Homemade Calendula Salve

CalendulaNearing the end of summer, my herb garden is ready for harvest!

This post is written by contributing writer, Michele.

A homemade Calendula Salve is a staple in my homemade remedies box. It is the perfect treatment for chapped hands and faces (such as from winter winds, gardening, or babies’ teething drool), soothing little ones’ scraped knees, or mild burns.

I purchase organic herb seeds inexpensively from Mountain Rose Herbs, along with saving seeds from previous harvests (the most frugal option!) to plant in my garden. If you don’t have access to the fresh flowers, you can also find bulk dried calendula flowers from Mountain Rose Herbs or your local natural food/herb store. If you are harvesting your own flowers, pick the petals later in the morning, after the dew dries, but before the noon heat sets in.

To prepare my Calendula Salve, I have used Hemp Oil, which has a very high percentage of Essential Fatty Acids, and can be especially nourishing for skin conditions, such as eczema or dry skin, while being non-greasy and easily absorbed into skin. However, Olive Oil (which typically has a longer shelf-life) could be substituted instead.

When preparing the salve, make sure not to overheat it! Both the oil and the petals must be kept over low heat to prevent “cooking” them.

This is also a wonderful project for incorporating into learning a home with little ones! They love to harvest the petals, and sprinkle/stir them into the pot, before you turn on the heat. (I prepared my most recent batch along with my own daughter, as well as my visiting youngest sister.)

Salve

Calendula Salve

  • 2 Cups Calendula Petals (not the entire flower “heads”)
  • 1 Cup Hemp or Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Beeswax Pastilles/Pellets
  • 10 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
  1. Pour calendula petals into a stainless steel pot, and add oil. Turn on low heat, and stir to combine. Watch for tiny bubbles in the oil to gauge the temperature- it should not get any warmer than the “tiny bubbles stage!” Continue stirring occasionally over the next 2 hours, keeping the oil gently warm.
  2. Meanwhile, begin gently melting the beeswax in the top of a double boiler (don’t let this get too hot; you’ll want it to be a similar temperature as the oil, when you combine the two).
  3. After 2 hours, strain the petals from the oil. (You can use a fine-meshed strainer, tea filters, or cheesecloth.) Squeeze/press out as much of the oil as you can into a bowl. Then slowly pour the oil into the melted beeswax in the double boiler, stirring to combine. Then stir in the drops of lavender essential oil. (The oil acts as a “preservative,” as well as being a healing and calming ingredient.)
  4. Pour the warm oil into small jars/containers, and allow to cool. Avoid using clear glass, if possible. Choose containers (such as white plastic cosmetic containers or amber/cobalt-colored glass jars) that will help protect the salve from sunlight. (I repurpose containers from purchased shea or cocoa butters.) Store in a cool place.

About Michele

Michele and her husband Calvin live a simple & sustainable life in rural Washington with their two- going on three- (busy!) little ones at Hampton Creek Inn. She takes joy in the daily ministry of delving into creativity, traditional homemaking & hospitality, homeschooling in everyday moments, and smooching her husband in the woods. Michele loves encouraging women and equipping them for frugal, natural living through her blog, Frugal Granola.

51 Responses to Homemade Calendula Salve

  1. Tammy Cruz September 12, 2013 at 6:35 am #

    I have made this oil without heat. Wrap the 2 cups of petals in cheesecloth and tie (I just tie the ends together). Put the bundle in a quart sized glass mason jar and cover the bundle completely with your chosen oil (I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Shake it every day, and let it sit sit for 4-6 weeks (you can leave it longer, but at least wait the 4 weeks). then just pour the oil into a pan, squeeze the bag of petals to get out the rest of the oil, heat the oil on low until warm, then add your beeswax. Remove it from the heat, add your lavender, and cool. I stir mine several times during the cooling process to avoid lumps.

  2. Karly August 1, 2013 at 6:19 am #

    I have homegrown calendula petals and I’m planning to make this cream, but I don’t have the lavender. Is the lavender necessary? What does it add to the cream? Thank you!!

    • Michelle September 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

      Karly, I’m guessing the Lavender EO adds some preservative benefits, in addition to healing benefits. I encourage you to make this. It is an awesome, healing salve. I make ours with Hemp Oil, storing extra in the fridge.

  3. Nicole September 6, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    I love making calendula salve and using it for my family. The last batch I made has recently formed lighter yellow chunks in it. It does not look like mold and the salve smells the same. Any idea what this could be? It almost looks like the beeswax or Shea butter ( i use a mixture of the two) is solidifying.

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola May 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

      Yes, it probably is the beeswax or Shea butter that is appearing. I’ve heard that can happen. :)

  4. sarah thompson May 8, 2012 at 4:36 am #

    hi is this salve good for a diaper cream as well?

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola May 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

      Yes, it certainly could be! I have used it for our babies. Some cloth diapers (such as velour) may build up an oil residue, though.

  5. Jessica March 13, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Hi Lindsay! I bought a small bottle of calendula oil (olive oil extract) thinking I could use that to make calendula salve but I wanted to double check with you. If so, how would it fit in to your recipe? Thanks!

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola May 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

      You would skip directly to step 3, where you add the beeswax to the oil. :)

  6. Muniyrah February 1, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Hi Michelle – my son and I have eczema and my grandbabies have dry skin so this natural and soothing salve was perfect! I have a couple of questions though. Can I use the Calendula petals again? Do I have to refrigerate? And what how long will it stay fresh?

    Thanks again,
    Muniyrah

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola May 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

      No, I don’t recommend using the petals again. Hopefully, all their benefits were infused into the oil the first time, Just discard them into the compost. You don’t have to refrigerate (it might last longer, but would probably get too firm to use). The essential oils help preserve it. It will probably last at least a few months (we always seem to use it up quickly, so I’m not sure).

      • Michelle September 2, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

        Thought I’d share what I do with the petals after making this WONDERFUL salve (using Hemp Oil). I make a tea from them, and then I use the tea as a hair rinse. It has a very nice, moisturizing effect on the hair.

  7. Linda September 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Michele,

    About how much does this make in ounces?

  8. Kristal June 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    Hi ….

    I made my first calendula infused oil today using olive oil. My beautiful 4 month old little girl has ecezma. I combined the dried calendula with the olive oil in a pot and simmered on low heat (#2 on a electric stove) for two hours. I let the infused mixture cool down before handling. When I went to strain out the flowers, they were brown and crispy. I strained the oil several times and stored it in a brown bottle. From reading all the articles, they clearly say “Do not burn or fry the petals”. Can I still used the ifused calendula oil? I am thinking I should start over. Please advise… thanks

    • Judy November 9, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

      Hi,

      I worked with an homeopathic allergist for 5 years. I learned one thing in particular that I can pass on very easily. For a person with ecezma, I would avoid these foods
      tomatoes and tomato products, eggs, sugar, dark drinks, all grains except guinoa, spelt and amaranth, dairy (use alternate sources besides milk), citrus, chocolate. You can start by avoiding one thing first for 5 days and notice any changes in symptoms. My friend had bleeding IBS. She started the same avoid food plan and started with all grains and sugar. She was cured almost immediately…no spasms, no diarrhea, no constipation and no abdominal pain. I promise…and she is loosing weight and gets into smaller pants that she only dreamed of fitting into. She cheated a few times and immediately paid the price with cramps and diarrhea…..it’s a miracle.

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola May 23, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      Yes, I think you could still use it. :)

  9. geneva November 16, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    HI,
    I added some comfrey root powder and coconut oil. Its very nice. Regarding the temp. I kept it at low for 2 hours and never noticed bubbles forming in the oil, the dried calendula did seem a little bit burned looking almost after the time. I was wondering if a no heat method would be better. Such as letting the flowers sit in the oil for a period of time (how long?) I had one other question. Do you have a suggestion for a herbal remedies book that has more information on herb and there healing properties and also recipes?
    GEneva

  10. Kristina @ Crunchy Soup September 20, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    What a wonderful Christmas gift idea!

