How to Make Your Own Calendula Sitz Bath for Postpartum Recovery

After vaginal or c-section birth, try this helpful herb!
Dried yellow flower buds from the herb calendula. The dried flowers are in a small bowl.
© Can Stock Photo / Gitusik

Calendula, also known as marigold, is a flower that is originally native to Asia and Europe and grows easily in gardens. Historically, calendula has been used to treat wounds and irritated tissue. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps the formation of skin cells which lend themselves well to healing the damage that can occur to your pelvic floor, and perineal and abdominal tissues during childbirth.

A sitz bath is a traditional treatment of submerging your genitals and anus into a medicated tea or solution to heal the tissue. The effect of the warm water helps increase circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid, and the addition of calendula enhances the healing process. Lavender is a nice addition to a calendula sitz bath as it acts as an antiseptic and overall mood relaxer. You can buy bulk flowers or purchase a pre-made sitz bath formula at many herbal stores or you can grow your own healing herbs easily. (Start with these 10 healing herbs.)

DIY Herbal Sitz Bath Instructions

  • Add 2 tablespoons of calendula flowers* and 2 tablespoon lavender flowers to 16 oz of boiled water. Cover the container and steep the herbs for 10 minutes.
  • Allow the mixture to cool to a tolerable temperature, testing on your forearm like you would your baby’s bath water. You want it warm, but not so hot it burns.
  • Strain the mix and discard the plant material into your compost.
  • Pour the tea into a sitz bath so the tea covers your genitals and anus.
  • Sit for 10-15 minutes a day to help the tissues heal.

*If you have any allergies to the Asteraceae or Compositae family (which includes calendula, ragweed, chrysanthemums, and daisies), avoid using calendula.

For women with a c-section scar, set aside a little extra medicinal tea that you can gently pour over your wound as you sit. Ensure you follow your surgeon’s recommendations for follow-up care and when you can wash the wound. If you are noticing any redness around your incision site or it is showing signs of infections, discontinue the treatment and follow up with your doctor immediately.

Include this daily herbal sitz bath in your post-baby self-care routine that also includes as much rest as possible, gentle return to activity, whole-food nutrition, and attention to your emotional health and you’ll find yourself well-prepared for all the amazing challenges ahead!

Once you're feeling ready, here's how to safely return to exercise—without causing pain to your pelvic area.