calendula

Calendula: if you are making a cream with calendula, use only the flower petals in order to obtain a deep golden colour ...

Common Names: Calendula, Pot Marigold

Botanical Name: Calendula officinalis

Family: Asteraceae

Plant Type: Hardy annual

Parts Used: Flower petals, leaves

Flowering: June to frost

Calendula is a cultigen, meaning that the plant we currently use is the product of ages of human selection (mainly occurring in southern Europe) from the wild Mediterranean ancestor (wild calendula = Calendula arvensis).

Calendula is native to countries bordering the Mediterranean, both north and south. It is cultivated in most temperate parts of the world as both an herb and a long-blooming cottage garden flower. Calendula flourishes in full sun in almost any type of soil.

Description: Calendula is an annual or short-lived herbaceous perennial growing from 12 to 20 inches tall. Calendula has lance-shaped, slightly pale green leaves. Both leaves and stems are covered with fine hair and are rough and slightly sticky to the touch. Large orange-yellow or yellow flowers are produced from early summer to late autumn; they resemble daisies, with the petals radiating from a pronounced center.

Cultivation: Calendula prefers full sun, in average soil with a pH of about 6.6. The plant is a prolific self-seeder.

Harvesting: Harvest flowers when fully open; leaves any time. Use either part fresh or dried, but dry the flowers quickly after harvesting, or infuse the petals in oil.

Culinary Uses: The flowers are edible. Use them as garnishes, in salads; or grind and use as a yellow coloring.

Calendula Magick

Prophecy. Protection. Psychic Powers.

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Sun

Element: Fire

Garlands of calendula strung on the doorposts stop evil from entering the house.

Carried in the pocket, calendula helps justice smile favorably upon you while in court.

Calendula, picked at noon when the sun is hottest and strongest will comfort the heart.

Added to the bathwater, calendula petals will help you win the respect of everyone you meet.

Scattered under the bed, calendula will protect you when you sleep and induce prophetic dreams.

Herbal Healing with Calendula

Cosmetic Uses: Use an infusion of calendula blossoms to add highlights to your hair.

Medicinal Actions: Astringent, anti-inflammatory, cholagogue, emmenagogue, tonic, vulnerary

Medicinal Uses: Use tinctures of calendula flower to treat amenorrhea, cramps, toothache, fever, flu, and stomachaches. Apply calendula ointment to sores, cuts, bruises, burns, and rashes. Taken internally it helps treat gastric and duodenal ulcers; and helps relieve gall bladder problems and indigestion.

Did you know.... In France, clinical trials have found that, applied topically, calendula is 50 percent more successful than conventional drugs at reducing skin damage caused by radiation treatment for breast cancer patients...

Body Care with Calendula

  • To soothe cracked or chapped skin, or nipples that are sore from breastfeeding, apply a few drops infused calendula leaf or petal oil twice daily, as necessary.

  • To heal a baby's nappy rash, or to treat leg ulcers, varicose veins, bed sores or bruises, apply calendula ointment three times daily.

Infused oil: Fill a clean glass jar with fresh leaves or flowers, then pour in olive oil to cover the herbs. Leave the jar on a sunny windowsill for two to three weeks, stirring occasionally. Pour the mix into a suspended muslin bag to filter through to a bowl below. Squeeze out the remaining oil. Repeat the process using the same oil but fresh herbs for a stronger infused oil. Store in dark-glass bottles for six to twelve months.

Calendula Ointment: Heat 1 cup infused calendula oil in a pan until warm. Remove from heat and combine with 30g (1 oz) melted beeswax. Stir until cool. Pour into clean jars, secure the lids, and label. Store for up to 1 year.

Source: The Essential Herbs Handbook by Lesley Bremness

Note: There is a difference between marigold (tagetes spp.) and pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) or calendula.  Check the Botanical names before using any recipes.

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INFUSION

Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


DECOCTION

Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


TINCTURE

Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.


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