My family explicitly requested that I make more of this Calendula Salve for their Christmas presents this year. It’s a salve or ointment made of extra virgin olive oil infused with marigold flowers (or calendula officionalis).
Calendula is well-known for its anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and skin-healing properties.
This salve is used for minor cuts, abrasions, burns and skin irritations and is not intended for deep wounds. (For large or deep wounds, go to your local emergency room, ASAP!) It works very nicely to prevent infection and accelerate the healing process. I just love making my own skincare products; it makes me feel good to know that the ingredients I’m putting on my skin are all natural and, although I don’t recommend trying this, clean enough to eat! Please note: this recipe is very easy, but the infusion process requires at least 2 weeks, so don’t expect to start and finish this all in one day….you must plan ahead!
Ingredients: (My proportions are approximate, and are intended as a general guideline).
1/2 L or so of Extra virgin Olive oil ( I suppose you could use another unsaturated oil like safflower, sunflower or sesame, but I have never done it, so I can’t comment on the results).
2 cups of dried Calendula flowers (buy at the healthfood store or herbal apothecary)
Beeswax (at least 2 cups of grated wax = less than half a pound of solid beeswax)
Tools for prep: a 1 litre glass jar with lid, spoon
Tools for final product: small saucepan, spoon, small bowl with ice, small jars with lids, grater, sieve with cheesecloth.
Part 1: Preparation:
This project requires some forethought. The infusion of the flowers into the oil takes time, so its best to start this project at least 2 weeks before gifting.
1) Fill the 1L glass jar halfway with dried calendula flowers. Add about 500 mL of extra virgin olive oil. Mix the flowers into the oil, so that all the flowers are coated.
2) Place the lid on the jar and let it sit in a dark, cool corner of your house for at least 2 weeks and up to 4 weeks.
Part 2: Final product:
3) Wash and dry well your small jars and lids.
4) Place the small saucepan on the stove and place the sieve with a piece of cheesecloth lining the base of the sieve, over the saucepan.
5) Pour the oil from the jar that has been infusing for weeks through the cheesecloth and sieve, and into the saucepan (in order to strain all of the sticks and petals and bits out of the oil). Heat the oil over medium low to low (and keeping the heat as low as possible while still allowing the wax to melt.)
6) Grate about 2 cups of beeswax (no, this is not mozzarella cheese!) and add about 1 cup of the grated wax to the oil. Stir with spoon until the wax has dissolved.
7) Test if the consistency is right: Spoon a bit of your salve and place the bottom of the spoon on top of a piece of ice in your bowl of ice. The salve will solidify quickly and you can touch it with your finger to see if it’s the texture you prefer. If it’s still too soft and oily for your taste, add more beeswax to your saucepan and allow to dissolve. Remember: the final salve will likely melt quickly into the skin naturally from body heat.
8) When the ice test reveals that you have achieved your ideal texture for the salve, get your small jars together with lids off. Carefully pour the liquid salve into each jar, being careful to avoid spilling. (You can fill the jars with a spoon, if needed).
9) Let the jars sit with lids off, for at least an hour or until completely cool and solidified. Then put the lids on, apply a label with the name and ingredients, and decorate, as desired!
What are your favourite homemade holiday gifts?
Do you make any natural skincare products at home?