• calendula oil
    Herbs & Ingredients,  Recipes & How-To's

    Herbal Alchemy: Calendula oil

    al·che·my: a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination. Herbal oils are a good home remedy to keep on hand, useful for everything from skin moisturizing to first aid. Infusing herbs into oil is actually a simple process, but every time I decant the resulting colorful (and sometimes fragrant) oil it seems like magic had a hand in its creation. If you’ve never tried making your own herbal oil, Mountain Rose Herbs has a helpful blog post with directions for both the solar infused and quick heat infused methods. If you’d like to try a different technique that’s closer to how true medicine makers do herbal oils, herbalist Kami McBride…

  • calendula petals in oil
    Herbs & Ingredients,  Natural Skin Care

    Calendula brings the Glow

    Cold, grey, and rainy today. I’m thinking about cozying up with one of my favorite plants, a golden beauty long associated with fire and the Sun, Calendula. Calendula officinalis is her botanical name, but she has been known by many different names including Pot Marigold, Merrybud, Marygold, Summer’s Bride, and Ruddles. Calendula’s petals, leaves, and stem contain carotenoids which are vitamin A precursors with antioxidant activity. Used topically, it’s excellent for all skin types, and especially good for sensitive, dehydrated / dry, chapped / inflamed skin, wounds and burns. I use Calendula in one of my skin care blends for its ability to improve skin’s condition by refining pores and encouraging cell renewal.…

  • Herbs & Ingredients,  In the Herb Garden

    Calendula is not (only) for you

    It’s starting to make me uncomfortable, seeing herbs described and defined by what they can do for us. And if we think they’re especially useful, they’d better watch out- we’ll hunt and gather them to extinction. Plants were not put here for people, as the old story tells. They were living on this planet for eons before we came along and were keeping pretty busy without us. Calendula flowers, for example, provide nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies. Calendula roots form active partnerships with fungi, benefitting the soil. The fact that Calendula has so many health and beauty benefits for people doesn’t mean that we have more rights to it than any…

  • In the Herb Garden,  The Latest News

    Ready for Winter Downtime

    It is sad when garden time comes to a close. But we’re a bit tired after a long season and are looking forward to a little downtime. The Hadley garden has already had frost. All that’s left are some greens growing under fleece, as well as a few Scotch Bonnet and Habanero plants still ripening their peppers under plastic cover. It’s getting cold now, though. We’re almost done. The Northampton garden hasn’t had a frost yet. There are Calendula, Alyssum, and amazingly Nasturtium and Holy Basil flowering. Thank goodness! I’m still seeing honey bees. That’s Calendula pictured above. Her orange-yellow color is so bright, it shines in my November garden like…