One of my favourite gifts to make is Healing Salves and the key ingredient is Calendula infused oil. Calendula officinalis is an amazing medicinal plant with antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. It is an incredible wound-healer and very soothing for dry or inflamed skin. A must in an eczema cream and gentle enough for the most sensitive skin, even babies.There are several methods for infusing oils, this is the simplest method, often called a Sun Infusion:
Step 1: Purchase dried calendula flowers from a trusted dispensary or dry your own. To do so, place in a well-ventilated place and patiently wait a few days until thoroughly dried. I find placing plant materials on an old window screen propped up off the ground works really well.
Step 2: Transfer dried petals to a glass jar, pack them in loosely and then fill jar with oil. You'll want to use a jar that fits all your flowers loosely, so you can fill the oil almost to the top of the jar as this will minimize the amount of air in your jar. Olive oil or sunflower oil work well. Top with a lid.
Step 3: Leave in a warm place (a sunny window, a warm cupboard above the fridge, etc)
Step 4: Shake your jar daily! This prevents any flowers that are floating on the top, exposed to air, from getting mouldy.
Step 5: When your oil smells sweetly of calendula, your ready to strain. This will take 4-6 weeks. Strain the flowers out with cheesecloth or nut milk bag and squeeze to get every drop of goodness out!
To make salve: Melt beeswax (about a 5:1 ratio of calendula oil to wax), once melted, remove from heat and stir in your calendula oil. If clumps form, warm over low heat until fully melted. Pour into your containers, then allow to cool and set. Use liberally on dry skin, scrapes, rashes or burns.