph issues, infections, and relieving pain... good at dispelling the fever, moving infections out of the body, keeps the lymph system moving properly on those cold, damp winter nights, helps immune system fight cold and flus..."

~ "Excerpts" from The Herbal Goddess*

{*Note: As with all herbal books, I glean the scientific, medicinal information and do not endorse any new-age, mythological or magical teachings. I am a Christian woman who seeks the Lord for all her healing needs and also seeks wisdom to learn about the healing herbs He created.}

The calendula flower (pot marigold) may be growing in your backyard! In order to properly identify it from the "common marigold", visit this post. You will also find instructions on drying your foraged flowers. If you aren't able to find calendula, you can always purchase some {here} so that you may prepare these simple medicinal projects.

How to Make a Calendula Tincture

One way to preserve the calendula flower for use as a medicine {and with an excellent shelf life} is to prepare a tincture. To learn how to make a tincture and the proper dosages, visit here (alcohol or vinegar based in this case).

This tincture can be used in salves (our recipe is shared below) or applied to bites, itches, stings and/or diluted with water as a sore throat gargle. According to the Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs, calendula tincture can be used as "an effective mouthwash against gum infections and mouth ulcers and also as a topical anti fungal agent for some skin conditions". A soaked dressing in calendula tincture can also be applied to help heal leg ulcers.

For sensitive conditions, dilute a dropperful of tincture (1/4 tsp.) in a cup of water prior to using.

How to Make Calendula Infused Medicinal Oil 

For instructions on making a calendula medicinal oil, visit here. You can apply this herbal oil onto skin rashes, eczema, swollen lymph nodes, cradle cap, cracked nipples from breastfeeding, stretch marks or use as a massage oil. You can also use this oil as a base for balms, lovely lotions, nourishing skin creams and salves (shared below).

Calendula Medicinal Salve DIY
  • 1/2 cup of calendula infused oil (see tutorial above to make the infused oil)
  • 1/8 cup of grated beeswax (or beeswax pastilles which are very convenient)
  • 3 tsp. calendula tincture (omit this tincture for a milder salve for baby)
Directions: In a double boiler, gently heat your calendula infused oil for a few minutes. Add in your beeswax and stir occasionally until melted together. Once melted, slowly add your calendula tincture while stirring in. Continue to stir for one more minute. Remove your mixture from heat. I usually stir for another minute before pouring liquid into salve tins, recycled baby food jars or tiny mason jars. Salve will firm up within the hour or so.

Consistency Tip: You can dip a spoon into the salve in its liquid state and place it in the freezer for a few minutes. If it is too firm for you, reheat and add in more oil. If it is too soft for your liking, reheat and add in more wax.

Variations: Add 5 drops of lavender essential oil for a stronger skin salve or 5 drops of tea tree oil for an anti-fungal salve. Let mixture cool a few minutes before stirring in the essential oils (if you choose to add them) because the oils will evaporate if the mixture is too hot. You can also replace 1/4 to 1/2 of your calendula infused oil with some lavender infused oil. Recipe can be doubled. This can also be made without the tincture for a milder salve.

This healing salve can be used for injured or infected skin concerns such as bites, burns, stings, rashes, cuts, inflammation, chapped skin, wounds, dry skin conditions, leg ulcers, fungal and/or bacterial infections. It should last for six months to one year if stored in a cool, dark location.

Calendula Healing Lip Balm {DIY} for Chapped and Dry Skin Too

To prepare a calendula healing lip balm, visit our simple tutorial here.  This is a gentle and nourishing balm that is quite easy to make and will be a blessing to those dry, chapped lips.

Calendula Cold and Flu Elixir and/or Oxymel Recipe

To learn how to make an effective cold and flu herbal medicine featuring the calendula flower, visit here. This can also be used as a natural immune system booster.

Calendula Floral Salve and Lip Gloss Recipe

To learn how to make lovely, all-purpose feminine skin salve and tinted lip gloss featuring the calendula flower, visit here

Prepare a Calendula Tisane (Herbal Tea Blend) with a Variety of Uses

Finally, you can also prepare a calendula based tea. It will help to sooth a sore throat (try gargling with it), aid in digestion and ease menstrual problems by acting as a menstrual regulator. Because it is anti fungal, it is also used for treating candida.

"Calendula tea is also useful both internally and externally (as a wash or poultice) to moderate fever, keeping it from rising too high. The flower’s mild astringent and antiseptic properties are helpful for treating gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers (mixed with marsh mallow root) and cramps (mixed with valerian or cramp bark), indigestion (mixed with peppermint), and diarrhea (alone or mixed with blackberry root)." Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide 

Calendula tea can also be applied to minor cuts and scrapes to clean them and promote healing (source).

Soaking a small piece of cotton in calendula tea can be used as a compress to treat styes. Gently apply warm infusion to affected area until cool. Repeat process several times a day with a fresh compress (until infections subsides).

An infusion of the flowers can be used as a brightening rinse for blond or red hair (source). After shampooing and/or conditioning hair, squeeze out excess water and apply calendula tea infusion liberally. Squeeze out excess liquid, do not rinse (use a dark towel for this as you don't want to stain a light one). Hair that is chemically treated may not give desired results.

