DIY RECIPE: CALENDULA BODY BUTTER

WORDS & IMAGES: KATE WEINER

The utter deliciousness of spring always makes my heart feel a little lighter. The purple wildflowers that frame my walk to the library; the sweet, succulent evening light; the light rain and chilly air. I love how everything seems to turn green in a day. You wake up, or leave work, and suddenly the whole world has changed. 

We're weathering a late-season snow in my neck of the woods but the spirit of spring still persists. I've found my energy for DIY herbal remedies has reawakened. Each morning, I pore through my favorite reads—A Wilder Life and The Healing Kitchen in particular have been guiding lights—and find a recipe that soothes something in my soul. 

My favorite herbal remedy to make is a calendula body butter, adapted from Rosemary Gladstar's recipe for face cream from "Medicinal Herbs: Beginner's Guide." For this recipe, I infuse the calendula oil myself. Infusing calendula oil isn't hard—you fill a glass jar with calendula buds and olive oil and let it steep in the sun—but it takes 3 to 4 weeks. Still, it's worth it. There's something magical about watching the midday light filter through a glass brimming with yellow buds. And there's something powerful about making something that most of us buy in plastic packaging.

The change in seasons is an invitation to be gentler with our sweet selves. I hope the act of creating this luscious body butter will remind you every day to be good and kind to yourself. 

ROSEMARY'S FAMOUS FACE CREAM

3/4 cup calendula oil

1/8 cup cocoa butter

1/8 cup coconut oil

1 tablespoon grated beeswax

1/4 cup aloe vera gel

3/4 cup distilled water

A few drops of lavender essential oil. 

TO MAKE THE CREAM:

  1. Combine the calendula oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and beeswax in a saucepan over very low heat and warm until everything is melted together. Pour into a measuring cup or bowl and let cool for at least several hours or overnight, until the mixture is firm, thick, and creamy.
  2. Scrape oil mixture into a blender. In a separate bowl, combine the aloe vera gel, distilled water, and essential oil. Turn the blender on at a high speed and slowly drizzle the water mixture into the oil, continuing to blend until all the water mixture has been absorbed by the oil. The blender should "choke" as the mixture thickens and becomes white and creamy.
  3. Scoop the cream into glass jars and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.