Many herbal medicine guides suggest keeping calendula tinctures on hand at all times to use as a first aid remedy. Calendula tinctures are easy to find and purchase online or at natural health food stores nationwide, and they may also be made at home from flowers grown in your garden. Like neem and tea tree oil, calendula offers herbal relief for common skin problems.
Calendula tinctures are made from the flowers of Calendula officianilis. Although its common name is pot marigold, it's not related to the common garden marigold. Instead, it's more closely related to the daisy family of plants. In most gardening zones in the United States, calendula is grown as an annual flower. You can grow it easily from seeds or plants purchased at the garden center.
Health Uses for Calendula
Calendula flowers have been grown, harvested and used to create tinctures for centuries. Recent research suggests that the active chemical compounds within the flowers provide antiviral, antimicrobial properties. Calendula flowers, seeds, oils and extracts are often used in cosmetics and health and beauty products. The final report from the Cosmetics Ingredient Review states that calendula is non toxic.
Treating Skin Problems
Traditionally calendula has been used in ointments, salves and tinctures as a skin treatment. Herbalists recommend calendula for rashes such as diaper rash, wound healing, and simple skin irritation.
Recent studies indicate that calendula may indeed be useful for wound healing. Animal studies demonstrate that wounds heal more quickly when a calendula preparation is used on the affected area. Researchers speculate that calendula increases blood flow to the area, which speeds healing. Research has not been conducted on people yet, but given calendula's long history and relative safety, it is probably a useful herbal preparation to use on simple cuts and scrapes.
Making Calendula Tinctures
Calendula tinctures are relatively simple to make at home. You'll need fresh or dried calendula leaves, a stabilizing liquid such grain alcohol, water, and sterilized jars. If you have access to fresh calendula petals, they must be completely and thoroughly dried before using them to create calendula tinctures. Spread fresh flower petals on an old sheet, towel, or window screen in the sun to dry them out. Bring them indoors at night so that the dew doesn't add water back in. You can also use a dehydrator to dry the flower petals; check your user manual and follow directions for heat setting and time to dehydrate the petals.
To make calendula tinctures, follow the instructions for making an herbal tincture. Keep the ratio 1 part dried calendula flowers to 2 parts liquid. If you have 1 cup of calendula flowers, you should use 2 cups of alcohol to make the tincture, or if you have only ½ a cup of calendula flowers, use 1 cup of alcohol. Follow the instructions on making herbal tinctures or the specific recipe for making calendula tinctures on Save with Green.
Calendula products may also be purchased online. You can purchased ready-made calendula tinctures, ointments, bath and beauty products.
Cautions and Contraindications
Although some herbalists suggest oral preparations of calendula, the effects are unknown. Unless you are working directly with a qualified herbalist or naturopathic doctor who can monitor and advise you on the proper dose of oral calendula tinctures, use it only as a skin treatment option.
Calendula is closely related to the ragweed family. If you have allergies to ragweed, you may want to avoid calendula or conduct a skin test patch before using any cosmetics or beauty products that contain calendula. To conduct a skin patch test, place a little ointment, salve or lotion containing calendula on the skin inside your elbow. Wait 24 to 48 hours and if no rash or adverse reactions occur, it's probably safe to use it. Of course, any reactions to this herb should be reported to a physician, and please do tell your doctor or health care provider about any herbs you are taking or using, including calendula.