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Calendula petals - use or not?

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sheilaohga

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Calendula whole stem etc - use or not?

Hi, as a beginner in soap making I have a lot to learn.
I just received my new pack of dried whole calendulas.
I know I will use the petals to spread on top or grind them and use on my soaps but do I grind the whole flower with the stems etc too?
I mean, the whole flower thingy are dark colored and also looks very harsh to be used on the soap.
But then it looks a lot of waste to be thrown away.
So is it ok to use the whole lot, fine ground?

20150828_094027.jpg
 
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navigator9

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I have used petals only. I ordered once, a batch that looks like yours and required a lot of sorting through, cleaning and getting rid of the schmutz. After that, I ordered petals only, much easier. Calendula is one of the few botanicals that don't turn brown in soap.
 

not_ally

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I don't know if you could use it ground, it looks as if might still be scratchy. Maybe remove the petals to use in soap (I am w/Nav, it does look like a lot of work, though) and infuse the rest? From this site, it might make a nice infused oil that you could use in other ways, not sure if the good properties would survive the lye.

http://mountainroseblog.com/healing-calendula/
 

shunt2011

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I too only use the petals. But that's all I've ever ordered as well. The whole flowers looked like way too much work for me. :)
 

rparrny

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Calendula is so healing to the skin...the petals are an okay addition but why not make your soap more healing instead?
If your making CP soap, cover the flowers in olive oil, set out in the sun in a covered jar (some herbalists will disagree and say keep it in the dark) shake it every few days then in 3-4 weeks strain and use as part of the OO in your CP soap
OR
Cover in glycerin and do as above and use the strained glycerite in you MP glycerin soap.
Now you have a truly healing bar!
 

not_ally

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But do the healing properties survive the lye, R, in your opinion? It was my impression (without knowing much about the actual chemical interactions) that lye destroyed the otherwise desirable/operational compounds in most botanicals. Maybe it would be better in MP (since the base is already saponified) although you pretty much max out on 1 TB per lb of base for liquid additions there, would that be enough to make a difference, do you think? I really don't know much about this stuff, so it is pretty interesting. Also, I would like to add certain things if they are even somewhat likely to work.
 

rparrny

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But do the healing properties survive the lye, R, in your opinion? It was my impression (without knowing much about the actual chemical interactions) that lye destroyed the otherwise desirable/operational compounds in most botanicals. Maybe it would be better in MP (since the base is already saponified) although you pretty much max out on 1 TB per lb of base for liquid additions there, would that be enough to make a difference, do you think? I really don't know much about this stuff, so it is pretty interesting. Also, I would like to add certain things if they are even somewhat likely to work.
In a glycerite I would say yes, in a lye soap I would add an ounce or two like an EO after trace. Before trace you're probably right it would get eaten alive.
 
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not_ally

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Thanks, I think I will try one of the things I was thinking about in MP, that seems like the best bet ...
 

kumudini

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hmmm, I was thinking about the lye monster this morning. We know that it reacts with fats and some sugars and most likely with a range of chemicals in the additives we put in soaps. But what really are the beneficial compounds in those additives and which of them react with lye and which are unaltered at the end of saponification? does the heat produced and sustained for min few hours destroy everything beneficial? I wonder if there are any studies looking into these aspects of saponification.

coming to the original question, I would not grind everything up and put it in soap. I use only petals, ground up in my soap. I love the light golden color the calendula infused oils impart in my soap. I quickly work to get the majority of the flower bases and twigs out and infuse only petals. I think this waste is worth it. Next time I will only order petals.
 

not_ally

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But what really are the beneficial compounds in those additives and which of them react with lye and which are unaltered at the end of saponification? .
That is the thing about additives w/CP, even at trace. Since most of the saponification will take place after trace - not sure how much, surely 90+ % - I would think most everything would get consumed, even adding at trace. That is why I like the idea of trying w/MP, where there will be no more ravages (I think) from the lye monster.
 

green soap

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I use only the petals, and I grow calendula. The flower center has the seeds, so you could grow your own calendula with what you do not infuse. They are very easy to grow.
 

