May 15, 2018

calendula seed oil

If you’re ever taken a class in herbalism or even read a few blogs on the subject you most likely know the herb calendula.

In the United Kingdom and in most of Europe it was called marigold but as another, unrelated plant, the Mexican Marigold, gained popularity, herbalists gradually shifted using the Latin binomial Calendula officianalis. Over time, the Latin name was shortened to be simply Calendula, which is what we call it today.

For centuries, herbalists and healers have plucked the calendula flowers from fresh blooming plants and steeped them in oil, infusing the oil with the healing compounds in the calendula flowers. These flower infusions remain the mainstay of any herbal apothecary and home practitioner.

Calendula Seed Oil

But there is another calendula oil. Completely different from the infused oil. I recently came across calendula seed oil, a new calendula oil pressed from calendula seeds. Just like other fixed/carrier oils, it is a lipid oil made up of fatty acids. It is still quite rare hard to find.

Here’s a few interesting things to note about calendula seed oil. It is made up of a little over half calendic acid, a fatty acid unique to the calendula plant.

Calendic acid

And what is unusual about calendic acid is that it is a conjugated CLnA, fatty acid similar to punicic acid in pomegranate seed oil.

Both these unique fatty acids give the the oil they are found in, a thick protective feel. When I use these oils, both calendula with the calendic fatty acid, and pomegranate seed oil with punicic acid in skin care formulas, I usually dilute it in another lighter and more absorbent oil. And while you can use either of these oils safely directly on the skin, they do feel a bit thick and sticky when used alone.

Calendula Seed Oil Fatty Acid Profile

This morning, inspired by the first fresh calendula blooming in my garden, I recorded this short video for you on the difference between calendula seed oil, which I purchased from a supplier out of Egypt, and my own calendula infused oil that I made last year with fresh calendula petals.

With these two powerful healing oils on hand, just imaging the potential to treat and heal the skin.

  • Thank you for this writeup and video. I love the way you showed the seeds, flowers, and oil colors. To add to the possible confusion, another Calendula product is the CO2, extracted from the flowers. It is sold undiluted or diluted in a fixed oil such as Jojoba. So many choices for this plant!

  • Hello Susan, I was wondering if one is more healing over the other? I’m wanting to make infused oil so I don’t have to purchase the oil off the internet. So is the Calendula seed oil more powerful than the infused? Also, do you double infuse your batches? Thanks!

    • They are going to be very different products and I couldn’t really say that one is better then the other. The pressed seed calendula was interesting to me because I had infused so much previously. I did both single and double infusions.

  • Hi susan, my whole world of work is with animals and aromatics. My carrier oils are limited due to animals ingesting the oils from either licking or choosing to ingest. Do you have an resources on carriers that are safe for animals. Are you giving any live workshops in Portland?

    • HiJoan, I can tell you which oils people shouldn’t eat but I don’t feel qualified to speak for the animals. I would assume that oils like almond, coconut and olive or pumpkin seed would be ok but better check with a veterinarian to be sure.

      Are you in or near Portland? I’ve only just gotten settled in but sho knows, it might be fun to have a lipid meet up.

  • I am tempted to soak the calendula flowers in calendula seed oil.
    I would love to see a video tour on the cabinets behind you. Those bottles look full of mysterious treasures!

    • Hi Michelle, Calendula flowers infused in calendula seed oil would be pretty neat.
      The cabinets that are behind me in some videos are no more, for me anyway! I moved and shed a lot of my old way of doing things. What they had in them were infusions and tinctures of herbs from my then garden. All of which I made into either soap or products before moving from that place.

    • Hi Lety, it is such a newer oil that it doesn’t figure in many lists like that but you could add it as a superfatting oil at the end of cold process soap.

    • Hi, I ran across your video while trying to figure out what product to purchase for “adult acne” that is forming in the corner of my eyelid. My dad and grandma had it and I want to prevent it. I have been using a pharmaceutical for it but want to go natural. looks like MJ’s Herbals Calendula Salve 1 Ounce Concentrate: Sensitive Skin Treatment, Organic a good one made from flowers but there is also one in a lot of comments called

      Cavin Schon Skin Moisturizer Calendula Oil, 2oz
      Which is made from seeds

      Seems to be a controversy over flowers and seeds!

      • Hi Cathy,

        For decades calendula has been infused into a base oil and only recently has the pressed seed oil become available. I’m sorry I can’t comment on either of the products you listed as I have not tried them but either form of calendula is going to help skin conditions. The fact that the comments mentioned the bad smell in one product tells me that that is an infused calendula oil that wasn’t strained soon enough. Calendula has that tendency to get really stinky if left longer than about 6 weeks – I’ve done it myself. But it would still be good for the skin!

  • In love your newsletters Susan. I grow Calendul resina and macerate it in my own fixed oils. I cannot wait to try this new form.

  • Thank you for giving us this fantastic visual comparison, Susan! Calendula infused oil is a beautiful thing, but the seed oil is intriguing… thanks, too, for doing such great research!

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