How to Make Calendula Salve (and why you should)

ho to make calendula salve

Calendula. A humble flower, with many uses.

Also known as the pot marigold, calendula is highly favored for its skin healing properties.It is also excellent for sensitive skin, making it perfect for using with babies and children.

Making a salve allows us to harness the calming and anti-inflammatory powers of this wonderful plant.

The best part, it’s easy! I’m not kidding. It really is.

{Photo Credit}

 Keeping Calendula Salve on hand will allow you to treat the following ailments:

  • Rashes (including diaper rash)
  • Chapped lips
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Dry skin
  • Minor burns

In my opinion, the variety of conditions this little salve treats, makes it a product everyone who is able, should have on hand.

How to Make Calendula Salve

Gather the following ingredients and supplies:

1/4 cup dried calendula petals
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles
10 drops lavender essential oil (or more if desired, up to 40 drops)

Cheesecloth
Heavy pot
Spoon
Measuring cup
Rubber band
Crockpot

The following method is the “quick” version. (I’ll share the longer version at the end of the post.)

Step One: Put olive oil and calendula petals in a small crockpot and heat on low for approximately three hours.

Step Two: Lay cheesecloth over the top of a glass measuring cup and secure with a rubber band. Slowly pour the olive oil through the cheesecloth so the petals are caught on top and the oil goes through into the measuring cup. (I really do mean go slowly. If you proceed too quickly, the oil will run off the sides! Trust me on this one.)

Step Three: Pour strained oil into a heavy saucepan and turn the heat on low. Add the beeswax and stir occasionally until melted. Add the essential oil and stir to distribute.

Note on essential oil: Some recipes suggest using 40 drops of lavender oil while others only call for 10. I made this version with 10 because it is intended for use with my baby. I will make another batch with 40 drops to use with the rest of the family.

Step Four: Pour into a clean container, leaving uncovered until completely cooled.

Step Five: Cap and label. This salve should last for a year.

To use: Rub a little Calendula Salve on any cuts, scraps, rashes, or dry skin a few times a day.

For diaper rash, use after every diaper change.

This recipe was inspired by the instructions of my friend Michele, and a tutorial found at Mountain Rose Herbs. I decided to use the crockpot instead of the stove top because I am not reliable enough to keep an eye on a pot for two hours (as per Michele’s instructions.) and I didn’t have time to wait for the herbs to step for a week as suggested in the tutorial from Mountain Rose Herbs.

(By the way, Michele has many wonderful recipes for homemade herbal remedies in her lovely e-book: Herbal Nurturing. I highly recommend it.)

The longer version

Place dried calendula petals in a clean jar and pour the olive oil over the top. Close lid tightly and shake to blend. Allow to sit for one to two weeks until the oil turns a golden color.

Strain and follow the above directions.

This longer version is really preferable to the quick version since it uses less heat which will keep more of the natural healing properties of the Calendula flower in tact. If you have time, I’d recommend this version whenever possible.

Have you used Calendula Salve before? If not, would you?

Links to Mountain Rose Herbs are affiliate links. I am a loyal Mountain Rose Herbs customer and have been for many years. I recommend them to you because I use and enjoy their products myself.

This post was originally published on May 31, 2011.

Comments

  1. Good morning! Thank you for this recipe. I’m anxious to try it but am not sure where to find the calendula flowers. The Mountain Rose Herb website says they are out of stock. Do you know of other trusted retailers who would carry it?

    Thank you!

    • You might try your local health food store. Sometimes they carry things like this.

      I guess they must be popular because I just look up calendula flowers on iherb.com and they are out of stock too!

      They do sell dried calendula at More Than Alive They are an awesome company. I’ve purchased loose tea and a big water filter through them. I’m glad you asked because I’d been meaning to mention them but forgot!

    • I buy the calendula flowers as well as other bulk herbs and teas from an online store called The Bulk Herb store. They have great products, herbs, teas etc… Here is the link to their site: http://www.bulkherbstore.com/

      • Thanks! Bulk Herb Store is great. I’ve only ordered from them a few time, but was happy on each occasion!

