Sunday, July 07, 2013

Adventures with Calendula

We use a lot of several different herbs here, and have been trying to gradually grow them ourselves as much as possible.  This year we added a new plot where we can grow much more, and put in a full row of calendula, rose geranium, and white sage, with half rows of lavender and patchouli.  It's interesting...
I took my 3x 4 foot flat basket out to pick the calendula blossoms this morning.  There were lots of honey bees out. 

I gently moved them along to less fully open flowers, telling them that in 1/2 hour there would be as many flowers again as I'd be taking.  They didn't seem to mind.

Afterwards I also gathered some white sage, which is growing magnificently in the field.  I topped some of the central stalks to encourage side growth.  At that point, my hands were so sticky that I barely had to grasp the basket.
Down to the workshop to clean the petals.
Although I'd washed my hands well, it was necessary to stop often to remove the layers of petals that clung to my fingers.

We wound up with a couple of gallons of fresh petals.  They'll dry down to perhaps a quart of dried petals.
Every aerial part of this plant is full of resinous goodness.  The petals will be mostly infused in oil and used for calendula soap as well as our all purpose Boo-Boo Balm.
Calendula is one of those plants that deserves a special place in the garden.  Once you've got it, calendula reseeds readily.  Carried in that somewhat astringent resin, you'll find anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and immune-stimulant properties just waiting to assist in case of any sort of skin issue or minor wound.  Reach for it first during any kind of scrape, chaffing, wind burn, rashes - any skin discomfort, really.  The ways it can be used are almost unlimited, as teas/compresses, salves, lipbalm, infused oil...
The bases of the flowers (and some whole flowers) go into the still to produce calendula hydrosol

We're having fun with all this golden bounty!
We have Calendula Soap, Booboo Balm, and Calendula hydrosol on our website - just click on the links above to go directly to that item.


Jessica Sommar said...

Why not dry the whole flower to make your infusion? What clean and separate the petals?

Tina Sams said...

Oh - that's a good question. Some of the products that we make require just the petals due to a more delicate appearance. For instance, one of our soaps has the petals included. We find it easiest to just separate them in the beginning.

Betty said...

I use to have this in my garden, but they got dug up when we had to reroot a septic line. After seeing yours I will have to put some more in and start making some cremes.


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