Calendula is a very useful herbal flower and very easy to grow, even for non-gardeners. Here’s a recipe for calendula earache oil from flowers we gathered clear into autumn. Be sure to check out all the other things you can make a do with calendula after the recipe!
Calendula, An Herbal Flower
Yes, even flowers can have herbal actions! Calendula, also called “pot marigold” because it grows well it containers, come in many shades of yellow, orange and even peach. The flowers grow abundantly and respond well to cutting in that they’ll continue to produce blooms throughout the season the more you harvest. My plant typically slow down in the extreme heat of our Missouri summers but they pop back into production once fall comes. Calendula will bloom until the frosts set in and will often reseed itself into the garden for next year, provided your winter isn’t too extreme.
Calendula is edible, having a slightly peppery taste and looking gorgeous in salads. It is also used as a natural dye source.
Most important for our discussion today, Calendula is medicinal, being very useful in healing anything having to do with your skin – blemishes, cuts, scrapes, etc. It is simple to dry for medicinal and beauty use. Simple cut the blooms below the head and dry on a screen or dehydrator rack. I usually just air dry, but you can dehydrate them, too. Here are five ways to preserve calendula.
For more information on learning to grow calendula, please visit this article from Lovely Greens.
There are a host of other useful flowers that can be harvested this time of year; to learn more about them, visit this article from us here at Homestead Lady.
If you’re interested in learning about a few more herbs you can grow in pots, please give our publication, Herbs in the Bathtub, a try! You don’t need to know how to grow 100 herbs to grow a successful home apothecary. You don’t even need a lot of space! Let us show you how to grow herbs wherever you live, in whatever space you have.
Making Quality Calendula Earache Oil
I recommend you use dried herbs for oil infusions to keep them as water-free as possible. As Colleen Codekas teaches in her fine book, Healing Herbal Infusions,
“There are many methods for infusing herbs into oil, and some definitely work better than others. One big problem is that the oil can go rancid or become moldy if done incorrectly. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid that. The main thing to remember is to keep light, heat and water away from your herbal oil.”
Using dried ingredients, clean containers and equipment and fresh oil will ensure that your herbal oil is healing and helpful this coming winter.
This calendula earache oil should only be used in case of general ear infection and/or ear wax build up. Never put anything into your child’s ear if you suspect a perforated ear drum or if there’s any discharge from the ear. Using a Otoscope like the one below can help you check the condition of your child’s ear drum.
Calendula Earache Oil Recipe
This recipe is super, duper simple and has only a few ingredients. You can feel free to substitute ingredients as your herb cupboard and your herbal knowledge allow. Here’s a great article from The Herbal Academy on mixing up your herbs for an effective earache oil – click here. For example, I could have used the St. John’s Wort that grows wild where I live instead of the mullein (which also grows wild where I live) in this recipe. Herbs are so versatile and user-friendly!
Here's a recipe for a simple herbal oil for earaches that includes calendula. Calendula is easy to grow in any garden, even if you don't grow much else, and simple to use in the home apothecary.
- 1/3 Cup Calendula flowers, dried
- 1/4 Cup Mullein flowers or leaves, dried
- 1/4 Cup Usnea Optional
- 2 Tbsp Garlic, dried, not powdered
Add the herbs and then the oil to a half pint jar. Don't worry about packing down the herbs, if you need to.
Cover the jar with a lid and shake very well. Shake periodically over the next several weeks.
Put in a cool, dark place for 4-8 weeks. The herbs can infuse longer, if you forget about them. Oops! Done that myself. Be sure to continually check for mold or other problems.
Strain out the herbs with a fine muslin or sieve. Resist the temptation to squeeze out the last drop of oil to prevent herb particles getting into your earache oil. You do NOT want herbal particles in your child's ear. I usually hang my herbs in a muslin bag over night to let gravity strain them for me.
Place the oil in a jar, cap and store in a cool dark place. Use within a year.
To use, warm gently in a heated spoon before application. Have your child tilt their head to the side so the oil doesn't run out and use a dropper to place several drops into the ear canal. Place a cotton ball just inside the ear to keep the oil in place. Gently massage the outside of the ear, if the patient will allow it. You can do this several times a day to help with pain and infection. You should see improvement with 12-24 hours. If you don't, see your medical professional.
Keep your hands, the ear drop applicator and the oil clean and free of debris and dirt.
In her book, Healing Herbal Infusions, Colleen Codekas recommends only 1 to 2 drops of earache oil for children under the age of 8. Her recipe, on page 86 of her book, is slightly different - even easier, actually - and can be consulted for more information and advice.
Calendula Earache Oil Ingredients Information
We’ve discussed the benefits of calendula, but what about these other herbs?
Mullein flowers are typically used for earache remedies, but mullein is a powerful herb for many issues. Mullein is an anti-inflammatory which makes it beneficial for alleviating pain. It is also a wonderful herb for sore throats or any bronchial problem. To learn more about how to identify and use mullein, read this thorough article from Joybilee Farm.
Can you use mullein leaves if you don’t have flowers? Yes, but the flowers are recommended. I can’t find anything in my literature to explain why but my supposition is twofold:
- The flowers are more effective at treating earache.
- The flowers aren’t encumbered by the tiny, possibly abrasive and irritating to the ear, hairs that the leaves have.
Having said that, however, for this batch of calendula earache oil I didn’t have any mullein flowers because they’d faded for the season and I’d neglected to gather enough. Consequently, I used mullein leaf, which is also effective. HOWEVER, as I said in the recipe, I’m careful not to wring my herbs as I filter them so that I avoid getting any herbal particles into my oil.
What on earth is usnea, you ask? Usnea is a lichen and, especially if you live in the Pacific Northwest, you’ve seen it hanging from trees as you hike around the woods. To learn more about usnea, please visit this link from Nitty Gritty Life.
Usnea has incredible antibiotic and antiviral properties which makes it wonderful for fighting infection. Collen even talks about usnea on her blog – please visit this link from Grow, Forage, Cook, Ferment. Also, be sure to check out her book, Healing Herbal Infusions – I’ve added it to my home apothecary book shelf!
Garlic has long been hailed as a wonder herb for its many medicinal properties including those as an:
- basically anti-anything that wants to make you ill
I recommend reading more on the benefits of garlic in Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health – another great book to have on hand! Incidentally, Rosemary’s recommendation for Colleen’s book is right there in that dark blue circle on the cover. Just a cool, little thing to know.
Grow garlic easily in the garden with this informative article by Family Food Garden – click here.
More on Calendula
So, you’ve set up your calendula earache oil and you still have some blooms leftover? No problem, get to work making these fine products that include calendula. Incidentally, if you don’t grow your own, you can find calendula here.
Also from Nerdy Farm Wife, make a beginner’s soap with calendula. Jan has everything you need to know about making your own soap on her site. She even has this course to get you started – check it out below.
For gift giving, here’s a Calendula Sugar Scrub from Homespun Seasonal Living.
Here’s how to use calendula with your livestock, especially chickens – from Timber Creek Farmer.
If those aren’t reasons enough to consider growing calendula in your garden, here are seven reasons to give it a try from Tenth Acre Farm. For example, her first reason is that calendula protects the soil. Did you know it did that? I didn’t until I read this!
To keep track of your family’s health and well-being, along with all your notes and recipes, I recommend this resource – print it out and put it in a binder. You’ll thank me later.