Posted by: morrowsl | August 7, 2020

On Channeling My Inner Hippy, Chapter Two

The first batch of calendula flowers I immersed in olive oil grew mold. Since that wasn’t exactly what I was going for, I tossed them in the compost bin and started over. The trick is to totally submerge the flower heads in the oil, leaving no air space and nothing poking up. In the photo you can see the air space between the oil and the rim of the jar. You can even see one flower stem poking up through the oil. Prime location for mold growth. Lesson learned.


Calendula flower heads immersed in olive oil

Once I got the trick of immersing the flower heads, I set the jar in the pantry, with the anticipated processing date written on the lid. I ended up going over by a couple of weeks, but that really doesn’t matter. The flowers need at least 28 days to properly infuse the oil. More time just means better infusion.

I followed the advice of two women when making my salve.

Morag Gamble is a fascinating person with over two decades of experience in sustainable living. Her video instructions for making calendula salve are simple and easy to follow. She has a three-part series on calendula plants.
Lisa Steele hosts the website Fresh Eggs Daily along with a television show about her Maine farm. I firmly believe her ideas regarding chicken feed to be the reason my girls are healthy and happy. Her method for making calendula salve is on her Facebook page.

And, of course, I called my sister to see if she would make the salve with me, since a) I wanted to include her in the process because it would be fun, and b) who else would indulge me so willingly?

I had not yet strained the oil I made, so we used cheesecloth to do that. I would suggest you buy a cheap strainer for this part. It will go much faster and with a lot less mess.


Assembled ingredients

We took turns grating the beeswax, since it was slow going. I don’t think it needs to be grated so fine as we did it. You can probably get by with just shaving off curls of it. Just don’t try to melt huge chunks.
After the first batch, we had the entire process committed to memory. We ended up with three batches, which filled all the containers I’d brought as well as a half-pint jar she had to hand. In future, I will likely use more large containers for Sister and myself.


Melting the beeswax in the combined oils.

Once we poured the liquid salve into the containers, it took an hour or so for it to resolidify. The oils keep the beeswax from getting hard again, much like the water in alcohol keeps your frozen margarita from becoming an ice cube.


First batch completed.

I had intended to give these containers as gifts, to let people see if they liked the salve and trusted it’s capabilities. I’ve given them to family, and to Director Neighbor Girl, so far. I may include a few tins with my egg deliveries as well.
I want to investigate using lavender and essential oils too, although the coconut oil in this recipe lent a delicious fragrance to the salve. Sister added patchouli to her jar.

So far, I’ve tried the salve on cuts and scratches, a bee sting, liver spots, my saggy elbow skin, mosquito bites, and my and Mike’s toes. It doesn’t help with the itch of the bites, but it did seem to help reduce the swelling. The jury is still out on the liver spots, but the elbow skin (and my hands and arms) are much smoother. Morag swears by its healing properties for “nappy rash” but since I don’t have a baby to try it on, I’ll take her word for that. Another great use I have yet to test is sunburn. But I will be taking some to a fisherman I know, so he can report back on how it works for that.
Best of all, I had just the start of a toenail fungus on my left big toe and a split nail on another toe, both of which are gone now! So, for my uses anyway, I’m calling it an amazing wonder cure.

Calendula Salve
1/2 cup calendula infused oil
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup grated beeswax

Morag adds cocoa butter to hers and I think that’s how she gets the more pastel yellow color and less oily salve.  Just a teaspoon or two will do.
We added the oil from two gel caps of vitamin E, but that is optional.
You can also add essential oils, but may need to add more beeswax or cocoa butter to make it smooth.

I won’t go into the actual process here as it is well documented by the two references given.


Completely cooled and ready for use.

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