    • I know this was a long time ago, but I order most of my herbs from http://www.morethanalive.com and it’s the same amount of shipping for any size order and as of right now, free shipping on orders over $100. This might help some others who don’t know where to order from….they don’t have beeswax, but I get mine off of ebay or from a local bee keeper…

  2. Wow, this looks really great and an easy consistency to spread (almost like Vaseline). I’ll definitely have to try this when I get my hands on some calendula petals!

  3. I took a medicine making class at community college a few years back and the instructor owned a company called Earth Remedies – we made a salve similar to this and it was wonderful! The only thing is that if you use it for dry skin you should expect it to take a long time to soak in (and then it works way better than any lotion)because there’s no alcohol in it. A lot of my less crunchy friends and family didn’t like it because of that.
    Thanks for posting this recipe – it looks easier than the one I tried at home (which did get overheated and was pretty ineffective compared to the one we made in class).

    • Try using a little water with the salve [a couple of drops] and rub your hands to encorporate the water and oils. rub into the area desired and follow with a lotion in a few minutes to bring the oils deeper into the skin

  4. Though I’ve never made it, we used Calendula salve with both boys for diaper protection. Loved it because it’s all natural and because it washes out of cloth diapers easily. :) So cool! I may have to make my own.

  5. patricia holdrege says:

    Hey,
    Can I make the calendula salve using fresh calendula petals or flowers? Do you have a recipe for that?
    Thank You,
    Patricia

    • Michele’s recipe use fresh petals. You could also use fresh flowers in the quick version.

      You could also use fresh flowers in the longer version (although I have not tried it this way yet). You will need about 3 cups of calendula flowers. Harvest them after the dew dries. You want them to be moisture-free. Pick off the petals and place in jar, then pour in 1 cup of oil, poke gently with a stick to remove air pockets. Cover with lid and follow the directions above.

      If using the petals from 3 cups of flowers and adding 1 cup of oil, you will need to increase the beeswax to 1/4 cup and the lavender essential oil to at least 20 drops (may use more if desired).

      I hope that all makes sense! :)

      • Linda Bx2 says:

        You can use the entire Calendula flower head – you need to break apart the flower head before adding to the jar and covering with oil, but you can use the whole flower head. You’ll want to pick them a day or two prior to making your infusion, lay them out on a newspaper or cookie sheet (break apart the flower heads at this time) and let them dry for that time. Even if you are only using the petals, you’ll still need to let them dry out for a few hours to allow excess moisture to escape. I have a small nettle patch in the front yard and chamomile & lemon balm in the back yard (and plantain in the yard!), all of which I use. Anytime you are using your own herbs in an oil infusion though, you should dry them first so there won’t be any moisture/mold issues with your infusions. Happy Harvesting!

        • Thank you for sharing that information, Linda!

          • Linda – I’m wondering about drying the calendula petals. I am growing my own calendula flowers to use for healing salves. When I dry them on the cookie sheet, can this just be in room temperature or do I need to place in oven on low heat? I don’t have a dehydrator yet, but would still like to try my hand with making salves.

  6. Thanks for this Stacy. I’ll definitely making some for my kiddos’ bug bites. Since I’m in hot AZ, I think the long version should be quicker than usual at 110 outside. I can’t wait to try this.

  7. Does it have to be Lavender? Perhaps due to how it blends with the Calendula scent?
    Or, can I use any scent I want? Thanks!

    • I haven’t tried any other scent, but I expect you could. Lavender does help preserve the salve. I know other oils will do the same. I’ll have to look them up, since they are not coming to mind at the moment!

    • I forgot to add that without the lavender, the salve doesn’t have a very strong smell, so I expect most any scent you like would work fine.

  8. I am very interested in this salve. Is the lavender essential oil crucial for this recipe? I do not have lavender but I have some others. Could any essential oil be used or would it clash with the calendula?
    Appreciate your help.

