Soothing Calendula

The common “pot marigold” is one of many medicinal herbs in the garden.

By Christopher Hobbs and Leslie Gardner


Soothing Calendula: Grow It, Heal It Rash Compress
The herbs in this formula are astringent, soothing, and healing. Use it for poison ivy, and oak, hives, blackheads, and acne that doesn't come to a head for draining.

  • 1⁄2 cup fresh or 1⁄4 cup dried calendula flowers
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh or 1⁄4 cup dried yarrow leaf
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh or 1⁄4 cup dried gotu kola leaf (Centella asiatica)
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh or 1⁄4 cup dried self-heal or peppermint herb4 cups purified water
  • 2 or 3 drops peppermint essential oil (optional; use for hot, itchy rashes like poison oak or poison ivy)
  • Washcloth, muslin, or other absorbent cloth

Combine the calendula, yarrow, gotu kola, self-heal or peppermint, and water in a covered saucepan. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and gently simmer for about 20 minutes. Let it cool and strain out the herbs, but do not discard them. Add the optional peppermint essential oil, and stir to mix well. Lay your washcloth or other compress cloth in a bowl and ladle about 1/4 cup or more of the wet herbs, plus some of the tea, into the cloth. Gather the edges of the cloth around the herbs and secure with a tie, or hold the bundle closed. Apply the herb compress to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes. Return the bundle of herbs to the tea to soak for a few minutes, and apply the compress to the affected area again. Repeat one more time, for a total of three applications. Repeat for a total of two or three sessions daily, or as needed. You can also strain out the herbs, compost them, and just use the tea to soak your cloth.

Grow it Heal itGrow It, Heal It is intended as a reference volume only, not as a medical manual. The information given here is designed to help you make informed decisions about your health. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your doctor. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, we urge you to seek competent medical help.

Originally published in Organic Gardening Magazine, June/July 2013

Photo: Sandra Johnson; Prop Stylist: Anthony Albertus