Most allotments are natural pharmacies. The flowers and herbs grown can be used for flavourings, teas, infusing vinegar and oils and making ointments, tonics and tinctures. I started collecting calendula flower heads at the beginning of July for Calendula ointment (or salve), a great remedy for skin grazes, wounds, minor burns, sunburn, chapped hands, dry skin, eczema and nappy rash. Try to collect early morning after the dew has dried.
I air dry, usually on a newspaper, for between six to ten days out of direct sunlight. Half fill a 500ml jar with the dried flower heads and cover with a good organic olive oil ensuring the dried flower heads are fully submerged. You can also use sunflower oil or almond oil
Place the jar in a brown bag and leave to infuse in a cupboard which keeps a fairly even temperature for about four to five weeks. (Some people stand the mixture in full sunlight for a week or two and then make the ointment. I prefer to let it infuse slowly).
Once infused, the mixture is poured into a bowl through a muslin cloth and re-bottled, preferably in a dark bottle (I re-use dark green olive oil bottles). You can use the oil on your face and body. It is powerful but gentle enough for babies
To make 2 x 30ml jar or 4 x 15ml jar or 6 x 10ml salve tins, melt 2oz of calendula oil together with a flat teaspoon of organic beeswax pellets (if you are using a block of beeswax, you will need to grate two flat tablespoons). Melt the mixture in a bowl placed in a saucepan of boiling water. Once melted, add 10 drops of lavender essential oil for a heavenly smell and for its wonderful healing properties. Pour the mixture into the jars or tins to set and within an hour you will have a lovely healing ointment for yourself and friends.
Calendula is antibacterial and antifungal with more than thirty chemical compounds in the plant. The Egyptians valued it for its properties of rejuvenation and healing.
Comfrey: I make a similar ointment with dried comfrey leaves but use 10 drops of Frankincense essential oil instead of Lavender. Some people prefer to use the roots and October is the time for digging up comfrey roots. Personally I feel you can make the ointment with either leaves or roots, however for roots you will need to use a different recipe which I will post later this year. Comfrey ointment is one of the best, if not the best, herb for applying to bruises, sprains and fractures.
Only use organic beeswax and essential oils from a reputable source where pesticides have not been used.