by Kelley White, Whatcom Talk, March 20, 2023
Like rich sunshine, vivid and cheerful, the Calendula flower is as optimistic as it looks. Emily Mitchell, owner and founder of Em’s Herbals in Bellingham, has formulated the friendly and formidable flower into a salve and oil that both provide relief to some of the most vulnerable members in our community.
“We want to educate folks on what the benefits are and why this is such a great product,” says Mitchell. “We use certified organic Calendula flowers grown here in Whatcom County.”
Creating Calendula Salve and Oil
Mitchell’s process is wholesome with a mind for natural and organic ingredients. “We take the flower and infuse it into organic sunflower and jojoba oil for a minimum of three weeks,” Mitchell says. “There isn’t any heat applied that could damage the properties of the plant. It’s been expeller pressed and we hand press it so there’s no mechanical force used in the extraction process. What you get is a very simple, very effective, beautiful oil.”
With the oil, Mitchell creates a salve for those who prefer a more solid structure to the healing agent. “The salve is super simple, it only has four ingredients—five if you include the two oils we make the Calendula oil with,” Mitchell says. “The ingredients [for the salve] are infused Calendula oil, organic shea butter, organic beeswax, and organic coconut oil.” It’s formulated for folks with sensitive skin, and contains no hidden fragrances or preservatives. Mitchell’s Calendula salve is one of the most important creations from Calendula oil that Em’s Herbals offers. It has an incredible host of powerful properties and is astonishingly impactful for healing and pain management.
Mothers in Mind
The sustainable and clean Calendula products were originally formulated mainly for mothers and babies, a special interest of Mitchell’s, and for nursing mothers to heal things like chapped nipples. “You can also use [Calendula salve] for postpartum [baby care], and during labor for perineal massage,” says Mitchell. “When the baby is born, it’s great for helping remove meconium—the sticky, tar-like substance the baby passes as its first bowel movement.”
Mitchell was pleasantly surprised to find a multitude of other uses for the dazzling bloom. “You can use it on sunburn, and they’ve been doing studies on Calendula and dermatitis caused by radiation treatment for folks who have had breast cancer specifically,” says Mitchell. Women who have used Calendula salve and oil have fewer skin issues and don’t have to interrupt radiation treatment. “And the pain associated with the radiation treatment is reduced as compared to the other pharmaceutical ointments. I’ve heard this in testimonials from my customers.”
The positive effect Calendula salve has had on pain and healing during and after radiation treatments is a game changer for women dealing with breast cancer. Finding a natural and effective way to help cancer patients in pain is vital to Mitchell.
The salve can also come in handy with little ones who tend to find themselves with tiny scrapes and skinned knees.
“It’s got all these antioxidant properties, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanins, that give the flower that vibrant orange color,” Mitchell says. “And you can use the flower itself for so many different things. It has an affinity for epithelial tissue—skin tissue.” A tea can be applied to help cleanse and heal pink eye and other bacterial infections, like boils and athlete’s foot.
“It is just such an amazing plant,” says Mitchell. “It’s a gentle, ubiquitous, friendly, happy plant because it looks like sunshine, and it grows so easily. It’s just kind of like a friend for so many different reasons.”