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Calendula salve.

Botanical name: 

Yep, xmas is coming.

30 rose salves, 30 calendula (Calendula officinalis) salves, and 30 gardener's salves, that's the order I got earlier this week. I was almost out of calendula salves, and it's a good thing I did all those rose salves a couple days ago, no?

Photo: Calendula officinalis 25. Pic: Here's some of the calendula I used.
I picked it this summer, but I don't have nearly enough of it. Yargh, and this after vowing solemnly a couple years ago that I'd never ever run out of my own calendula again! So the story goes, eh?

Oh well, perhaps one of the UK bulk herb houses has vibrantly colored calendula this year (pale pale yellow means it's either too old or dried too hot), calendula that doesn't stink (smelly calendula has been dried too hot. It always smells a little, but it shouldn't reek), and that doesn't contain feathers and chickenshit (yes, feathers and chickenshit. Small wonder I vowed never to buy calendula from the UK again, eh?).

Or perhaps I'll call some of my local herb pals, asking them if they have any to spare.

The latter is more likely; the quality of most dried flowers to be had from the UK herb houses in bulk is abysmal. Lavender is an exception, that one is usually good. Anyway, if you know of a good supplier in the EU, by all means tell me about them.

Photo: Waterbath 1. Pic: This is the three-chopsticks-and-a-bowl waterbath setup.
The idea being that the chopsticks stop the sides of the bowl from touching the sides of the kettle; it's necessary in this particular setup as the bowl doesn't have handles.

Making a calendula salve is very simple: Pour 1 l oil (this is cold-pressed organic safflower oil) into the bowl, pour water into the bottom bit, add as much dried calendula flower as will fit into the oil (the chopstick I'm stirring with should stand, at least at first), leave on medium heat (4 out of 6, on my stove) for 1.5 hours, let cool for a while, and strain through a cheesecloth.

Add 1 part beeswax (by weight) to 8 parts herbal oil (by volume); that's 100 g beeswax to 800 ml oil, which makes about 30 salve jars (30 ml).


I wrung about 900 ml oil out of this particular oil'n'herb mess, once it had been on the stove for long enough, so that's a couple more calendula salves. I'll have to make more, of course, for the various xmas markets. I also made garden salve (meadowsweet and calendula - one batch, about 34 salve jars), and I'll have to make the warming salve. And more rose salve.


Hooray, the local pharmaco wholesaler has salve jars in stock right now! Last time I called them they were all out and simply could not deliver, not this week, not next, and not even two months later. So I cancelled, back then, and bought my salve jars from an UK herb house instead. That's expensive, what with the added freight...

Related entries: Calendula salve - Calendula flowers - Yellow flowers: Calendula


Hello Henriette
Do you use whole dried calendula flower or the petals only? I have some calendula just coming into flower (start of summer here in Australia) and would like to try making your salve. Thanks.

For salves, I dry the flowers whole and use them whole.
For teas, I dry the flowers whole, rub a couple handsful, shake them, and pick the petals off the top of the bowl.

You can make a fresh flower salve, but it's easier to dry them first; they have to be completely dry, too, or you'll get mold.

Could you describe, or put up a pic, of a waterbath? And what UK herb house did you get your salve jars from? You make salve-making sound straightforward if you follow simple rules.

You'll find that there is a photo of a waterbath in the post.
I got my salve jars from the Herbal Apothecary ... they're not online, though. (This is an UK outfit for practitioners).

I'm wondering if you sell your rose salve, or know where I could find some? My daughter is hooked on Smith's Rosebud Salve, but I don't like the petroleum base. Thanks.

Why not ask locally, at your farmer's market or similar? Or make your own - it's easy enough, and I've outlined the makings of various salves (including rose) in the salves series on this blog.