In my home country Bulgaria the name calendula (“neven” in Bulgarian) is a popular woman name. Both my mum and my great-grandmother have it, and for this reason their name day falls on “Zvetniza”: the day for celebrating mother Nature gifts be it plants, flowers or trees.
It is said that the calendula is a trustworthy weather barometer: if the flower open its petals early morning before 7am, it will be a nice weather day. If the petals stay close, then there will be rain.
Calendula is a well-known cheerful garden decorating flower, which is both edible and medicinal. Calendula’s name derives from the Latin calendae,referring to its long blooming season—in certain places it is said to bloom nearly every month of the calendar year. The species name, officinalis, refers to its historical use in apothecaries and pharmacopeias as the official medicinal species of its genus.
Calendula officinalis has been used for centuries, both internally and topically, to heal wounds, burns, and rashes. The plant may be used as a tea, in cream and salves (as an infused oil) and also as a tincture or an elixir. The sunny flowers are also a traditional remedy for supporting the immune system and lifting the spirits.
Some of its healing properties are known and some less known:
a) skin-healing (see below the list for all issues where calendula can help);
b) digestive ally: recommended for reflux disease;
c) stimulating the lymphatic system: helps with acute and swollen lymph nodes resulting from respiratory infections, localized infections, and tonsillitis;
d) supporting the immune system;
e) lifting the spirits;
Going back to point one about the calendula skin healing benefits, a detailed list was made by the Chestnut school of herbal medicine, when calendula helps:
- Insect bites
- Chicken pox
- Cold sores
- Cracked nipples from nursing
- Bacterial vaginosis (douche)
- Yeast infections (douche)
- Cervical dysplasia (douche)
- Postpartum perineal tears (sitz bath)
Calendula is also called marigold and pot marigold, leading to confusion with members of the genus Tagetes, which go by the same common name. The garden marigolds that you’ve seen as common garden ornamentals are in the same genus as the Calendula—the Asteraceae, or sunflower family—but they are not medicinally interchangeable.
Let me finish this article with an easy recipe for relieving a burn with flowers infusion from the herbal guru Rose Bennett.
- Use 1/2 cup calendula blossoms
- 1/4 cup rose petals
- 1/8 lavender flowers
- Cover it with 1 liter boiling water and let is steep for 20-30 minutes (but not more than an hour).
- Once its cooled down, dip a soft cloth and use it as a cold compress on the burnt place. This mixture is good to drink for skin and nerve-healing too.
The DutchHealthStore has in its product array the essential oil of calendula, made by LivingLibations. A lot of other products contain this powerful plant too:
– Calendula Hydrosol Facial Mist and Calendula Body Oil from Om Pur
– the Calendula soaps from Helemaal Shea
– Rose & Calendula Face cream from Vanessa Megan
– Calendula Propolis Salve from BeeBoys;
2) “The gift of Healing Herbs” from Robin Rose Bennett