My Calendula (English Marigold) is full of flowers at the moment. As well as using the petals in cooking, they are also valuable for their remarkable skin-healing properties. Calendula promotes tissue repair, reduces inflammation and infection, and helps to prevent scarring.
This very simple ointment or balm can be used for chapped hands, minor burns, insect bites and minor wounds like cuts and grazes. To use, wash the area thoroughly, dry gently, and apply the ointment. Repeat a couple of times a day.
Calendula flowers (approx 20-30g)
Petroleum Jelly (eg vaseline)
Put the marigold flowers in a clean jar, and add enough oil to just cover. Allow to stand for 1 week, then strain off the oil into a measuring jug. Now however much oil you’ve got, measure twice as much petroleum jelly, and melt in a bain-marie or carefully in a saucepan on a very low heat. Once melted, take off the heat, and stir in the calendula oil. Pour into a sterilised glass jar and allow to set.
This ointment will keep for some time, at least 6 months, and is best kept in the fridge.
Optional variation: You can also combine St John’s Wort flowers with Calendula to enhance the effect of the ointment. Although St John’s Wort is most well known for it’s internal use as an anti-depressant, it is also very useful as a wound healer. Use equal parts of Calendula and St John’s Wort, and make as above.