Calendula, or marigolds, are one of the most potent medicinal plants around, and their abundance puts them within easy reach of most of us. They are very easy to grow, and you can process them into remedies that can target a wide-range of ailments and conditions. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of calendula as well as how to to make your own remedies with ease.
Calendula is loaded with a particular type of antioxidant called flavonoids. This compound found in the flower is well-known for treating everything from skin conditions to being used as an anti-inflammatory agent. People who suffer from pink eye to eczema and rashes to insect bites. People have used calendula ointment to soothe muscle aches, cramps and sprains. Reducing acne, skin ulcers, varicose veins, warts, fungal infections, sore throats and mouth sores have also been attributed to calendula. These are just a few examples from a long list of conditions that calendula has been known to relieve. In other words, this is definitely something that you want to have in your first aid kit or medicine cabinet on the homestead.
Making Calendula Extract
The best way to draw out the compounds that give calendula its medicinal properties is by infusing it with oil. Olive oil is the best option to consider, since it is tremendously healthy in and of itself. However, you can use other oils if you’re in a pinch. There are two basic methods to consider using at home. One is to take a handful of calendula petals and place them in a mason jar. Fill the jar up with olive oil and cover with the lid. Place the jar in a window that receives abundant sunlight for about a month. Once the infusion is finished, simply strain the leaves and any debris in the liquid before storing in a cool and dry place.
The other option is to let the calendula petals dry out before placing them in a small saucepan. Add the olive oil (or oil of your choice) until it is about an inch above the petals. Place over low heat and stir occasionally for about four hours. Remove from heat, strain and allow the infusion to cool before attaching the lid and storing in a cool and dry place as well. Keep in mind that this option will produce a finished product that is not as potent as the method above because the high heat will kill off some of the nutrients in the plant. However, it will still work, and it’s a great option to consider if you quickly need to make a batch.
The tea form is the easiest way to extract nutrients from the flowers. Simply pull the petals from the stem of a flower and place them in a cup. Use one teaspoon of petals for every cup of water. Bring the water to a boil, pour over the petals and allow it to steep for about 4-5 minutes before drinking. This is a great remedy for internal problems such as heartburn or nausea.
You can also make calendula ointments and creams by using the extract outlined above and mixing it with your favorite bases such as petroleum jelly, coconut oil or shea butter.
Make sure to always have a pot of marigolds growing inside during the cold weather months, and keep some plants near your garden during the summer. That way, you will only be a few steps away from having access to one of the most beneficial natural remedies out there that can soothe a wide-range of ailments.