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Herbal Cream

The first step in making most herbal creams is to make an herbal oil. The following recipe is for dried herbs. See my note at the end of the oil recipe if you wish to use fresh calendula.

Calendula Oil
Part used: flower
2-3 oz dried herb
1 cup olive oil

(The basic here is enough oil to barely cover your quantity of herbs--fresh or dry)
Put the dried herb into a pyrex, ceramic or stainless steel double boiler (do not use reactive metals such as iron or aluminum) and cover with olive oil. Very gently, heat the oil and herbs for 1 to 2 hours, keeping temperature well below boiling, about 100--150 degrees. Stir often. Heat until herbs feel "crispy" and done (a somewhat intuitive measure, I admit--just use the clock if this is not your style).
Strain the oil through a clean cloth into an appropriate container. I prefer using oils to creams and at this point funnel the oil into a bottle with a pour spout for easy use. Always label your products with a complete list of ingredients and date.
Note on using fresh herbs: Fresh herbs contain water which can shorten the shelf life of your oil (usually 1-3 years) to a few weeks. If your fresh herb oil will not be used up quickly, the water can be removed by allowing the oil to stand for two weeks without agitation. The oil will then have separated from the water and can be siphoned or poured off into a new, clean container for storage--preferably in a cool, dark place.