  11. Kathy September 19, 2010 at 10:58 pm #

    Michele, what do you mean by “tiny bubbles stage”? I had it on a very low heat (2 on an electric burner) and came back from nursing my little one and it had tiny bubbles, but they were kind of noisy like a low boil. Does this mean my oil is ruined? If I did cook it too high does that just make the oil less shelf stable or does it ruin the herbal properties? I’m so bummed because I used all the flowers from my garden and I don’t think there is any way I am going to get enough more this year to make another batch!

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola September 28, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

      Hi, Kathy! I miss you, by the way.
      Anyway, I would guess that your salve is still usable. It probably was a bit higher in heat than necessary, but not too bad, it sounds. There are some nourishing properties in oils that can be damaged with high heat, but it doesn’t necessarily make it ineffective for the rest of the healing properties, I would think. Plus, you didn’t burn your flowers, so the healing properties from their essential oils are probably still ok. :) I’d say go ahead and use it, and see if it works for you. I’d hate to throw it out.
      Hug your sweet little ones for me!
      Michele

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  13. Bethanie September 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    I have flowers in my front flower bed that were planted before we moved in. They seem to be very hardy, last all summer (although don’t do so well once it gets hot here in Northern VA) and have yellow and orange flowers that look just like the photo on your post. I’d love to try making the salve, but would prefer not to buy the flowers if I have them here at home! ;) Any ideas of how to figure out what they might be? Don’t want to make a salve with the wrong herb! Any help would be great!
    Thanks!

    • Michele September 2, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

      Bethanie, Perhaps try checking around to see if a local garden center or herb store could help you identify the plants. Pick a couple, and take them in, to see if they could assist you. Calendula is usually a pretty simple one to identify, once you learn to recognize it, so someone should be able to help, I’d think. :)

      Blessings,
      Michele

    • Danielle September 4, 2010 at 7:24 am #

      Thanks so much for this recipe! Can’t wait to try it! Both of my kids have super sensitive skin that gets so itchy! Calendula creams have been a blessing but I’ve been spending an arm and a leg but it’s the only thing that brings them relief! Hopefully this will work and will save a little bit of money! Thanks for all you girls do!

  14. Tracy September 2, 2010 at 5:07 am #

    I live in South Africa where I have just not yet been able to find bees wax pellets. Can I leave the wax out and use it as a healing oill? I have a little red-headed girl with highly sensitive skin and I find myself using lots of herbs and essential oils for everything from bee stings to excema (she is an adventurous, outdoors child so we have plenty of scrapes, bites, burns and bruises to make better).

    • Michele September 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

      Yes, Tracy, you can certainly make a calendula-infused oil to use, instead of a salve! Great idea!

      Blessings,
      Michele

  15. Nisha September 2, 2010 at 4:35 am #

    Hi,

    This is great! Yesterday, when my toddler got a booboo, I wished that I had some homemade salve to put on it, instead of the commercial brand my hubby found. I really want to start making my own homemade remedies for diaper rash, skin care, etc. How does one get started?

    Thanks so much for this article!

  16. Joanna September 1, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    Hi Michele!
    I have a friend whose son has terrible eczema. I plan on making this to hopefully help this little guy.

    Quick question if I may…Do I still use 2 cups of Calendula flowers if they are dried?

    Thank you so much!

    Blessings,
    Joanna :)

    • Michele September 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

      Hi, Joanna,
      My dried petals really haven’t shrunk much from the fresh ones, so I would still use 2 cups. You could use up to 3 cups of fresh petals, but I try to be frugal and make my ingredients “stretch.” :)

      Hopefully this will help that sweet little one!
      Blessings,
      Michele

      • Joanna September 3, 2010 at 6:16 am #

        Thank you Michele for replying back. I pray it helps him. His mom is hardly getting sleep because of his crying and itching at night. Bless their hearts.

