Latin name: Calendula officinalis
Other Names: Pot Marigold, Common Marigold, Garden Marigold, Gold bloom, Holligold, Marigold, Mary Bud, Pot Marigold, Ruddles
Calendula is an easy to grow annual with a long bloom time. It thrives in almost any soil and will, if blooms are picked as they flower, bloom from early spring through the first frost. Even though it is an annual, in the right soil conditions, it is known to self seed and come back yearly.
Calendula is part of the family Asteraceae along with daisies, chamomile, chrysanthemum, and ragweed.
The flowering tops are sticky and resinous and grow in a color range from yellow to orange, to peach, to brown. The most potently medicinal variety is the dark orange.
Internally: calendula can be taken internally as a tea, tincture, or added to broths. It has many medicinal properties including:
-helps the body balance hydration
-regulates or normalizes and promotes menstruation
-cleanses and supports the lymphatic system/ clears lymphatic congestion
-reduces swollen glands
-improves immune function
-supports liver function
-soothes intestinal irritation (ulcers, cramps, indigestion, diarrhea)
-promotes bile health
-can also be used a mouth gargle to support gum health, for periodontal disease, and thrush
Externally: calendula can be used as a warm compress, a sitz bath, distilled into a hydrosol, or infused in oil to make a salve, balm, or lotion. Its medicinal uses include:
-promotes wound healing
-promotes cellular repair/ growth
-reduces infection and swelling
-scrapes and scratches
-postpartum perineal care
Energetically: Calendula can be used as a vibrational remedy in the form of flower essence. The indications for it are:
It acts as a truth serum. Self truth or speaking aloud what you feel but do not feel comfortable or empowered to speak aloud. It supports stepping sturdily into your own light and brightness. It supports those who find it difficult to connect vulnerably, emotionally, or intimately. It invites the energy of abundance.
History and Lore:
While it is not known for sure where Calendula originated from, it has been found to be part of medieval roman and mediterranean cultures as both food and medicine. It has been depicted as an addition to broths and soups, butters, as adornments during time of celebration and ceremony, and of course for its medicinal implications. It has historically been used as a dye too.
It was thought to protect the person carrying it from scorpion bites. If kept under your bed or in your bed roll it is thought to protect the sleeper. If grown or hung near doorways it prevents unwelcome spirits or energies. It is said that a flower brought when dealing with legal matters in the courts is supposed to bring on positive outcomes to the person carrying it.
It has plenty of lore about love, thought to be the flower that would be plucked when wondering if “he loves me- he loves me not”, added to love charms or placed under one's pillow when dreaming up their future husband or wife.
I'm sure there are many other tales and lore, but this is the extent of my knowledge of it.
Calendula should not be used by pregnant women, as it can induce menses.
While there are no confirmed contraindications, please check in with your prescriber if you are taking medication for diabetes or high blood pressure.
Calendula is super easy to grow and can tolerate all kinds of soil and light conditions, although it thrives most in full sun and well draining soil.
Seeds can be directly sown into the ground in early spring, after the last frost, at the same time you would sow your lettuce and green seeds. They can be sewn every 6 inches and covered with 1/4 - 1/2“ of soil and watered in. They should germinate within a week and will begin to bloom 6-8 weeks later.
They can also be started in a hoop house or indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost date and transplanted once the ground is thawed for planting.
They also grow well in a pot. They are a medium sized plant so be sure to use a pot big enough so that they don't get root bound.
For harvesting, they love to be picked and the more you pick the more they will produce. Be sure to “dead head” the plant if any flowers are missed and begin to go to seed to ensure continual growth. Once they begin to go to seed they will prematurely stop flowering.
They can be used fresh for tincturing, tea, food, distillation, and compresses but should be dried for infused oils and salves. I dry mine on a screen in a frame, face down, out of direct sunlight. They can also be dried in a dehydrator, although I prefer a slow curing.
Calendula is a wonderful addition to eggs, shortbread, compound butters, stocks and broths, salads, cocktails, as edible decor on cakes, in beautiful teas, spring rolls, the possibilities are infinite.
I absolutely love to make beautiful infusions for my self care in the winter months. A reminder of summer and my garden. This is what I’ve been drinking lately:
Mix together- Equal parts
Dried oat tops
Add one ounce (a loose half jar) of mixed herbs to a one quart glass mason jar, fill with boiling water, place a saucer over it, do not lid the jar tightly as it will create pressure and the jar could break, and allow to sit for a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight. Strain. Drink. I usually drink a full quart in two days.
Alana House is a trained herbalist, forager, medicine maker, and plant person.