Benefits of calendula macerated oil.
This week we are going to make very rich hand balm, useful for gardeners (it seems like everyone became gardener during lockdown 😆 ) and for anyone who suffers from dry, chapped skin on their hands.
I chose to write a bit more about calendula oil because it is not an usual cold-pressed oil.
Calendula infused (macerated) oil is produced by infusion calendula flowers (Calendula officinalis) in a carrier oil, usually sunflower oil. You can also find calendula infused in olive oil or sweet almond oil.
Maceration is very simple yet effective process. Susan M. Parker in her book 'Power of the seed' highlights that 'Infusing herb into oil or fat is probably one of the oldest forms of medicine-making.' I really love this book and I recommend it to anyone who's interested in making their own skincare products.
Carrier oil acts here as a solvent and all therapeutic properties that macerated plant has is being transferred into the oil. Scent and colour can be transferred too.
You can buy infused oils or you can make one yourself - remember to use dry flowers/herbs for your maceration as fresh ones will introduce moisture to your oil and it will become mouldy. You can use fresh herbal material for maceration but it is a little bit more complicated and it can go wrong really quickly.
Again I highly recommend book 'Power of the seed' by Susan M. Parker - she explains beautifully how to make infused oils. I'll give you a short overview:
You need a clean glass jar with lid.
Fill about half to 2/3 of jar with dried flowers/herbs.
Top it up with carrier oil and make sure that dried parts are fully covered with oil.
Leave a bit of space at the top as oil expands during the process.
Close the jar with lid.
Now you have few options how to do the infusion: using power of sun, slow cooker (low heat) or just leave the jar on the kitchen worktop for longer period of time ( 6 weeks or longer).
Calendula flowers posses anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-fungal, antiviral and vulnerary (wound-healing) properties. Oil infused with these flowers can be used by itself or to make balms, creams and many other products.
Calendula oil helps to clear inflamed skin conditions such as acne (research here), psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis. It is soothing and healing for skin and can speed up the process of wound healing - more about this here.
Skin will also benefit from using calendula oil because it can increase the level of skin hydration and tightness (more here) - slows down ageing process. It is especially beneficial for dry, chapped skin.
Making this hand balm is really straight forward - once shea butter and wax melt pour in slowly oils: argan, calendula and sea buckthorn. Wait until blend cools down to under 40°C and add vitamin E and neroli essential oil (or other of your choice - lavender would be nice too🥰 )
The balm will be quite runny but don't worry - it will set in few hours. Don't make my mistake and add more wax - it was rock hard by the morning🙈
To avoid graininess in your balm you need to cool the blend down quickly - place the bowl in cold or icy water. Don't close the jar straight away because some condensation can appear on the lid. It won't spoil our balm but you might be curious what it is.
This lovely, sunny yellow colour comes from sea buckthorn oil if anyone wonders😍
Best to use it before bedtime and with cotton gloves because it is quite rich but if you have a spare time during the day when you can use it - go for it!
You can download recipe sheet here 💛
CAUTION - if you are allergic to plants from Asteraceae/Compositae family do not use calendula. Also if you are pregnant or breastfeeding avoid calendula oil. Everywhere I checked it was mentioned that calendula taken orally (as tea, tincture or infusion) should be avoided but you can never be too careful.
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