  17. Joy Y. September 1, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    Wonderful tutorial! At the natural living class a friend and I facilitate, we did a class on herbs and the like recently….and this is a great addition to that! Thank you! One more thing on the to do list before baby #5 arrives! How long would you say it lasts if you do the hemp oil version?

    • Michele September 1, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

      I add the lavender oil to my homemade remedies, which helps extend their shelf life (it has an antimicrobial/preservative effect). I’ve never compared the difference in shelf-life between using the olive oil & the hemp oil (just in general, olive oil does well as a shelf-stable oil, while I refrigerate hemp oil). As a couple others have mentioned, coconut oil could be a good alternative option, too.

      I’ve never had a salve “spoil,” so I really can’t say for sure how long one would last. We go through them pretty quickly- like within the year. If anyone wants to experiment, let me know! :)

      Blessings,
      Michele

  18. Debbie September 1, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    I just made my own calendula ointment as well a couple of weeks ago! So happy to see this post! Easy to do and non-toxic. Doesn’t get much better than that!

  19. HereWeGoAJen September 1, 2010 at 7:56 am #

    That looks great! We’ll have to try it.

  20. Sunny September 1, 2010 at 6:58 am #

    I was just thinking about calendula this morning. I woke up with a huge cystic acne bump on my cheek. I have read that calendula can help with acne and healing redness from acne scars. I am looking forward to trying this. Hopefully I can report back with good news in a few weeks.

    • Michele September 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

      Let us know how it goes, Sunny! :) You might want to add some tea tree oil to yours, too, to help treat the acne. It has good antimicrobial properties.

      Blessings,
      Michele

      • Sunny September 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

        Quick question. I hoped to find the calendula petals available nearby, but I think I am going to have to order them from mountain rose herbs. The smallest size is 4 oz. Is that enough or should I order the next size up?

  21. amanda September 1, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    I do something similar in my crockpot with coconut oil. I use the warm setting and let it do it’s thing for 2 days. I’ve also put in other things like comfrey and plantain.

    To the person that asked, coconut oil will work and it will last longer. I have done this without the pellets and keep it in the fridge. If strained really well, it will last even longer :)

    • Michele September 1, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

      Great idea to use the crockpot, Amanda! :) Thanks for the coconut oil tip.

      • amanda September 2, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

        You’re most welcome :) I’m actually making some ear oil in my crock pot on the warm setting today. I can’t wait to see how it turns out :)

    • erica September 1, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

      Will it matter what type of container you store the coconut oil concoction in if it’s in the fridge? I use glass jars for everything…and coconut oil…LOVE that stuff!

  22. Mrs. Graham Gardens September 1, 2010 at 5:27 am #

    Wonderful tutorial, MIchele!

  23. Carrie September 1, 2010 at 4:33 am #

    So glad to see this. Our local herb farm sells dried calendula for very cheap, just a few dollars for a bag. Could you use coconut oil for this instead of hemp or olive oil?

    • Cindy September 1, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

      Carrie, I already have dried calendula and from your post it seems I can use these. Please let me know for sure and I will certainly be trying it!
      Thanks, Michelle for the post!

      • Michele September 1, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

        Yes, I have used dried calendula petals! :)

  24. Jennifer September 1, 2010 at 3:48 am #

    I use my store bought calendula salve for everything! I never thought of actually making it myself – what a great idea!

  25. Lain September 1, 2010 at 2:57 am #

    This looks like so much fun to make – I can almost smell it! Do you use a dedicated pot for this type of “cooking?”

    • Michele September 1, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

      No, I just use a regular stainless steel cooking pot. It doesn’t leave any damage/residue. :)

  26. Bridie September 1, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    Awesome!!! I’m slowly building up my herb garden so I’ll definitely be adding calendula to the list :) Thanks Michele great post as usual!