CALENDULA plant – Infused OIL, CO2 – HERBAL USES
Calendula officinalis is a simple garden plant with a hundred healing uses as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. The CO2 is also used for the treatment of skin disorders and pain as a bactericide, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory.
Jeanne Rose ~ circa 1972 – 2023
COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Calendula, Calendula officinalis
Kingdom is Plantae (includes all the plants; eukaryotic, multicellular, and autotrophic organisms.)
Order is Asterales (cosmopolitan herbaceous species known for flowers with fused petals)
Family is Asteraceae (unique because of their composite flowers; daisies, asters, chamomile, etc.)
Tribe is Calenduleae (this group varies from herbs to shrubs with showy flower heads)
Genus is Calendula – referring to the first day of the month or the long growing period, and holds about 15-20 species of annual and perennial herbaceous plants.
species is C. officinalis – originally meaning used in cooking, medicine, and herbalism.
The language of flowers – Giving a gift of the pot Marigold signifies “my thoughts are with you”.
OTHER COMMON NAME/NAMING INFORMATION ~ Pot Marigold, Marigold, or Mary’s gold.
Family ~ Asteraceae and this family also include aster, daisy, composite or sunflower family, Lettuce, echinacea, Chrysanthemum, fleabane, zinnia, and so many more.
Calendula, from the Latin calendae (the first day of the month), refers to the long flowering period of this annual herb.2.
COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ This plant is probably native to the southern part of Europe but is now naturalized in many temperate climates and available in many countries. Some sites say it is native to Asia and to other places. It is grown for its herbal uses in many states across the United States. Various varieties are grown for the beauty of the flowers, but often these varieties do not have the same medicinal value or carry the resin that the originating species has.
ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ Of least concern.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ Most species of Asteraceae are annual, biennial, or perennial herbaceous plants; and there are also members of this family that are shrubs, vines, and trees; all of which, if you call yourself an herbalist are >HERBS< because you use all of these plants in herbalism.
_______Calendula grows well in full sun in poor to moderate soil. When I used to teach at the world-renowned wellness center and spa, Rancho La Puerta, near Tecate, Mexico, the gardens were quite lush, and Calendula and other sun-loving plants grew abundantly. These are plants with wonderful, sticky, resinous orange or yellow flowers. The resin comes from near the green base of the flower.
_______ If you grow it, please choose the authentic Calendula officinalis and not any of its varietal forms.
PORTION OF PLANT USED FOR EXTRACTION, EXTRACTION METHODS; DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, AND YIELDS ~ The flowers are harvested and used, via carbon dioxide extract, macerated in oil, for the hydrosol; all to provide a base ingredient for skincare, therapeutics, or food. The top third of the plant, including flowers, are harvested herbally for making infused or macerated Calendula oil, for foods, and for garnishes.
YIELD – The CO2 yield from the flowers is dependent on extraction pressure and flow rate and is from .56% up to 4.2%.
>It is estimated that 1 acre of Calendula could keep a crew of three to four people busy every day for three or four months, with dry flower yields of 400 to 600 lbs./acre.< There are about 250 flower heads of Calendula per pound.
• Source of CO2•
~ This work is supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals. ~
PARTS OF CALENDULA USED. The flowers and leaves are used for distillation and only the flowers for infused oil.
Calendula Leaves –The leaves can be alternate, opposite, or whorled. They may be simple but are often deeply lobed or otherwise incised, often conduplicate or revolute. The margins can be entire, or lobed, or toothed. Gather these in dry weather, in the morning, before the sun is high but after the dew has dried — for tea or for oil maceration. The whole flower can also be dried for tea.
Calendula Flowers – The flowers are picked in the morning when they are covered and sticky with the resin and then used, and if they will be dried, it needs to be done quickly in the shade, in a good current of warm air. They can be hung in mesh bags from tree limbs or spread out on sheets of paper without touching each other. If they are dried, and the flowers have been touching, they will become discolored. Another method of drying is to spread them on screens in a warm, dry attic or over a stairway. This has been described extensively in The Herbal Studies Course, chapters 31 and 33. The flowers and leaves are used for distillation and only the flowers for infused oil.
Calendula resin: When you pick Calendula, your fingers should be sticky from the resinous bracts, which form the green base of the flower head. The species Calendula officinalis resina strain was developed by medicinal herb pioneer Mark Wheeler at Pacific Botanicals in his quest for the highest resin content and specifically to increase this therapeutic substance1. This resin is an important part of Calendula’s healing and is a good indicator of strength. If you are buying Calendula, make sure you purchase the brightest yellow or orange flowers, which is a good barometer of its freshness and medicinal quality. If picking fresh flowers, the stickier (with resin), the better. The leaves and the stems very often contain secretory canals with resin or latex. This is particularly common among the Cichorioideae, a sub-family of the Asteraceae).
