The sunny orange calendula – also known as the marigold – has a wealth of herbal uses worth learning about.
With both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, the fresh petals can be poured into boiling water, then cooled to clean minor wounds and treat conditions such as mouth ulcers or sore gums. Gargling with the infusion can soothe a sore throat, and rolling a petal ball between your fingers and applying it directly to bites of insects or nettle stings can be effective in numbing the pain.
It’s worth it, however, collecting the petals and drying them in the sun, or in an airy, warm place to harness even more of these brilliantly colored flowers’ properties! It is straightforward and rewarding to make your own calendula tincture or resin extract. Easily stored, this is a powerhouse addition to your herbal medicine cabinet.
Around 50g dried calendula petals
Grain alcohol to cover – between 500 – 700 ml
- Pack the calendula (not too tightly) into a suitable, clean container and pour over the alcohol. Stir gently and keep out of direct sunlight for two weeks, mixing and pressing with the spoon gently every two or three days.
- Strain the liquid through a muslin cloth into a wide, clean dish, squeezing the contents to extract as much of the calendula essence as possible.
- Cover with foil or a cloth, ensuring that the cloth does not touch the contents of the dish. Now leave until the alcohol starts to evaporate. The rate at which the liquid which start to reduce will vary according to temperature and humidity, but will take around 1–2 weeks on average.
- Keep checking – if you want to strain and bottle the tincture then do so while the extract is still liquid and not too viscous.
- If you prefer to make a stickier resinous extract, then wait until all the alcohol has evaporated and you are left with a glossy residue, which you can then spoon into a cosmetic-type jar.
Storage and Shelf Life
If kept in brown/green glass or opaque containers and stored out of direct sunlight, both will have a long shelf life of 2-3 years. Never take or administer any medicine or treatment without a health care advisor’s approval, however, traditional remedies include diluting drops of tincture in water for treating ear infections, low fever or other conditions.
People report dabbing the resin directly onto minor wounds for pain relief and healing, using the tincture as an immune system booster and to support healthy liver function. There are so many uses for calendula extract and to learn more about the potency and potential of this remarkable plant, it is worth doing some thorough research.