Calendula - Calendula Officinalis
This is the last post in my series of Easy Medicinal Herbs. I saved it for last because I wanted to end on a pretty note. Calendula is also known as Pot Marigold. This is the old-fashioned flat-leaf marigold that you might often see in your grandmother's or great-grandmother's garden. The flower color is vibrant and ranges from orange to yellow. Calendula is easy to grow in any soil reaching 12 to 18 inches tall. Be sure to nip the dead buds regularly for continuous blooming.
I spotted some in my 80-year-old neighbor's yard years ago (we're in zone 5) and asked if I could pick some flower heads that had gone to seed. I sprinkled the seeds around the area I wanted them to grow that spring, and Voila! beautiful flowers later in the summer. Just continue to do that or leave the flowerheads on and they will self-sow, and every year you'll have a cheery area in your herb garden. In zone 8-10, sow seeds in late summer to early fall for blooms in the winter months. Lucky you!
I'll bet with all of the delicate prettiness of this flower you never knew it was an herbal.
Calendulas are antiviral and antiinflammatory. Used in a tincture they can treat acne, sooth irritations, calm abdominal cramps, relieve constipation, reduce inflammations, and control bleeding.
As in most herbs , the uses are too numerous to list, but here are a few "recipes."
For an eyewash:
add 2 drops of tincture of calendula with 1 tablespoon of distilled water for each eye.
Soak in an herbal tub for a soothing bath:
If in season, float some pretty flowers in the water, but be sure to remove them before draining the tub.
You can also place dried flowers in a cheesecloth or muslin bag and dangle from the faucet under the running water. As in all herbal baths, it is best not to use loose herbs so as to not clog the drain.
If you are out of any dried herb, either seeds or flower heads, check with your local health food store. Most carry quite a large variety of leaves, etc. They are pre-packaged, and in some cases already ground, if that is what you need.
A favorite place of mine to shop online is The Giving Essence. They offer essential oils, dried herbs, as well as balms and sprays. Diane is committed to making the world a better place and a percentage of every order goes to charities around the world.
I hope you enjoyed this series as much as I enjoyed doing it. It was a whole lot better than writing about winter and all of that white stuff there is outside right now. Keep happy thoughts; gardening time is just around your herbal (and daylily) corner.
Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs, and also my newest blog:
Bits, Tales, and Yarns - my newest writing adventure.