CALENDULA CHEMISTRY ~ The German herbal medicine manufacturer, Dr. Theiss, registered ‘Rinathei’ in 1998 for its own exclusive production use. This variety is claimed to be rich in the faradiol triterpenoids believed to be most responsible for Calendula’s anti-inflammatory activity. Also readily available is a dwarf ornamental variety, ‘Calypso Orange,’ rich in faradiols, having the highest content of 10 cultivars tested, and often a third more than ‘Erfurter Orangefarbi.’ The petals and pollen contain triterpenoid esters (an anti-inflammatory) and the carotenoids flavoxanthin and auroxanthin (antioxidants and the source of the yellow-orange coloration). The leaves and stems contain other carotenoids, mostly lutein (80%), zeaxanthin (5%), and beta-carotene. This plant extract is also widely used by cosmetic makers in their products due to the presence of compounds such as saponins, resins, and essential oils.
CALENDULA SCENT AND ORGANOLEPTICS ~ Calendula total extract is a rich and thick, almost solid CO2 extract of Calendula flowers. It is dark brown, thick, and viscous, with a low intensity of scent that is floral, earthy, vegetative, and herbaceous. This extract must be diluted for use, has a good tenacity in a carrier oil, and/or mixed with other scents in a blend for healing. It is used in many skincare products as an anti-inflammatory.
GENERAL PROPERTIES of CALENDULA Flowers and CO2
CALENDULA OFFICINALIS CO2 EXTRACT is used for the beneficial treatment of skin disorders and pain and as a bactericide, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. The petals and pollen contain triterpenoid esters (an anti-inflammatory) and the carotenoids flavoxanthin and auroxanthin (antioxidants and the source of the yellow-orange coloration). The leaves and stems contain other carotenoids, mostly lutein (80%), and zeaxanthin (5%), and beta-carotene. Plant extracts are also widely used by cosmetics, presumably due to the presence of compounds such as saponins, resins, and essential oils.
APPLICATION/ SKINCARE ~ Calendula officinalis CO2 is used for the treatment of skin disorders and pain, and as a bactericide, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. The creams that are made with the carbon dioxide product are fragrant, hydrating for the face and body, and have a pleasant herbal odor.
CALENDULA for the Skin – Jeanne Rose favorite ~ Calendula CO2 and infused oil is a wonderful product to nourish dry skin. It also makes good carrier oil used in aromatherapy massage. To make the infused product, use The Aromatherapy Book and refer to pages 249-250. Calendula-infused oil is a wonderful product to have on hand. I do not recommend sun infusion, as letting something sit in the sun is an excellent way to grow bacteria. Sun sitting was very useful in hot, dry climates when one did not want to use a stove. See directions below.
Calendula and Comfrey herbs have skin-softening properties. They can be used in a facial sauna or to make herbal or floral waters. Comfrey also reduces redness and soothes irritated skin. Add water from making your breakfast oatmeal for additional skin conditioning.
DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~ The mystery of aromatherapy —Get to know the elusive essence and herb that is able to create such a variety of emotional and physical changes.
This is a relaxing earthy application, and Calendula is used in ceremony for remembrance along with Rosemary, in death and dying ceremony, and also in spell work for happiness and harmony. Its bright orange color is evocative of the sun and all that the sun is used for.
BLENDING & PERFUMERY ~ Calendula total, is a CO2 extract, suitable for skincare and skin issues. I do not used it in perfumery as I consider its value to be in therapeutics, cosmetics, lotions, and creams. This extract will blend well with almost all vegetable oils.
Use the Calendula infused oil (Olive oil) for nourishing dry skin in a full body massage.
CALENDULA HYDROSOL ~ I prefer the Calendula infusion and oil maceration to EO and hydrosol as I believe that wasting 10-30 lbs. of flowers for 3 gallons of hydrosol is an ecological waste and destruction of good flowers, not to mention the environmental waste of gallons of valuable water in the condensation part of the distillation. The hydrosol is made from fresh flowers and is being used in new ways to combat old problems.