    Thanks

    Chris

  9. This looks yummy! I just wanted to let you know, I looked up the lavender oil you list to see what kind you use. Have you ever tried the DoTerra oils? They are awesome!!!! 100% Therapeutic Grade. I use them a lot and love them. Anyway, just wanted to let you know because the lavender you list is quite a bit more expensive than DoTerra’s. You can get a 15 oz. bottle for $28 with DoTerra whereas the Mountain Rose Herbs comes up $144 for a 16 oz. Just an FYI :)

  10. I was looking at soaps somewhere online, and I saw a calendula/chamomile combination. Have you ever heard of adding chamomile flowers to the oil as well? It just sounds so nice, but I don’t know if there is some reason you wouldn’t want to do that. Either way, it’d be next time, as my petals are soaking as we speak! I got them from Frontier, a local group I belong to has an account with them.

  11. Jennifer says:

    I want to make this the long way. Would it be ok to add lavender flowers to the oil with the calendula instead of the Essential oil? I want to also use this infused oil to make a soap.

    • I can’t see why not. Let us know how it turns out!

      • Jennifer says:

        The oil did not smell like lavender. It did smell good and I it to make a bees wax oil lotion. It is heavenly. I’m glad i found your your recipe and learned how to infuse oil.

  12. I just discovered your site – really nice! I’m curious about the beeswax, if I would rather not use it is there a suitable substitute you would recommend.

    • Thanks, Evelyn.

      I haven’t tried making this without beeswax, so I’m not sure how this would work. The three things that come to mind are coconut oil, cocoa butter, and shea butter. All of these have a firm consistency, the cocoa butter and shea butter.

      If you find a way, let us know!

  13. Stacy,
    Any chance in making this salve by grinding the flower petal to a power and add to the oil?,Yet infused the calendula flower petals and olive oil to an hr in the crock pot?? Wouldn’t this give a nice golden color??

    Monica

    • I wrote power but meant powder form to give the oil more yellow color. I want to try this next time, what do you think?? My herb salve turned out a very lite yellow. Also, I like your lavender oil idea and I put peppermint oil in the other half of the salve to experiment. I had to dilute the salve because I put a little too much of the Bee wax which harden too hard in comparison to the amount of infused oil. I balance the bee wax and the calendula oil which I really made a good lip balm instead. I’ll try to do this salve again with idea of very little bee wax. Thank you for your time and effort. Monica

      • Hi Monica,

        I haven’t tried making salve with a powdered herb, but it seems like it could work.

        I wonder if i would make the salve grainy or if the herbs would dissolve? Hmmm. I would give it a try with a small amount and see how it turns out. Could you make a 1/4 of the recipe in case it doesn’t work? Sorry that is not very helpful!

        Your peppermint/lavender combination sounds lovely! So does your lip balm. Many of my “fixes” have turned out great, except I never remember exactly how I did it! I try to remember to write these things down now so I can replicate it if it turns out well.

        Let me know if you try it.

  14. I have been making calendula salve for about a year, everyone I have shared it with loves it! A recent batch I made has some spots in it, they almost look like the beeswax is solidifying. I use Shea butter as well. I don’t believe it is mold. Has anyone else had this problem? Or know what it is?

  15. Could you use oregano oil in this, or would it be too strong, or would it burn, as the oil does by itself?

  16. Michaelyn says:

    I am curious, and I am sorry if you have answered this question already. Trying to read through the comments with little ones grabbing at the keyboard and mouse make it nearly impossible. Anyway, I know you said the salve should last up to a year. With the measurements you gave, how much does that make?

  17. Hey! Making the “fast” recipie today, I will be using the stove top. I tried heating in my crock pot and ended up throwing it all away as I burned the you know what out of it and tried to use it anyway….but my five year old daughter insisted that she either smelled like bacon or chinese food after I put some of the salve on her. Quick question…does the smell of making this salve make anyone else feels nauseated? I can’t figure this one out!! Both times I have made this salve I am so nauseated by the smell. Any ideas?

    • Hi Katie,
      I don’t remember feeling nauseated by the smell. But certain smells do make me feel that way. Maybe this is just one for yours?

      So sorry for the trouble.
      I hope you have better luck with the stove top.
      If not, then give the longer version a try (when you have a chance) so you don’t have to deal with the smell at all. I know that’s not very helpful if you need it right away. But maybe for next time.