IrishLass

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I've used calendula petals (just the petals) in my soap only once. It was to make a soap that SoapQueen demonstrated on her site a few yeas ago. The soap looked absolutely fabulous, but I absolutely hated the texture and feel of the petals in the finished soap. But then again, I'm persnickety that way....kinda like the Princess and the Pea syndrome going on. lol I just hate having leafy botanicals or other chunky things floating around in my soap that interfere with my ultra-smooth & bubbly soapy experience. Plus I hate the thought of such things making their way down into my drainpipes.

I really like the infusing-in-oil idea much better. Color me very skeptical that the medicinal benefits will survive the lye monster- and even if they do, it's not going to be on one's skin long enough to be of be of much benefit I should think (putting it in lotion would be a better plan)- but it might make for a nice color.



IrishLass :)
 

kumudini

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IL, I also dont find whole botanicals in soap very pleasing. I either infuse or grind and sift for the finest powder. The infused oil gives a nice hue to the soap though.
And I use the infused oil straight on my skin when it needs some extra love. One thing I noted is it lessens minor irritations rather quickly, very soothing. I also used it in my lotion bar batch recently.
 

shunt2011

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In a glycerite I would say yes, in a lye soap I would add an ounce or two like an EO after trace. Before trace you're probably right it would get eaten alive.
Even if you add it after trace it would likely still be eaten more than likely. Trace has nothing to do with the saponification. The saponification process is what will eat anything beneficial. Saponification takes up to 72 hours depending on gel or not gelling your soap.

Sorry about the edit showing on your post. I hit the wrong button...didn't edit anything though. :smile:
 

IrishLass

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Ditto what Shari said. The lye is still very much alive and active at trace. I've read from those who have measured such things say that only about 10% of saponification has actually taken place at that time. That leaves a whopping 90% gobbling action still going on.


IrishLass :)
 

not_ally

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This thread points to one of the reasons I still like to make mp. I started w/it, and did just MP for a couple of years b/c I was afraid of the lye. I'm glad that I switched, b/c I like CP soap better (much better for 52 yr old skin) but the fact that you are adding stuff post-saponification w/mp just makes certain things easier and better.

But I'm also glad I started w/MP, I don't think I would have tried it if I had started off w/CP, and it is really nice to know so much about it if I want that option for a given soap. Plus, clear MP can make such beautiful soap.

I sometimes wish more CP'ers did MP, there don't seem to be *that* many of us who really like both and like to gab about the differences at great length (although this is certainly the place to do it, since there are some cross-over folks.)

Sorry, OP, didn't mean to de-rail and I know this is of limited interest to most.
 

LoveOscar

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I have a book by Soap Queen that has a calendula recipe in it, and she has calendula infused in sweet almond oil, and then presses the petals on top after the soap is poured into the mold.
 

rparrny

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But do the healing properties survive the lye, R, in your opinion? It was my impression (without knowing much about the actual chemical interactions) that lye destroyed the otherwise desirable/operational compounds in most botanicals. Maybe it would be better in MP (since the base is already saponified) although you pretty much max out on 1 TB per lb of base for liquid additions there, would that be enough to make a difference, do you think? I really don't know much about this stuff, so it is pretty interesting. Also, I would like to add certain things if they are even somewhat likely to work.
In a MP absolutely, in a CP...I initially was skeptical but my rosehip EO survived the lye nicely so I plan on trying it soon. I grow my own calendula and have some outside curing as we speak...
I never paid attention to the max amounts in a glycerin MP, I remember adding 30cc calendula and 5cc rosehip glycerite to a batch that make about 8 bars and although the rosehip was a bit strong (wildcrafted rugosa rose from a little island only accessible by boat...wonderful medicine from that batch...) the texture was fine.
As to why it survives? I look around and see jewel weed always growing around poison ivy...the culprit and the cure are usually compatible in some ways. What is lye? Hardwood ash...created from fire...calendula a perfect remedy for burns...nature has a way of defying the odds when it comes to natural medicines even though it doesn't make much sense.
 
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