“I know that some will disagree with me on this subject, but I strongly feel that distilling Calendula flowers is a waste of botanical product.Calendula Hydrosol is obtained from freshly picked Calendula flowers and distilled in a copper still. It produces a green and vegetative smelling hydrosol. It seems a waste of good Calendula flowers. My suggestion is to not distill it but to infuse the fresh flowers in good-quality Olive Oil for an infused oil. This can be used in all skin care lotions. It works to smooth and soothe the skin, to heal small eruptions or sores. It makes a perfect infused oil.
When you distill the Calendula, you will use up to 30 POUNDS of flowers (250 flowers per pound or 7500 flowers) to make ONLY 3 Gallons of hydrosol + all the water going through the condenser. So yes, there are some water-soluble compounds, but we can use the flowers as a tea or compress. With the Calendula infused oil, you use 1 lb. of resin-covered flowers to 1 gallon of good Olive oil. When you distill for hydrosol, you have to also think of the environmental impact of your work and the value of the water used. Sometimes an herbal product is better to use than a distilled product.”
PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.
fresh Calendula flower
HERBAL USE OF CALENDULA FLOWERS
~ Definitions always seem to be a problem to sort out by people and they often vary by discipline. People are prone to invent their own definitions based on inadequate knowledge or poor teachers. Please folks, use a dictionary if you do not know what an herbal term means.
_____Herbalists infuse (soak flowers and leaves) or decoct (boil roots and barks), in water to make medicinal teas. So, with teas, infusion = hot or room temp. liquid, no applied heat; decoction = applied and sustained heat.
•An infusion starts with hot water, and the heat is turned off or no heat is applied once the plant material is added – it just sits and steeps covered, often until cool. Cold infusions are also an option for some things – no heat is applied but it takes more time.
•Decoctions simmer for 5-60 min. depending on the density of the material. Roots and barks taking more time than twigs and seeds.
•We macerate in alcohol to create tinctures; we also percolate — both maceration and percolation can be called tincturing. This is also called extracting by some.
Maceration is a word that confuses people. I don’t know why humans seem to have forgotten how to use a dictionary. Maceration is a specialized soaking in oil, water, fat, or a long soaking infusion in either alcohol or fat or oil. Macerate, Use a clean metal or porcelain pan; for perfumery use the type of flowers/plants required for the odor wanted and that are carefully picked (fresh). And removed and exchanged in a short time. Therapeutic maceration and fragrant maceration are two different processes.
For a Maceration – place in the warm alcohol or liquid fat or add to the fat or alcohol and allow to remain from minutes to hours; and for fragrant maceration – exchange the flowers every 24 hours, many times, until the menstruum has the scent. It may take up to 20 exchanges. Fat/oil has a particular affinity or attraction for the scent (fragrance) of flowers, and thus, as it were, draws it out of them and becomes itself, by their aid, highly perfumed.
For therapeutic maceration, soak the plant in the warmed oil or fat for hours until the oil or fat has taken on the color and properties of the plant.
Alcohol has an affinity for the plant’s therapeutic values. And is often called a tincture when completed.
HERBAL TREATMENTS WITH CALENDULA
Healing Skin – Simply put — using a compress or infusion of the following herbs, either singly or in a combination, will be healing Calendula, Chamomile, or Comfrey.
There are many herbs that would be useful and helpful to treat torn, burn, or tattooed skin. I have written two skin care books that list many treatments. Both the Herbal Body Book and Kitchen Cosmetics would have useful information. http://www.jeannerose.net/books.html
PROPERTIES AND USES OF HERBAL TREATMENTS ~ Pot marigold florets are edible. They are used to add flavor when Saffron is not available, and color to salads, added to smaller plates as a garnish. The leaves are edible but not very tasty. Leaves have a history as a leafy green vegetable and both leaves and flower are used to make tea.
The flowers also called Marigold are chiefly used as a local remedy. They have a stimulating action and are diaphoretic (makes you sweat) when taken as a warm tea. Given internally, it encourages a natural internal action and prevents suppuration (pus formation as in an abscess or a vesicle and the discharge of pus). The usual recipe for herbal infusion is of 1-ounce dried herb to a pint of boiling water, steep for 10-20 minutes and take internally, in doses of one tablespoonful, every hour; and used externally as a local application for sores, pus’y wounds, pimples or irritation. It is useful as an internal tea in chronic ulcer, varicose veins, etc. This infusion was formerly considered to have much value as an aperient (mild laxative) and intestinal cleanser in obstructions in the digestive system and for jaundice.
Fresh Marigold flower is a useful remedy for the pain and swelling caused by the sting of a wasp or bee when rubbed on the affected area.
