When I cleared the trailer bed for square foot garden planting, I harvested my calendula flowers. Calendula in the vegetable beds helps to reduce insect attacks (and looks very pretty). The buttery yellow petals were stripped from the flower heads, packed into a glass jar and covered with sunflower oil. This very pretty jar was placed on and eastern facing window sill (well, on a shelf below the window) and shaken occasionally. At this stage it looked like a natural themed lava lamp. After four weeks the infusion was ready to use.
I made three 100ml pots of calendula ointment for my friends and family. Calendula ointment can be used to treat cuts and grazes, hives, eczema and skin rashes. The recipe I use is simple (in the extreme) and easy to make;
35g natural beeswax
1 1/2 cups calendula infusion (sunflower oil based)
1 ml Benzoin tincture.
Melt beeswax and calendula infusion in a small double saucepan, do not exceed 50 degrees C. Remove from heat and add benzoin tincture. Pour into dark glass jars while hot and leave to cool.
|Clean jars ready to be filled.|
|The ointment on the stove. I know I said double saucepan, but I couldn’t find mine so I used a small copper bottomed pot on a really low setting.|
|Beeswax being weighed.|
|Pouring the warm ointment into a jug makes it much easier to pour into little jars.|
|Now I screw the cap on and wait for them to cool and solidify.|
The ointment needs to be stored in a dark, cool place and will last for six months or so. Other herbal ointments can be made this way too; I have made comfrey, chickweed, chilli (herbal deep heat), golden seal and echinacea. The only ointment I would not make this way is aloe vera; it rots very easily and is best used fresh off the plant (although, I have used it in soap making).
Have a go at making your own herbal ointments; they are effective and safe as well as a lot of fun to make.