      Good luck!

  18. How much Shea butter can I substitute for the 1/8 cup beeswax?

  19. I just heard about this amazing flower two days ago. I over heard a conversation about it helping someone with radiaton damage from cancer. Completely healed now. I thought maybe if I rubbed the flower on my face it would help my skin be softer. I have wrinkles on the left side of my face. Two days I have rubbed the flowers on my face for a few minutes a day. And almost gone believe it or not. I was so suprised. I can’t be the only one who has ever tried this.

  20. Hi! I just ordered the beeswax and dried calendula leaves and I am going to try the long version. Just to be sure I don’t mess this up, exactly which step should we start from after letting the leaves soak in the oil for a couple of weeks? I’m guessing it’s Step 3, strain oil into a saucepan?

    Love your site!

  21. if you don’t want to use animal products,an alternative to using bees wax would be candililla wax.it comes from pods of a tree.there are others (carnuba,etc),but this candalilla wax acts identical to bees wax without using animals.Google to buy online or check craft stores, soap making stores (Brambleberry.com),etc.

  22. Hi
    What is the reason for the lavender oil in the calendula salve? Is it just for the smell or some other function?
    Thanks

  23. That looks easy and I may actually be able to get all the ingredients here. Sometimes they make tea out of calendula here and I think that the dried petals would work. I’ll have a sweet baby as a visitor in the fall and some homemade diaper cream seems an great welcoming gift!

  24. I grew calendula for the first time this year just so I could try making up a salve. I think next year, I will grow more though because not only are they useful, but they are pretty too. I picked some flowers first thing this morning and I have them drying. :)

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  26. Just wondering if you ever used a calendula tincture instead of the flowers? If so, how much would you recommend? Also, thoughts on using coconut oil instead of olive? Thanks!

  27. Tashanda Bright says:

    I just made the calendula lavender salve for my husband who burnt himself with the pressure canner and he loves it! Thanks so much for sharing!!
    Have an awesome night,
    Shanda

  28. I love this recipe and will definitely use it in my herbal first-aid kit. Do you think I could substitute coconut oil for the olive oil?

  29. I love this salve! My mom has very sensitive skin and it’s the only one that doesn’t burn and it calms the inflammation, so thank you! We make big batches at a time.

    A friend of mine wants to make a lotion or balm without any oil, such as olive, coconut or almond oil. She also thought a blend of pure aloe vera gel, beeswax and just a few drops of essential oil could possibly work.

    Have you ever made a salve or a balm without oils? I was thinking about swapping out the oil in this recipe for aloe vera gel and melt it with the beeswax (leave out calendula).

    Any thoughts? Thank you!

  30. Is this safe to use with cloth diapers?

    • Shaina,

      I double-checked with some of my friends who are experts on cloth diapering (since I am not). They all suggested a liner for use with this salve because of the wax.

      Hope that helps.

  31. Do you think adding coconut oils to this is a safe move?

  32. Hi, Just made a batch of this in the crock pot yesterday as I needed it right away to use in my daughter’s wipe spray (http://ecocrazymom.com/homemade-cloth-wipe-solutions-recipes/ Anti-fungal Solution #2). I made a double batch so I could make some of the salve also. I put the calendula and oil in a Pyrex 2 c. measuring cup and set that in the crock pot. It took about the same time to make a double batch as it did one. This will be great and I’m already considering adding to gift baskets for baby showers this year.

  33. how much does this one recipe make?

  34. Hello and thank you for the very easy instructions for this salve! I have had foot rash (on top of foot) for months now and in fact had open sores and infection. Doctors were useless. To appears my parents, and only for that reason, I took the antibiotic treatments Dr. prescribed. Nothing, of course. I was miserable. The itch _and_ pain was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. My mum (who is Mexican) recommended trying calendula salve and she happened to have a stash and within 2 months, the rash was under control and gone to the extent that only some discoloration was left. I applied it twice daily, morning and night. I found a source here in Canada for it but it’s _very_ expensive compared to mum’s, though mine is organic and a much better product than her cheap version (which was still excellent, of course). The problem is that I can’t afford it at Cdn$17 per small jar. I am getting back to my raw vegan diet and know the causes of rash will disappear since this only came on when I went off diet (for financial reasons only), but being a raw vegan, I got a crockpot as a Xmas gift last year so that when my brother visits, we have way of heating food for him. Though we haven’t used the crockpot yet, I don’t want to have it only for use for making salves. If I figure out how to both do the herbal infusions _and_ then later, melt the beeswax using some sort of double boiler thing in the crockpot, can I still use the crockpot for making food???

