Calendula essential oil is extracted from the flower petals of the pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) and is sometimes called marigold essential oil.
However, the essential oil is not common. You are much more likely to find calendula-infused oil (also called a macerated oil), which is made by infusing the fragrance of flowers into a vegetable oil.
It's important to recognize the difference between an essential oil and an infused oil and know what you're buying. The infused oil is good for sensitive and dry skin care and sometimes used as a carrier oil in aromatherapy recipes.
Important: Do not confuse pot marigold (Calendula) with French or Mexican marigold (Tagetes). Tagetes essential oil is also available.
Plant family: Asteraceae
Production: The essential oil is steam distilled or CO2 extracted from the flower petals of the Calendula officinalis plant. The flowers are delicate and difficult — some people say near impossible — to steam distill. You are more likely to find a CO2 extract. You might also find a calendula absolute, which is a solvent-extracted oil.
Aroma: Musky, woody.
Is calendula safe to use during pregnancy? Do not use the essential oil or absolute. You can use calendula-infused oil. Aromatherapy and Massage For Mother and Baby recommends using the infused oil as part of a cream for sore and cracked nipples.
Is calendula oil safe for children? The infused oil is safe. The essential oil is probably safe, appropriately diluted.
Cautions: When buying calendula, make sure you know whether you're getting an essential oil, an absolute, or an infused/macerated oil. If the bottle label indicates cold pressed or the ingredients include vegetable oil, you are buying an infused oil. Unfortunately, it's a bit confusing in the marketplace and not every company is fully transparent.
Calendula is useful for skin care, including burns, cuts, eczema, insect bites, rashes, and wounds, according to The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (updated edition).
Blends made with calendula essential oil are not common. Here's one for minor wounds:
Blend all ingredients in a small, dark, glass bottle. Apply a little of the blend to the wound several times a day. Adapted from Ananda.
For skin care:
Calendula-infused oil is an excellent choice for skin care, according to The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. Use the infused oil as a carrier in essential oil blends for skin care. The oil is also a good choice to smooth and soften rough feet and calluses.
For dry, inflamed skin:
Blend ingredients in dark glass bottle. Massage into skin as needed.
Source: Essential Oils: All Natural Remedies
You can also use calendula-infused oil for after-sun skin care and as a general massage oil.
If you want to learn more about what you can do with calendula flowers, get the free ebook Things To Do With Calendula.
Photo Credit: Flower Illustration By Johann Georg Sturm, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons