Marigold – This sunny little flower, the ‘merry buds’ of Shakespeare, was first used in Indian and Arabic cultures, before being discovered by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. The Egyptians valued the marigold as a rejuvenating herb, and the Greeks garnished and flavoured food with it’s golden petals. The botanical name comes from the Latin ‘calendae’ meaning the first day of the month.
In India, wreaths of Marigold were used to crown the gods and goddesses. In medieval times they were considered an emblem of love and used as a chief ingredient in a complicated spell that promised young maidens knowledge of whom they would marry. To dream of them was a sign of all good thing and to simply look at them would drive away evil humours.
Calendula officinalis, or Marigold, has been by ‘go to’ healing herb for ages when I’m making remedies to help soothe my son’s eczema. It’s wonderful for soothing the skin, for sun burn, to help clear up spots, for cuts.
I didn’t realise until recently that it works similarly when taken internally – as well as soothing the skin when applied directly to it, it can be taken internally to help the digestive tract. It’s a good herbal remedy to try if you are suffering with a tummy bug, from a stomach or mouth ulcer. It also helps with indigestion, IBS, or even painful periods.
To make the tea, pour a cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of calendula flowers and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This is great to do in a cafetiere, as then you can just push the flower petals to the bottom of the jug when your tea has infused.
A 1-2ml drop of marigold tincture can be taken up to three times a day, or as directed by a herbalist.
Last month, I made a soothing salve using a calendula infusion, which has been wonderfully soothing for my son’s skin.
This time, I wanted to make something for the grown ups. I love solid lotion bars, I find them so easy to use as they melt from the temperature of your skin, so are so easy to apply and there isn’t any messing around with jars or pump bottles! They’re great for extra dry areas like elbows or feet too – and so easy to make yourself!
You will need…
1/2 cup candelilla wax (I used this as it is a plant wax, but you could also use beeswax)
1/2 cup organic cacao butter
1/2 cup marigold (calendula) infused oil
20-30 drops essential oils of your choice – this is optional as the use of the cacao butter will make the lotion bars smell chocolatey, but I couldn’t resist adding two of my favourites, lavender and ylang ylang.
Dried marigold flowers to decorate
For equipment, you will need a saucepan and a glass bowl or pyrex jug, and a mould to make your lotion bars. I used cupcake cases which I think worked perfectly!
First, put the wax into the jug and place into the saucepan of simmering water, and wait until the wax has completely melted.
Then, add the cacao butter and calendula oil, and wait until the mixture is completely liquid. Prepare your moulds by adding a sprinkling of calendula flowers to each.
Remove from the heat, and add your essential oils, then pour into your moulds and leave to set for a few hours.
It’s as simple as that. This recipe made four cupcake sized lotion bars. The addition of the lavender oil will make these lovely to use after a bedtime bath to help relax, and they’re just so pretty, I think they would make a really lovely homemade gift. I’m planning on giving one to a friend who has just had a baby, it will be wonderful for soothing the dry skin that new mums often suffer with when establishing breastfeeding, and for helping with the appearance of stretch marks.
I’d love to know what you think if you try the recipe!
This is a collaborative post with Indigo Herbs