13 Jun 2019

How to use fresh calendula to make a soothing oil

Yellow and gold calendula flowerheads with a jar of calendula oil

Let me say right now that I've only just made this for the first time because it sounded so lovely. Calendula (pot marigold) has so many uses; not only is it a cheerful, pretty flower with edible petals, it's also a good companion plant in the garden deterring hornworm (the caterpillar that may eat/destroy tomato plants) and it's known to be beneficial for skin complaints.  Combine it with the moisturising and antioxidant qualities of olive oil (or sweet almond oil) and you have an effective natural remedy for cuts, grazes, sunburn or for soothing dry skin.

I've been inspired by several large clumps of calendula flowers growing in the grounds here to try this project - after all, who wouldn't love something to soothe muscles or soften work weary hands after a gardening session?

A drift of yellow calendula flowers growing among weeds.

This large square border is not far from the 'veg patch' and, despite having some lovely roses growing in it, it's not maintained at the moment so is full of weeds.  Whenever I pass this border I yank a few of those weeds out and dream of a time when the border could be filled with wildflowers surrounding the roses.  I've not yet had the time to hoe off the weeds and sprinkle wildflower seeds but nature stepped in a couple of summers back and filled the space with deep burgundy snapdragons, yellow vetch, wild opium poppies and calendula. I might have had a hand in spreading the calendula seeds ;)

Yellow vetch and tall pink opium poppies growing under the roses.

Normally I'd leave the calendula flowers to cheer up the day for anyone walking past but there are so  many flowers this year that I thought I'd just pop out and collect a few - about 20 to start with but needed more so went back for another plunder.

The process:

  • Pick 20-30 flower heads (best to avoid any with greenfly or aphids) 
  • Fill a clean jar half way with the flowers (whole heads or petals) 
  • Top up with the chosen oil and close with a lid. (Light olive oil, sweet almond oil)
  • Leave in a cool, dark place for 3 to 4 weeks, shaking the jar occasionally to help infusion.
  • After the long wait, strain the oil through a muslin cloth, pressing the flower heads to extract all the last drops of goodness. 
  • Decant into another clean bottle or jar, ready for use. Don't forget to label it.
The infused oil is best stored in a cool, dark place where it should keep for a year if the oil was freshly bought. If not, store until the 'best by' date of the oil used.


I'm comforted by knowing that this oil has no nasties in it, just organically grown flowers and oil of my choosing. I'm looking forward to using a few drops of this to combat dry skin on my feet and as an after-bath soothing muscle rub following a day of bending and stretching in the garden!

My next step will be to combine the oil with beeswax to make some gardener's hand salve which I read about recently on Tanya's website, Lovely Greens. It's a good read, lots of info, link here.


  1. Calendula is also used in shampoos. A versatile plant!

    1. Oh, wow, I didn't know that! Now you've set me off on a new mission to discover how to make calendula shampoo - could be a cost effective exercise!

  2. Ooooh, what an interesting project. I look forward to seeing how this works out.xxx


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