•Calendula Flowers were used in ancient cultures such as Middle Easter, Green and Roman, and as a medicinal herb as well. The flowers are used to dye cosmetics, fabrics, and foods. They are an unforgettable addition or sole ingredients in an infused oil for their therapeutic value on the skin.
An infusion of the freshly gathered flowers, drunk hot is useful in summer fevers and cold, as it gently promotes perspiration – a decoction of the flowers has been used to treat smallpox and measles. Marigold flowers are very useful for children’s ailments.
The expressed juice of the flower or the dried powdered flowers, snuffed up the nose triggers sneezing and a discharge of mucous from the head. Years ago, when I tried to express the juice of fresh flowers, I used a Champion juicer, got only a few drops of juice but used this, diluted by half with water, as nose drops for a client who had a hole in the septum.
•Calendula leaves can also be made into a poultice that will help scratches and shallow cuts to heal faster, and to help prevent infection. A strained mild infusion has also been used in eye drops.
The leaves when chewed at first taste gummy and sweet followed by a strong penetrating salty taste.
•Calendula flowers and leaves expressed juice, which contains the most of this pungent matter, especially with Rose petals has been given in cases of costiveness (retained feces), where it acts as an aperient and proved very useful for this problem. Since it is gentle, it can be used with children and in small doses for your pets. These Calendula leaves and flowers can be eaten as a salad and also been considered a medicinal culinary herb, useful in skin diseases and swollen lymph nodes of children.
Some of the stronger scented Calendula with lots of resin is recommended to remove warts.
Sometimes an herbal product is a better choice of a product to use than a distilled product.
KEY USE ~ The skincare flower.
Calendula infused oil Contents: fresh Calendula flowers and virgin Olive oil
TO MAKE PERFECT CALENDULA-INFUSED OIL
CALENDULA INFUSED OIL is a wonderful product to nourish dry skin. It also makes good carrier oil used in aromatherapy massage. To make this product, use The Aromatherapy Book and refer to pages 249-250. or the Aromatherapy Studies Course and read up on it. Calendula Infused Oil is a wonderful product to always have on hand.
If you want your blend/infusion to have a strong good scent or to boost the olfactory powers of a scent, make sure you pick the plants when they are ready. When they are ready means at the time when their scent is the best. For instance, Jasmine at night, Tuberose early in the morning or at dark, Chamomile types in the early morning, Roses, and Calendula when the dew is dried but before the sun is high.
The best time to start infusions or blends is in the New Moon/First Quarter in a Fire sign (Aries/Leo/Sagittarius) and when the days are not humid. If that is not possible, check your moon lore in other sources, such as the Llewellyn book on Moon signs that can be used for offline reference. I am going to go back to my herbal and gardening, and perfumery basics of gardening, tincturing, infusing, weeding, blending, etc., by incorporating the moon lore, and working by the sign of the moon. There are online websites that have the phases and astrological signs.
I am keeping my book, Herbs & Things, open in my reading room because I want to be able to reference the formula and what I had to say then. I already visit various moon lore and weather sites on the Internet for basic charts. When I make Calendula Infused Oil or Bruise Juice, I pick and start work on a waxing to full moon when the herbs are at their fullest. Let it drain and bottle on a waning moon. For great moon information, see — any weather or U.S. Navy site or go to MoonMenu for a quick moon update.
I do not recommend sun infusion ~ I AM NOT a proponent of letting something sit in oil for 4-6 weeks in the sun or on a windowsill or when it is hot and humid during the day and cooler at night, as this is a perfect way to create spoilage. I use the hot maceration method and get my perfect brightly-colored, clean, and clear, Calendula oil and perfect St. Johnswort Oil in about 2-3 days.
Use 1 lb. of fresh flowers to 1 gallon of organically grown Olive oil.
Essentially, you have to get freshly picked flowers when they are ready and covered in resin; pick them in the morning when the dew is dry but the sun not yet high and infuse and macerate them slowly over a series of days in organically-grown Olive oil, heating gently but not boiling, cooling, heating, and cooling until the flowers have exuded (sweated) their liquid moisture. Keep heating and cooling until the pot lid no longer collects the condensation, pouring off the condensate into a glass and drying the inside of the lid. During hot weather, this might be done in a day, but here in San Francisco, it takes about 3 days. Cool, and allow the oil to drain into a clean container.
Don’t be lazy and choose to do this therapeutic oil with dried-out flowers. Yes, I know most other herbalists have taught you that dried is the way to go. It is a bit harder to do with clean, freshly picked flowers, but the resultant oil will be so much more healing and healthful.
