Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spring has Sprung!

And with it - it's brought crazy sunny days and downpours of rain- typical NW weather. So I looked outside, yesterday, I was home with a mildly ill child and realized the calendula were calling my name. So we put on our rain boots- you know just in case, and walked out to the garden to see if there were any flowers wanting to be made into homemade plant medicine.
Calendula is a fabulous plant from the Marigold family ( I think.) It's been used for forever as a skin soother and healer. It's super easy to make an oil infusion with this delightful plant.
Begin by picking the flowers that have not quite opened. They should be just on the cusp of opening. These beautiful flowers are orange yellow and gold!  Set the flowers a on mesh like surface. Something breathable.  I use a wicker-like tray and dry for a day or two. Be sure that there is no water on your petals. Because water and oil don't mix! In fact it will create an environment perfect for bacterial growth.
Then once they are thoroughly dry, simply put the flower heads in a jelly jar and fill with Olive oil or Almond oil. Make sure the flowers are completely covered with oil. They should not be exposed to air once submerged in the oil. If they pop up- add more oil.
Every day or so turn the jar so that the plant material and oil are thoroughly mixed. The jar shown below is only half full because that's all the flowers we had in bloom at the time. So we'll slowly fill the jar over several weeks. Then after about 4-6 six weeks strain the flowers from the oil and voila! You have Calendula Infused Olive Oil.
This would be used as a topical treatment for scrapes or cuts. You can get fancy and melt down a little beeswax and add it to make a salve. Then it works really well to apply to just about anywhere on your body. It's a great skin care treatment as well. It could be use as a facial oil.
So try a little calendula infusion and tell me about it! I'd love to hear how it works for you!

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