Calendula: Healing and Hidden Remedies In Your Skincare


From overworked hands to babies’ tender bottoms, calendula’s gentle healing properties have made it a component in all kinds of skincare.

The delicate gold flower, aka calendula, often teams up with rose or honey in hand lotions and face creams and is regularly included in herbal blends for bath ‘teas’ and facial steams. This versatile wonder plant is not only called upon for myriad skin ailments, but also is also safe and effective for dry, oily, sensitive, and combination skin.

Originally native to the Mediterranean region, the this healing plant (Calendula officinalis), also known as Garden Marigold or Pot Marigold, is now naturalized all over the world. A  Dried calendula petals and flower heads have been used medicinally throughout history.

European folk healers and herbalists used the herb internally to encourage sweating during high fevers, cure jaundice, and induce menstruation. Soon after the plant made its way to North American soil in the 19th century, researchers discovered that compounds in calendula petals reduce inflammation and help control bleeding. Western medical practitioners were already using the herb to treat stomach ulcers and liver problems.

Contemporary herbalists and naturopaths prescribe the flower for ear infections, toothaches, and pink eye. And modern apothecaries, such as Farmaesthetics and Iris Herbal, use this easy-to-grow healing plant in a variety of salves, creams, and remedy oils.

When infused into an oil or wash for topical use, calendula facilitates the healing of burns, bruises, and cuts as well as sunburns and surgical incisions. According to the Herb Research Foundation, calendula’s healing benefits may be attributed to its high content of naturally occurring iodine, carotene, and manganese, which promote skin cell regeneration.

Modern skincare companies and spas have caught on to this age-old remedy and have developed specialized treatments for the face and body. From herbal tea steam baths and soaks to calendula infused oil massage and facial creams, this garden staple is earning a spot on the menus of many of the more sophisticated day and destination spas nationwide.

At the Spa at the Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, on the South Carolina coast, therapists use a rich calendula blossom-infused oil from Anakiri in their Island Infusion hydrotherapy treatment. In a special Thermal M capsule (think enclosed Vichy shower with steam), clients are dry brushed and massaged with oil. Herbal tea bags are placed over the eyes and the capsule is closed and the steam is turned on, allowing the botanicals to penetrate deeply into the skin. A head and face massage are given while the body steams. The session concludes with a rain shower rinse.

Casa de las Chimeneas Inn, in Taos, New Mexico, works with local herbalist, Cathy Hope of Iris Herbal, to formulate its herbal spa products. The B&B spa uses a signature blend of dried organic and wild-crafted herbs including calendula, lavender, rose, and chamomile for herbal infusions in its facials, Deluxe Hand and Foot Treatment, and Herbal Steam Tent. Hope notes that this particular blend of herbs provides mildly astringent, anti-inflammatory, and calming benefits” and it undoubtedly smells good too!

The Body Sage in Jackson, Wyoming, includes a warming dose of calendula in its Mountain Herbal Wrap. The day spa, which is known for its series of treatments and products indigenous to the region, incorporates fir, calendula, yarrow, and comfrey from local growers for this muscle-melting wrap. Clients are snugly wrapped in heated linens that have been steeped in the relaxing, detoxifying blend. The half-hour service is a popular apras-ski treatment, as it benefits dry, chapped skin as well as fatigued muscles.

If that’s not enough, spas from Calistoga, California, to Sandwich, Massachusetts, use calendula lotions and creams as post-scrub hydrating remedies and a veritable bounty of products with calendula are available from spa lines like Jurlique, Eminence Organics, and Kiehl’s. For those with a green thumb (or a tight budget) growing your own isn’t out of the question calendula thrives in almost any soil with adequate sun, and reseeds easily year after year. Readily available in most well-stocked natural foods stores, dried calendula petals are perfect for creating your own bath infusions and facial mists, offering another option for do-it-yourselfers. Given calendula’s gentle (but therapeutically powerful) nature and multitude of uses, it’s bound to find a place in both your beauty regimen and medicine chest.

At Home Recipe

Calendula soak and aromatherapy steam
Compliments of Tracy Baker, Casa de las Chimeneas

2 handfuls dried calendula petals
Epsom salts
1/2 cup bath oil calendula if available
10 drops essential oil of choice lavender or rose work well
Candles and music


Give yourself a generous hour for this treatment. Boil a gallon of water. Remove from heat, and add the calendula petals. Cover and steep. Run a warm bath, adding the Epsom salts and bath oil. Light a few candles and turn on some relaxing music. While the tub is filling, practice five minutes of deep breathing or light stretching. Add the calendula infusion and the essential oil to the bath water. Soak in the tub, breathing in the steamy vapors for about thirty minutes. Drain the tub, and run a cool shower. Make the shower progressively cooler, to your tolerance. Dry off and slather on your favorite lotion.

Calendula Products

Essential Day Lotion
Vital Day Cream
HerbalFusion Face and Body Oil
SunFusion Body Oil
FlowerFusion Hand Cream
(800) 545-7302

Eminence Organics

Peach Moisturizing Masque
Pumpkin & Orange Masque
(888) 747-6342

Nourishing Herbal Cream
Calendula Remedy Oil
(800) 711-9194

Iris Herbal
Flower Facial
Chamomile, Calendula,
Comfrey Cr me
(877) 286-2970

Ultra Sensitive Aromatic
Hydrating Concentrate (AHC)
Day Care Face Lotion
(800) 854-1110

Calendula Herbal Extract
Alcohol Free Toner
Algae Masque
Imperiale Repariateur
Moisturizing Masque
(800) KIEHLS2

Lakon Herbals
Essential Care Calendula Cream
(800) 865-2566

Calendula Treatments

The Body Sage
Jackson, WY
Mountain Herbal Wrap – $80
(307) 733-4455

Casa de las Chimeneas Inn & Spa
Taos, NM
Herbal Steam Tent
(w/full body massage) – $115
(505) 758-4777

Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa
Sandwich, MA
Cranberry Rose Sugar Polish – $95
(800) 444-3566

Mount View Hotel & Spa
Calistoga, CA
Citrus Splash Body Polish – $70-$95
(800) 816-6877

The Spa at The Sanctuary
Kiawah Island, SC
Island Infusion – $140
(877) 683-1234


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