The Herbal Artist: 3 Flowers for Skin Care

| 7/20/2012 11:18:55 AM

Poppy Swap HeadshotSusan Meeker-Lowry is an herbalist who lives in Fryeburg, Maine. She owns Gaia's Garden Herbals, a home-based, herbal skin-care business offering creams, salves and other herbal goodies made in small batches, many using herbs she grows in her organic garden.  

The beautiful flowers from our gardens and fields uplift our spirits with their color and presence. These three flowers are some of the most common and important herbs for healing the skin, and I have included a recipe that will give you a great medicinal oil without much fuss.

Calendula 7-20-2012 


Calendula officinalis is one of the best skin-care herbs ever! It’s easy to grow and blooms prolifically from summer to frost in sunny yellows, oranges, and even reds and maroons. Calendula is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory. It promotes skin regeneration, minimizes scar tissue, is an excellent skin moisturizer, and helps heal rashes, burns, sores, ulcers and skin problems associated with radiation therapy. It also works wonderfully as a massage oil, and is gentle enough for treating and preventing diaper and heat rashes on a baby’s tender skin.

Rose 7-20-2012


There are many varieties but I love Rosa rugosa for use as a medicine and in my skin care regimen. Growing up, I called them wild roses or, when I was near the ocean, beach roses. Flowers range from pale pink to deep magenta, and they are, of course, wonderfully fragrant. Rose-infused oil is suitable for all skin types especially dry, sensitive, irritated and mature skin. And over time, rose’s astringent effect will greatly diminish those tiny red capillaries close to the skin’s surface. It takes a lot of rose petals to make rose-infused oil, so if you’re not blessed with a large hedge nearby, you can use dried organic roses. Pure rose essential oil is costly but worth it, and can be used when it is added to a quality carrier oil such as jojoba. Be aware that if you choose the essential oil, there are two kinds that will be available. Rose otto, extracted through steam distillation, is lighter in color with a softer fragrance. Rose otto is considered the most therapeutic—and is therefore, more costly. Rose absolute is obtained through solvent extraction, and it is thick, reddish and very fragrant. It is often available diluted in a carrier oil (10 percent dilution is most common). When making a cream, I like to use both so the result is both powerful in its healing  properties and wonderfully fragrant.

St Johns Wort 7-20-2012 

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