CALENDULA HEALING SALVE
A Stovetop Preparation
Uses: Regenerates tissue! Apply to chapped hands all winter. Use for burns, scrapes, or on diaper area. A wonderful salve for garden-worked hands.
2-3 cups Calendula Petals (harvest blossoms after dew dries and before noon)
1 cup Olive Oil (is antibacterial and goes rancid more slowly than other oils)
1/4 cup or 2 oz. Beeswax (chips melt more readily)
several drops Rose or Lavender Oil (adds nice scent, calming)
1 oz. Lanolin (makes salve creamier, but some children react to this)
1/2 oz. Glycerin (makes salve creamier, compare to above recipe to see which you prefer)
* Recipe can be increased proportionately for larger quantities *
1. Use small gathering baskets to pick moisture-free calendula flowers on a sunny morning. Take time to enjoy the full rich color, form and delicate scent of the flowers. As children remove petals into the stainless pan a sticky flower residue will be their first introduction to the plant's hidden qualities.
2. Add olive oil to the pan and place over the lowest possible heat. Stir rhythmically as the oil heats to avoid “cooking” the petals in over-heated oil. Small bubbles may form on the bottom of the pan. This is as “hot” as the oil should get. Stir to distribute warmth throughout the calendula oil. Continue for a total of 1 to 2 hours. This task may be divided over two days time if cooled and covered tightly between beatings. (I often set aside a “little bit” of the petals so that each child may sprinkle some into the oil when it is their turn to stir.) Hum, sing as children take turns stirring their love into the medicine oil.
“Round and round the Earth is turning, turning round and round to morning, and from
morning round to night.”
3. Allow calendula oil to cool to the point where the calendula petals can be strained from the oil, pouring it through (unbleached) cheesecloth. Twist cheesecloth full of oily petals into a bundle and secure with a twist tie or string.
4. Use a wooden spoon to press oil free through the cheesecloth. I find a stainless steel mesh strainer helpful. The cheesecloth is placed in the mesh strainer over a bowl as children press oil out of calendula flowers. It takes a fair amount of pressing to remove every precious spoonful of amber-colored calendula oil. It is also a wonderful opportunity for the children to be dabbed with the oily cheesecloth and rub or massage the warm oil into their chapped hands, knees, elbows.
5. In order to blend oil with melted beeswax both must be similar temperatures. Return calendula oil to pan to be gently warmed again while beeswax is melted over a double burner, but not directly over heat as it is highly flammable. When wax is melted and close to the temperature of the oil, pour wax into oil.
When completely unified remove from heat. Pour into lipped measuring cup and then into small sterilized jars. Allow children to observe salve “setting up” over the next ten minutes as they decorate/illustrate labels for their jar. After cooled and set, cap jars with lids and adhere labels.
Allow to cool another 10 minutes before handling. Store in cool conditions free from direct sunlight and heat.
End with a song, verse, or gratitude blessing.
• harvest baskets
• stainless steel pan
• wooden spoon
• stove top or double-burner hot plate
• double boiler for melting beeswax
• cheesecloth (unbleached, if possible)
• twist tie or string
• mesh stainless steel strainer and a bowl to fit strainer in
• lipped measuring cup for pouring oil into tiny jars
• small, lidded jars such as jelly or honey sample jars. Be sure children's fingers can reach bottom
of jar to remove every precious drop of salve. Amber or cobalt jars protect salve, but do not allow
children to see the true color or setting up of salve.
• tiny paper labels and colored pencils for making labels (calendula colored scraps of painting
paper make nice labels too)
• clear tape for adhering labels