By Lelia Lyon, CWH, CNC
Calendula, Pot marigold
Calendula is a beautiful, sunny yellow or orange flower that blooms in the bright light of summer. It has a sweet fragrance, and a light flavor that has sometimes been described as mildly bitter. This gorgeous flower has been used for centuries to heal wounds and is quite beneficial for women's complaints and conditions in which dampness is a problem. It also help in lymphatic congestion and aids as a general immune tonic.
Calendula is a premium skin herb valued for its ability to soothe and assist in the healing of any ailments. Recently there have been studies researching Calendula's ability to help replicate healthy skin cells, proving that physicians in the 1800s were correct for using it as a "wound healer". As herbalists we look to Calendula for skin inflammation, cuts, scrapes, or for any time the skin needs help repairing. It can be used in oils, salves, ointments and even as a wash or poultice.
Calendula is also a wonderful herb to include in teas for soothing and healing the digestive track, mucus membranes and the urinary tract. It is specific for ulcers, helping with leaky gut syndrome, and is an ally for women with Candida issues. Herbalists that specialize with women's issues will often use a vaginal steam or wash of Calendula tea to help with women's complaints.
Calendula is also a gentle lymph herb that is specific for glandular swelling. It does not have the same punch as many other lymphatic herbs, which makes it great in the case of chronic issues when a more gentle approach is desired. It also has historic and folk uses of being used as food during the winter months to keep the immune system strong. Because of its ability to keep the lymphatic systems flowing and its immune supportive properties, it is a good idea to try the folk method of throwing a few bright orange blossoms into your soup pot this winter. Not only will you reap the benefits of good health, but the blossoms serve as a reminder of warm summer days to come.
Preparations & Applications
A simple tea of Calendula can be made by steeping a tablespoon of the herb in 8 ounces of near boiling water. Let it steep for 15-30 minutes, strain and then drink. This tea can also be used as a wash or a cloth can be soaked in it and used as an herbal compress.
Soothing Digestive Tea
This is a lovely after dinner tea, great for people prone to a little indigestion after a meal.
1 tablespoon Calendula flowers
1 tablespoon Marshmallow root
1/2 tablespoon Fennel seeds
1/2 tablespoon Peppermint
Brew the herbs in 3 cups of near boiling water for 15-30 minutes, strain and drink throughout the day. This tea can also be taken cold.
Simple Calendula Salve
Every household should have a few tins of this lovely golden salve around. It is a multiple purpose ointment that can be used for so many skin issues. You can get all of the supplies for it from our shop. This recipe makes 4 1/2 ounces of salve.
4 ounces Calendula infused olive oil
1/2 ounces of beeswax
1 teaspoon Vitamin E
10 drops Benzoin essential oil
Lovely jars or tins to store your salve
In a double boiler heat the oil and beeswax on medium low heat until melted. Take off the heat, add the Vitamin E and essential oils. Combine well and pour into your desired container (I like using four 1 ounce tins and pouring the extra in a smaller tin for traveling).