7 December 2011

Simple skin care - calendula salve

I made some calendula salve to apply to some rashes we both have. Calendula is easy to grow in most gardens and gives you a beautiful sun coloured cream that will soothe and nourish damaged and inflamed skin. Calendula salve can be made in different ways, this is how I do it.

You'll need:
  • A cup of fresh or dried calendula petals that haven't been sprayed with anything and have been organically grown.
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup melted beeswax
  • Emu oil or vitamin E oil are optional.
  • Pick petals when they're dry and add them to a white bowl - you can see any bugs better on a white background. 
  • Strip the petals from the flower heads and when you have a cup full, dry them out for a day.

  • The next day add them to a jar that you can seal with a lid.
  • Pour in a cup of olive oil.
  • Put the jar out in the sunshine for about two weeks. This solarises the mix and gently extracts healing properties from the calendula as the oil gently heats up every day.

  • When the oil has been sitting in the sun for two weeks, take the jar inside and strain the oil, removing the petals. You can use either cheesecloth or a fine wire strainer. 
  • Press the petals with the back of a spoon to release all the oil. Stand the jar in a container of hot water to heat the oil slightly so it will mix well with the hot wax.
  • In a double saucepan, melt the beeswax, allow it to cool down a little then add it to the oil. If you want to add vitamin E or emu oil, do it now. I add a small amount of emu oil because unlike most other oils, it helps the salve penetrate into the lower layers of skin.
  • I like to emulsify my salve. It lightens the colour and completely mixes the oils with the wax. Use a stick blender to do this - just 5 seconds should do the job well.
  • Pour into a sterilised jar and seal. I store this in the fridge. It will keep for at least a year.
Calendula salve is useful for rashes, nappy/diaper rash, inflamed skin, mild eczema, sunburn, burns, insect bites and probably many other things I haven't tried it on. I rub it into my hands when I've been using it elsewhere and my hands are lovely and soft at the moment. Making these simple salves helps provide good quality skin care that you can safely use on the family. You know exactly what's in them and they cost a tiny fraction of what you'd pay to buy something similar.

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