- Weigh or count out your flowers. You will need about 1 lb. or 250 flower heads + 1 gallon of Olive oil for about 120 ounces of finished infused oil.
2. Add the flowers and the oil together in a proper porcelain or stainless steel pot. Bring to a soft boil, and sweat off the excess water, removing the lid and pouring off the condensate into a separate container. Turn off the heat to allow the flowers to cool, and then repeat this process several times. Depending upon the humidity of the day, this may take at least 3-5 times bringing to a boil, turning off the heat, allowing the pot to cool, taking off the condensate from the lid, and then repeating the process. Repeat over and over again until no more fluid condenses on the inside of the lid … BUT do not let the contents burn.
3. When pouring off the condensate, remember to not pour it back into the oil but into a separate container. This liquid can be considered a perfect hydrosol of Calendula as it is the natural exudate from the flowers. Collect it and then use it as a facial tonic within the next three days.
4. After the oil has taken on the deep orange color of the flowers (up to 2 days of warm maceration or of heating and cooling), let it cool enough to pour into a glass jar. Use a funnel lined with fine silk cloth or a mesh bag and pour the oil through the bag into the jar. This will collect any stray bits of plant material. If you use silk, it also will not drip off the ends as other fabrics can do. It is not necessary to use a filter or filter paper as that just adds another dimension to the product and does not remove any bacteria or yeast. If you have made the oil correctly, it will be yeast and mold-free for up to a year, and the filter paper doesn’t filter; it only makes a mess.
5. Now, you will have to be patient and let the finished Calendula Infused Oil sit for a day or two and settle quietly on its own while it totally cools. Any liquid that may be left will drop to the bottom of the jar and the oil can be decanted into a clean container. If the oil is cloudy, however, decant it, and you will have to heat it gently one more time to remove the fluid. My Calendula Infused oil is golden yellow-orange in color and clear and will stay this way.
6. At this point, pour your oil into sterile quart or 8-oz. bottles. Label your product with its name, contents, the size of the container, and your name or phone number or website. Store them in a basement or wine cellar at about 45-55°. They will keep until you use or sell them.
CONDENSED USES – OF CALENDULA FLOWERS
CALENDULA INFUSED OIL MEDICINAL ACTION AND USES ~ Used externally as a local application for sores, pus-filled wounds, pimples, or irritation. A lotion made from the infused oil, plus flower wax (and maybe the addition of a healing essential oil), is most useful for sprains and wounds. If you have a hydrosol distilled from these flowers, this is good for inflamed and sore eyes; use it (but only used if kept sterile).
INGREDIENTS of Calendula infused (Olive) oil. Calendula flowers and Olive Oil. This is a wonderful product to nourish dry skin. Olive oil by itself contains the phytonutrient oleocanthal, which mimics the effect of ibuprofen in reducing inflammation in the body, and olive oil components are squalene and lignans and are being studied for their possible effects as a cancer treatment.
USEs ~ Used for dry or sensitive skin, baby care, and also good carrier oil used in aromatherapy massage. Essentially, you have to get freshly picked flowers, infuse and macerate in olive oil, heat gently, and cool several times, removing all condensate that collects on the lid. Then allow the oil to drain into a clean, sterile container. Only the common variety with a deep orange color and sticky resin is of medicinal value. The yellow flower can also be used, but it does not make as deeply colored infused oil, and it seems of ‘lesser’ strength. Calendula Infused Oil is a wonderful product to have on hand.
½ cup Calendula-infused oil
1 cup Calendula hydrosol
½ oz beeswax [you can also use a floral wax]
10 drops EO
[healing oils such as Thyme linalool, Rosemary verbenone, or ?]
Melt beeswax in the infused oil- use a double boiler or the low setting on your oven. Make sure it is
melted and thoroughly mixed. Pour hydrosol into a clean/sterile blender; the hydrosol must cover the blades.
Wait for the infused oil to cool just enough to start a “skin” If it is too hot, it will not mix properly. Start on the low setting of your blender and slowly add the oil to your hydrosol, turning up the speed as it bogs down. When all infused oil is added, quickly add the EO. Do not over-blend. Put in clean, sterile jars, label, and refrigerate.
–Ann Harman formula–
Medicinal Action and Uses. Calendula-infused oil made from fresh flowers and organic Olive oil is a wonderful product to nourish dry skin. It also makes good carrier oil used in blends, lotions, and massage.
Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy • www.JeanneRose.net
2. Dictionary of Plant Names. Allen J. Coombes. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon
~ JR ~