    Pls advise. I really need to make my own salve and yet can’t afford to have the crockpot solely for that use. I have no other heating means as I don’t need a stove.

    Thank you so much for this wonderful, and easy, information. I’ve been looking over many calendula and other herbal salves on the internet but none seem as easy-peasy as this one! Cheers. Diana.

    • I use the same crockpot that I cook food in. I just wash it out well afterward.

      Calendula is edible, so it should not pose any risks.

      Hope you enjoy making the salve!

    • Alexis Lopez says:

      What if I forgot and left the Calendula petals in the oil for a few months? Can I still strain and use them to make the salve?

      • Alexis,

        I think it would probably be fine. If you are worried about it being too strong, you could add in a little olive oil to dilute it.

  35. Have you ever tried making the salve with calendula extract instead? I couldn’t find the petals so I bought that instead and am hoping to make my first batch today. Hopefully it will turn out

  36. i am going the slow route. I have a few flower buds in my petals, are the buds just as useful or should i put more calendula into my mix to compensate? also is the oil/petal mix better off in a dark or sunny place before i strain it?

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  38. Hi Stacy! My hubby just burned himself badly so I was looking for calendula salve. Found you! How fun!

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  40. Moonshyn says:

    I ordered calendula and they sent me camomile. Can I use that instead?? Thanks!

    • Sorry you were sent the wrong product. That is no good! Chamomile won’t work the same as calendula. Can they exchange it for you?

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  43. I made this last year, and have shared it with others for cuts, poison ivy, general rash, post-tattoo healing, you name it, IT WORKED BEAUTIFULLY! Everyone I gave it to raved about how well it worked for them, better than anything else they tried, and so now it’s time to make another batch. Do you think adding Vitamin E would better preserve the product, and not interfere with it’s effectiveness?

    • Yes, Diana. I think adding vitamin E would be fine. I don’t think it would interfere with the effectiveness at all.

      I’m so glad to hear you have enjoyed this salve and shared it with so many others! Thank you for letting me know. That makes me happy :)

  44. Catherine says:

    How much does this make? What size jar do you think I need?
    Thanks!

    • Catherine,

      This makes close to 4 ounces, give or take. Probably a little bit more. I usually put it in a half-pint canning jar, but it doesn’t fill it all the way.

      A 4-ounce jelly jar would probably work, although you might not squeeze it all in.

      • Catherine says:

        Thank you! This is my first try at making something like this. I am kind of excited to see how it comes out. Let me ask you, I have the beeswax pellets and will I use 1/8 cup? Is 1/8 of a cup grated the same as 1/8 cup of pellets?

        • Chrystal says:

          I saw a video that if you are using pellets, then you should use 1 tsp instead of 1 tbsp of grated beeswax.

        • Hi Catherine,
          I’m so excited for you to be making this! How fun.

          As for the beeswax pellets, I do usually substitute it for grated beeswax in exact amounts. I’m not sure if this is the correct way to do it, but it’s what I have always done.

          In fact, I really should have written the recipe in weighted measurements, because they are more accurate. If you are able to weigh your beeswax, you will need 1/2 ounce.

          I just weighed my beeswax to be sure and that it was correct, and a 1/8 cup of pastilles weighed 1/2 ounce. Yours might be slightly different, but it wouldn’t be enough to be a problem.

          I hope that helps.

Trackbacks

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  2. [...] DONE! 7. Treat myself to a mocha-frappuccino face mask. 8. Cut down on refined sugar. 9. Make this calendula salve. 10. Make my own facial clay mask. 11. Try this Kudzu-Apple Juice as a cold remedy for the kids. [...]

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