Any leftover calendula tea could be added to your bath water for a lovely and healing soak (or tie some flowers into a handkerchief and let the hot water from the tub run through it to produce a nourishing skin bath.

Misc. Musings and Mothering Applications

Sprinkle some calendula petals in a salad for decoration and nourishment. Because it is edible, it will also make a lovely garnish.

Calendula is a safe herb for baby and can help clear cradle cap and diaper rash (try the salve for this) while the tea infusion can help with thrush. I used calendula cream on our daughter's face rash as a baby and had wonderful results.

You can also make a baby and/or body powder with dried calendula. Combine 1 1/2 cups of arrowroot, 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of dried calendula (finely powdered), 1/2 cup of rice flour (or non-GMO cornstarch) in a food processor or blender for about 15 seconds. Slowly stir in 20 drops of either Roman chamomile or lavender essential oil. Blend for another 15 seconds. Store in an airtight container for 3 days to allow the herbs to permeate the mixture. Apply as you would any body powder. This should keep for approx. one year. Recipe adapted from Organic Body Care Recipes.

{Note: Pregnant and/or nursing women should not take calendula internally though it is safe externally.}

Calendula Link Up

Do you have any recipes, gardening tips or herbal information on calendula usage? We would love for you to share with us! We are currently hosting an all about calendula link up and hope you will join in!

Printable Information Sheets for Your Herbal {Our Printable Herbal is Here}:

Calendula Fact Sheet by W.J. Beal Botanical Garden
Calendula (Herbal Information Sheet) by Annie's Place to Learn

Further Reading and Recipes:

14 Uses for Calendula by Herbal Academy of New England
Things to Do with Calendula by The Nerdy Farm Wife
Calendula Foot Soak Recipe by Vintage Remedies

Don't know where to find calendula flowers? I purchase my supplies here {affiliate links}:


This article is a part of our Create Your Own Home Pharmacy Series.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified herbalist but a homemaker interested in the arts of natural healing. The information I have learned has been gleaned through study of some of the following favorite books; Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's GuideGrow Your Own Drugs by James Wong, and The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs by Reader's Digest and websites of herbalists (such as the Bulk Herb Store Blog).

I am not a doctor. While I do seek scientific confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of the herbs and remedies I use, remember that using remedies is a personal decision. Nothing I say on this blog is approved by the FDA or intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. All things on this blog are my opinion or the opinion of others. Also, if you have a medical condition, are taking pharmaceutical drugs, or are pregnant, please consult your physician prior to taking herbs.


  1. This is a really good post on calendula, JES. The photos and information are all excellent. And I adore the word "tisane" as it adds a lovely French touch to an otherwise regular cup of calendula tea.

  2. Thanks for providing such wonderful information about calendula all in one place JES! I love calendula, as it does wonders with skin problems. I am planning to grow several plants this year. Thanks for the great post!

  3. Thanks for the great tips! I make a calendula salve for summertime stings and scratches. It is wonderful on my hands after a day in the garden! ;-) -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  4. I bought some calendula seeds to grow this year! I searched through your blog to figure out what herbs I needed to grow to make my own "home pharmacy." Thanks for the inspiration and help, pinning so I'll have it when I have plants growing!

  5. I love this. I wished I still had some in the garden. Maybe next year I will start some again.

  6. This is wonderful. Thank God for these healing plants. I really hope to do some gardening too.
    God Bless.

  7. This is one flower I have never grown...I'm in love with its sunny disposition! Your photos are very, very lovely, too :) ((Hugs))

  8. I just found a bag of dried calendula flowers that my sister gave me a week or so ago that I forgot about and today you have all these wonderful recipes! Great post! (found you on Awesome Life Fridays)

  9. Thanks- I never knew this. The flower is so pretty and your photos are fantastic!


  10. Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  11. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and ideas with us at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

  12. This looks so helpful! I have used essential oils for a while, but I'm still learning about how to use various herbs. I'll have to try making the salve for my little guy.

  13. What a great post! I love my calendula and include it as part of an herbal infusion. It's so nice having a compilation of other ways to try it too! Thank you for sharing with Wildcrafting Wednesday! :)

  14. Yes, I always use calendula emulsion for small cuts, it really helps.

  15. Great post. Herbs can be so helpful to our health if only people learn to use them. You have provided a lot of important and helpful information. Shared on Twitter & Pinterest. Visiting from Wildcrafting Wednesday.

  16. Good morning, dear JES! How are you on this fine Wednesday?

    Your posts are always a highlight of the day for me....I know I can count on learning something new and useful from you :) Thank you so much for sharing this lovely and helpful post with Roses of Inspiration - it is such a blessing to have you link up. Hugs!

  17. I didn't know marigolds could be so useful. I only use them in my garden to keep plants away.

  18. Just want to say thank you so much! Have really enjoyed all the amazing info on your blog. Have spent much of the day here, lol.

    1. How kind of you to comment so sweetly! Glad you have enjoyed your visit here! :)

  19. I grew calendula last year in my garden but then didn't know what to do with it. Pinning this so I will this year. #HomesteadingBlogHop

  20. Thanks for adding to #FromTheFarm! Another great favorite!

  21. This reminds me, I really need to plant some calendula.

    Thank you for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop.