This wonderful ointment/cream is my all time favourite ‘go to’ magic potion.
It’s amazing for so many things, you can use it on dry skin as a moisturiser, on sunburn to hydrate and protect from infection, on bites and stings, on excema, any spots or blemishes, you can use it for any sore or inflamed or itchy skin conditions, to heal wounds, to help with rashes, prevent bedsores, soften hard skin on the feet… the list is pretty endless!
I always make sure we have a great supply in the garden. They have to be a certain species tho, Calendula officianalis, the pot marigold, NOT the african or french marigolds (although they are great for growing next to tomato plants to increase the yield)
They come in all different shapes and sizes, single flowered, double,
even multi flora with rows of petals.
They come in all shades of yellow and orange, pale milky yellow to dark burned orange, and they are a joy to see in the garden in early summer. They are so easy to grow from seed too, just toss the seeds on the garden and they will do their own thing. They are fantastic self seeders too, so once the flowers are all finished, the plants will start to dry up, you will see all the seed heads, once they dry and start to shed seeds, just pull the whole plant up and leave it until spring does her magic next year.
So, to make your own magic ointment you need very few items, but plenty of time.
Harvest your marigold flowers and use them straight away for the best results, but you can pick your flowers and pop them into a freezer bag in the freezer to use later on. I do both, I make a batch of cream in late May/early June and also freeze some flowers in case I need to make it stronger or if i need to make another batch.
You need a big pile of flowers, no stalks, a jar of petroleum jelly (you can buy big jars like this in the £1 shops usually)
A pan of water with a clean bowl on top, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water or your ointment can burn.
You can add in other herbs if you want, lavender to aid sleep and ease headaches, camomile to aid restful sleep, I’m using mint to help with the itching and provide a cool menthol to the cream.
I’m using a mix of peppermint for the cooling and spearmint for the scent.
Start by melting the petroleum jelly in the bowl
While you are doing that, take all the mint leaves off the stems, and all the petals off the green stalks, you don’t want anything but the leaves. Throw the rest away.
as soon as the petroleum jelly has melted
add the petals and stir, then rip up the other leaves and add those.
Give it a good stir and keep it on the heat until the petroleum jelly becomes liquid again, it will cool down as you add the flowers.
Now comes the waiting…
Heat the jelly til it melts, then turn off the heat, stirring for a while to bruise the petals, then leave it to set again, then repeat…all through the day. You can leave the bowl out in the sun, just cover it with a net, not cling film as that encourages condensation and you get water in your cream, and not a tea towel because that blocks the sun, I use one of those fly covers, like a net tent. You can leave it out in the sun all day.
Once you have done this for 24 hours, you can check the colour of the cream, it should have turned a lovely golden colour, depending on how many dark flowers you used.
Heat it up once more, until it’s really hot and liquid. While you are doing that, clean some glass jars, ones without metal lids as the metal can react with the cream and it can go off.
Take a piece of muslin cloth, I use the face cloths I get with Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish 🙂
Pour the liquid through the muslin into another bowl, it might take some time to fully seep through.
You can then either pop that bowl on the pan to warm it again, or just pour it straight into the jars.
The muslin cloth will then have all the petals stuck to it along with a healthy dose of cream. This makes a fantastic poultice.
Wait until it has cooled down a bit still warm but please be careful because it can be really hot, then bandage it to any stubborn patches of excema or dry skin or sore patches you might have, leave it overnight and I guarantee the next morning you will have soft skin, keep using the cream 3 times a day for a week and you should be almost clear of the problem.
one tip I would give, don’t attempt to make this on the stove when the heat outside is over 100 degrees! *PHEW*