Today I made my first batch of organic calendula cream. It's quite easy and very rewarding to make botanical preparations for your skin using a variety of skin-loving herbs and ingredients.
The cream I made today is an anti-inflammatory soothing cream for the body and face. It's made on a base of calendula (Calendula officinalis) oil and infused with soothing chickweed (Stellaria media), astringent witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) and lavender (Lavendula officinale) essential oil to create a super moisturising and soothing cream for rashes, acne, rosacea, and insect bites.
It's such a good feeling to DIY beautiful yummy body goodies that I thought I would share the recipe. I think the process of making the cream is just as soothing as the finished product.
Making herb-infused oils
Infusing plants in oil is an age old method of extracting the active constiuents from plants that elicit their healing properties on us, and putting them into a usable form i.e. the oil. For this you will need some dried herbs and a good quality oil, such as extra virgin olive, almond, or jojoba. I used olive for its stability (it rarely goes rancid), plus it's more affordable than say jojoba oil which, while absolutely luscious, comes with a hefty price tag.
The herbs you use depend on what you'd like your cream to be for. Calendula is a remarkably soothing, wound-healing, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-fungal flower making it a perfect base for my skin-nourishing cream.
You could also infuse lavender, St John's Wort, comfrey or arnica for their respective healing properties.
Half fill a clean jar with dried herb, then cover the herb with your oil of choice. Screw a lid onto it tightly and leave the jar to steep in a cool, dark place for 3-4 weeks. The exception to this is St. John's Wort, which is best infused in oil when left in a warm place that receives direct sunlight for part of the day.
Basic cream recipe
30g emulsifying wax
50mL herb-infused oil
24mL vegetable glycerine
10mL herbal tincture (I used 5mL each of chickweed and witchhazel)
90mL distilled water
40 drops lavender essential oil
- Heat the wax and oil over a water bath to combine.
- Warm the herbal extract, water and glycerine also over a water bath at the same temperature as the oil-wax mixture. This helps to avoid cracking which occurs when a too-cold liquid is added to the warm oil-wax mixture.
- Slowly add the liquid mix (herbal extract, water & glycerine) to the oil-wax mixture, stirring to maintain the emulsion until set.
- Add your essential oil of choice. I used lavender for its beautiful smell and natural preservation properties.
- Spoon or pour the mixture into amber glass jars, pop the lids on and let cool. Voila you've made your own phyto-therapeutic body care product!