Calendula oil benefits your skin like few oils can. It’s soothing, healing and can help with fungal infections, rashes, sunburns, and so much more.
In fact, although it is generally used as a base for body care ointments, the beautiful flower is also used to create a CO2 extract or absolute that is rich in healing compounds like alpha-cadinol, which is heralded for anti-cancer properties. (1)
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Calendula Herbal Oil as a Base
When researching calendula oil uses, we find that calendula is an edible flower that is widely regarded in the botanical remedies world. It’s included in organic gardens for its ability to detract detrimental bugs, proving itself as a valuable companion plant and addition to any garden. In fact, the practice of brewing calendula tea and using it as an insect spray, is getting renewed attention in garden circles.
The bright golden petals of a calendula flower are rich in medicinal compounds. Some of the earliest remedies using calendula would have utilized these components even without the availability of more complex extraction methods. Calendula can be used in simple herbal preparations like poultices and teas, and in more potent (but still simple!) preparations like herbal oil infusions.
When the active components of calendula petals are macerated in carrier oil, that oil becomes a calendula infusion, carrying both the original benefits and that of the calendula itself. Some of the volatile content will find its way into this kind of preparation, as well, making it a win/win/win formulation.
Ideal for: balms, salves, and lotions, diluting essential oils, and direct topical application.
4 Incredible Calendula Oil Uses
Calendula undoubtedly utilizes its CO2 extracts, absolutes or infused oils for the legendary beneficial companion plant actions it executes. The ability to harness those actions and apply them to our health and wellness goals is rather exciting, don’t you think?
Whether you prefer the standalone extract or the combination of volatile content alongside full medicinal compounds extracted within carrier oil, there are some overarching and incredible actions you will benefit from. Here are the top four to consider, keeping in mind that these are broad actions that can cover a range of applications.
Throughout history, calendula oil has been used as an antibacterial treatment for wound care. In World War 1 and previous wars, calendula was a primary first-aid herbal oil included in balms, creams, or poultices to keep infection at bay. If not in a poultice, an extract or infusion of calendula was most likely to be used in their preparations, retaining medicinal properties in a usable form.
An article in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine demonstrates calendula’s ability to soothe and heal wounds, confirming historical use and giving us a picture of the way(s) it works on the body. An interesting note that the authors included was that “the antibacterial activity is due to the presence of flavonoids and essential oils in C. officinalis.” (2)
This gives us a good range of uses for calendula, from extracts and infusions that retain some volatile content for specific and potent antibacterial effects.
Indications: Healing sprays, soothing balms, cleansing oils.
2. Fungal Outbreaks
Essential oils are very frequently found to be antifungal, no doubt as a function of their role in protecting the plant they originated from. This is excellent news for us, since essential oils have easy applications and are (usually) pleasant to use.
Calendula essential oil was tested for its antifungal capabilities in the lab – in vitro – by Brazilian researchers in 2008. Twenty-three strains of fungi were chosen, and calendula oil was introduced to each of them on a Petri dish. The result?
The antifungal assay results showed for the first time that the essential oil has good potential antifungal activity: it was effective against all 23 clinical fungi strains tested. (3)
We can place calendula oil in the ranks of other antifungal powerhouses, furthering its status as a healing and protective must-have.
- Indications: Diffusion, cleaning sprays, healing and protective balms.
Suncreen is important for protecting the skin against potential cancer-causing sun rays, but the additives and ingredients of commercial sun screen can be toxic in their own right! The search for an effective, natural, ideally-DIY sunscreen continues. A natural alternative needs to be effective in studies – not just anecdotal or observational – because you can’t necessarily see or feel the damage that UVA rays are inflicting.
In 2012, calendula essential oil was tested for its UV-protective ability, blended into a sunscreen cream at 5% dilution. No previous studies had been conducted; the inspiration to try it came from traditional use. Happily, calendula essential oil was found to have good sun protective ability as part of a protective cream. (4)
If you are building your own sunscreen formula or looking for a natural commercial option, calendula is an ingredient to watch out for!
Indications: Daily protective lotion, soothing sun burn spray, regular inclusion in cosmetics.
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Topical inflammation ranges from uncomfortable distractions to painful problems. Anti-inflammatory herbs, flowers, and essential oils have a well-deserved place in natural remedies, and calendula is one of the best. In a summary of major monographs for calendula healing properties, the researchers note:
Calendula flower is used for compresses in poorly healing wounds, bruises, rashes, boils and dermatitis. (5)
This backs the traditional use of calendula petals and extracts for soothing and healing inflammation and wounds and gives it a prominent place in our natural medicine cabinets. Keep both an extract and essential oil or infused carrier oil on hand for versatility.
Indications: Poultices, healing balms, soothing sprays.
How to Make Your Own Calendula Preparations
Calendula is an excellent “gateway drug” into natural remedies. Keep a variety of preparations on hand to get the most out of this important herbal flower.
- Dried petals can be used in poultices for bumps, bites, and scrapes.
- Oil extracts can be made into healing balms.
- CO2 Extract/Absolute can be added to sprays, balms, and other preparations.
Get your calendula oil from a trusted source that will be pesticide-free, preferably certified organic, then use it at 3-5% dilutions in your cosmetic and topical preparations.
Petals can be purchased at health food stores or online herbal supply stores. They should be fully dried and bright yellow or orange in color.
Create a simple oil infusion/extraction for balms and carrier oil use by placing the petals in coconut or olive oil at a ratio of 1:5 herb to oil by weight. Let sit in a warmed oven for several hours, then strain off the herbal matter and enjoy!