Calendula is, hands down, my favorite herb. Many moons ago when I started learning about different herbs and playing with herbal recipes, calendula was the first herb I gravitated towards.
I’ve been interested in natural health for a long time, be it my very brief Wiccan period in high school to . At some point I had heard that tinctures were handy things to have around for both simple first aid and internal applications. Calendula, I read, was especially good for first aid and had some great internal applications as well. Not only that, but it was incredibly easy to grow.
So one summer I grew some calendula around my parents house. Before I left for college I picked the flowers, put them in a found canning jar, and poured a whole bunch of vodka over the flowers. I didn’t measure anything as the recipes I found all differed in the proportions.
I then put the jar on top of the fridge in my apartment and religiously shook it everyday. I fretted over it, wondered if I was doing it right. My roommates just shook their heads in a “One of Lauren’s eccentric projects again…” way.
Soon whenever someone complained about a cut or rash I would ask if they wanted to try the calendula tincture on it. They would try it and not long after my jar of tincture became referred to as my “magic potion.”
Also known as: pot marigold, marigold (not to be confused with the common marigold of the tagetes genus)
Parts used: flowers
Often prepared in: creams, lotions, tinctures, infusions, compresses, eye washes
Active constituients: triterpene glycosides, aglycones, carotenoids, flavonoids, mucilage, saponins, bitters, resins, and essential oils
Calendula has been used for centuries for wound healing and it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Germany’s Commission E approved it’s use for oral and pharyngeal inflammation, poorly healing wounds, and venous ulcers. James A. Duke cites calendula in his book The Green Pharmacy as useful in the treatment of bunions, gingivitis, insect bites, sores, sunburns, ulcers, wounds, and general skin problems. Calendula is antiseptic, antiinflammatory, a powerful cleanser of the lymphatic system, and a vulnerary (heals wounds by promoting cell repair and growth). It is a gentle herb with no known toxicity, making it useful for treating symptoms in infants and children.
If you’re interested in seeing the benefits yourself I encourage your to grow some in your garden or try some in a tea. Calendula is also featured in my Herbal Shampoo Soap and Herbal Skin Salve in my Etsy shop.