Calendula, also known as Pot Marigold, is a beautiful and easy-to-grow flower with an amazing ability to reduce inflammation and promote wound healing. It’s also wonderful for aging skin as it tightens and hydrates. That makes it a perfect ingredient in this Calendula Oil Body Butter.
My body butter recipe is based on a one from The Herbal Academy’s new book, Botanical Skin Care Recipe Book. The recipe in the book is called Bathed in Flowers Body Butter, and the option is given to use a number of gentle herbs. I chose calendula flower as the herb in my recipe because of its amazing, gentle ability to heal. (Recipe used by permission).
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Growing and Harvesting Calendula
Calendula officinalis is a perennial in warmer climates, but can be grown as an annual in cooler climates. It grows 1 – 2 ‘ tall and prefers sunny to partly sunny locations.
Here in our zone 5b growing area, it is one of the easiest to grow plants in our garden. And while it is grown as an annual here, I’ve planted it only once. After blooming, it reseeds itself and we always have lots of calendula volunteers in the spring.
To harvest calendula, simply cut the entire flower head. You’ll want to use and dry the entire head, rather than just the petals, because much of the medicinal qualities are found on the resinous green base of the flower.
In our humid climate, I prefer to dry the flower heads in a dehydrator at about 100°F until thoroughly dry.
Are calendula and marigold the same thing?
Calendula is sometimes called Pot Marigold, but is in a different genus than the common Marigold. They are not interchangeable.
Calendula Flower Benefits
Calendula is a gentle, healing herb and is often used to help promote wound healing.
According to The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, calendula has been shown to reduce inflammation in laboratory studies. Because of this, it is often recommended to help heal inflammation after radiation therapy.
When I mentioned calendula on Instagram recently, my young niece commented, “I used a calendula ointment when going through radiation. Highly recommend it for skin issues!”
In addition, calendula:
- reduces burn tissue injury
- is antibacterial
- is anti-parasitic
- has been shown to reduce ear-ache
- is gentle enough for babies and effectively treats diaper rash
- may reduce dental plaque and gingivitis
- may help to heal gut issues
- helps to stimulate new skin growth
Cautions Concerning Calendula
Do not use calendula if you are allergic to plants in the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Safety data is lacking concerning pregnancy or lactation.
First – Make Calendula Infused Oil
Making an herb infused oil really is as simple as steeping quality herbs in a quality oil. Time and warmth are needed to allow the volatile oils in the herb to become infused in the oil.
To make the calendula oil, place dried calendula flower petals and olive oil in a jar. (See the recipe card below for specifics).
Cover your jar and place in a warm, dark cupboard for 4 – 6 weeks. For quicker methods of infusing oil see my post Five Ways to Make an Herb Infused Oil.
Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the flowers from the oil. Then press gently to get every last bit of oil and then compost the flower petals.
Your calendula infused oil is now ready to use in this Calendula Oil Body Butter Moisturizer.
What is Body Butter?
Whipped body butter is simply a skin moisturizer that is generally thicker than lotion. It is often homemade with quality ingredients like herb infused olive oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and beeswax.
How to Make Whipped Body Butter
To make this whipped body butter, place the beeswax and shea butter into the top of a double boiler. Heat gently until melted. Here’s how to make your own simple double boiler.
Then add the calendula infused olive oil and stir making sure the mixture is all melted.
Now remove the mixture from the heat, and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
Next, cover the mixture, and place it in the refrigerator for approximately 1 hour, or until there is no longer a semi-liquid center.
Remove the oil mixture from the refrigerator and add the Vitamin E oil.
Using an immersion blender or electric mixer, whip the mixture on high for 5 minutes, until it changes color and becomes fluffy, stopping to scrape the mixture from the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Pour the body butter into sterilized glass jars, label them, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.
To use, place a small amount of the calendula whipped body butter moisturizer on your skin and rub until absorbed.
Is Vitamin E a Natural Preservative?
I often see vitamin E listed in natural skin care recipes as a preservative, and you’ll notice that it is included in this body butter recipe.
Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant and will help to keep the oils in your recipe from going rancid. But it will do nothing to prevent your calendula lotion from forming mold and therefore should not be considered a preservative.
So, to keep your calendula body butter fresh, store it in the refrigerator for up to a year.
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Calendula Whipped Body Butter Moisturizer
- Place the dried calendula flower petals in a 2 cup jar. Pour the olive oil over the dried herb in the jar.
- Cover your jar and place in a warm, dark cupboard for 4 - 6 weeks. For quicker methods of infusing oil see my post Five Ways to Make an Herb Infused Oil.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the flowers from the oil. Press gently to get every last bit of oil. Add more olive oil if necessary to equal 2/3 cup infused calendula oil. Compost the flower petals.
- Place the beeswax and shea butter into the top of a double boiler. Heat gently until melted.
- Add the calendula infused olive oil and stir making sure the mixture is all melted.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator for approximately 1 hour, or until there is no longer a semi-liquid center.
- Add vitamin E oil.
- Using an immersion blender or electric mixer, whip the mixture on high for 5 minutes, until it changes color and becomes fluffy, stopping to scrape the mixture from the sides of the bowl when necessary.
- Pour the body butter into sterilized glass jars, label, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.
- To use, place a small amount of the calendula whipped body butter moisturizer on your skin and rub until absorbed.
Barnes J, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2002.
Akihisa T, Yasukawa K, Oinuma H, et al. Triterpene alcohols from the flowers of compositae and their anti-inflammatory effects. Phytochemistry. Dec 1996;43(6):1255-1260.
Szakiel A, Ruszkowski D, Grudniak A, et al. Antibacterial and Antiparasitic Activity of Oleanolic Acid and its Glycosides isolated from Marigold (Calendula officinalis).Planta Med. Nov 2008;74(14):1709-1715.
Panahi Y, Sharif MR, Sharif A, et al. A randomized comparative trial on the therapeutic efficacy of topical aloe vera and Calendula officinalis on diaper dermatitis in children. Scientific World Journal. 2012;2012:810234.
Khairnar MS, Pawar B, Marawar PP, Mani A. Evaluation of Calendula officinalis as an anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis agent. J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2013 Nov;17(6):741-7.
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