Scientific Name: Calendula officinalis
Calendula is a hardy annual and an old fashioned winter flowering herb with large orange or yellow daisy-like single or double flowers.
It is sensitive to rising temperature, so in this country grows best in the cooler months of the year. Plant Calendula , in autumn, in any type of soil in a sunny position.
It grows well in containers and is a good companion plant for other herbs like basil, and vegetables such as cabbage, celery, potatoes and radish. To encourage continuous flowering, deadhead regularly.
Excessive dampness results in mildew on the leaves.
If this is observed remove these parts and destroy — by burning or burying the foliage,
to prevent the disease from spreading.
Calendula leaves have a mild aromatic scent when crushed. The flowers are harvested and the petals, only, are dried, for use during summer months.
Calendula has been widely used in Arab and Indian cultures as a medicine, food colorant and cosmetic. In medieval times the flowers were considered an emblem of love. Just gazing at the sunny orange flowers was thought to cheer the spirit.
The old people always said that open flowers forecast a fine day ahead !
Calendula is astringent, antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, stimulates bile production, mildly estrogenic and is a menstrual regulator.
Prepare a tea with Calendula petals
For External use:
- as a skin healer, it remedies a wide range of skin problems like eczema, cuts, gazes, slow healing wounds, dry skin, inflamed skin, including minor burns, sunburn and fungal conditions like athletes foot, thrush and ringworm.
- as a lotion for skin problems such as acne, eczema, oily skin, psoriasis and rashes.
- as an excellent herbal mouth wash, for tooth ache and for bleeding gums.
- as an eye wash for tired, red and sore eyes.
- as a tonic or splash for dry, itchy and flaking skin.
- for after-shave redness and sunburned skin.
- can be applied to abscesses, boils, burns and bed sores.
For Internal use:
it has an anti-inflammatory and spasmolytic effect.
- it relieves muscle spasms.
- it boosts a weakened immune system.
Studies suggest that Calendula may be prophylactic for AIDS sufferers.
- It relieves diarrhoea, heartburn, indigestion and stomach ulcers.
- It relieves menstrual pain and heavy bleeding.
- It is a liver tonic treatment which detoxifies the liver, and is useful for jaundice.
Here is a method on preparing a herbal tea as written by Margie Frayne in her book "Help yourself to Health - A guide for home health using healing herbs and good nutrition"
You will need:
1 teaspoon dried petals or 3 teaspoons fresh petals to 1 cup boiling water
Place the herbs in a container with a lid. Pour the boiling (just of the boil) water over the herbs.
Cover and stand for 5-15 minutes. Strain. Add sugar or honey if necessary.
Use as a drink, taking 1, 2 or 3 cups daily, hot or cold (per advice of the doctor or herbalist).
Calendula bath vinegar
- use a dash in your hair rinsing water for color and shine.
- use as a foot soak to soothe blisters and cracked dry heals.
Make a powder from the dried Calendula petals
- and sprinkle over bleeding wounds and cuts.
- or dust onto baby's bottom to alleviate nappy rash.
A Poultice of Calendula petals is anti-septic and is excellent for drawing sepsis from a small wound. The sap from the plant stem has the reputation for removing warts, corns and calluses.
Break off a leaf and drop the sap onto the skin every day until the problem disappears.
Calendula petals have a slightly peppery taste and can be sprinkled fresh or dried on/in salads, and cooked in soups, casseroles and pastas. Use them to make a natural gold colorouring in butter and omelet's, and add to any baked items like cakes, scones and biscuits.