Calendula Flowers

Common Name

Standardized: calendula
Other: marigold, pot marigold

Latin name

Calendula officinalis L.
Plant Family: 
Asteraceae

Overview

Calendula is a well-known herb and garden plant that has been used topically, ceremonially, and as a dye. It is also used as a companion plant in many vegetable gardens. This is an edible flower used in teas, tinctures, and various other recipes. Used in home crafted skin care products it helps with dry skin.

Flower Background

This is a self sowing, annual that will come back year after year once you establish it in your garden. It is a member of the Asteraceae family and produces a daisy-like flower with orange or yellow petals and pale green leaves. Though it can now be found through out the world it was originally native to Europe, the Mediterranean, and Middle East.

Cultivation and Harvesting

There is no need to start this plant in a green house it has simple requirements and does well as part of a garden or a pot. Simple spread the seeds or mix with other wildflower seeds and cover lightly with soil. They require full sun and well draining soil. They bloom from early summer and until early fall. Mid summer is the best time for harvesting flower to dry. The middle of the day when the resins are high and the dew has evaporated, clip the flowers just below their base. Place them on a screen to dry, avoid high temperatures and direct sunlight when drying to keep the bright colors.

Common Uses

  • Dried
    • Teas
    • Tinctures
    • Infused Oil
    • Skin Care
  • Fresh
    • Salads and other dishes (was once known as the poor mans saffron)
    • Teas
    • Tinctures

Medicinal Uses:

  • Anti-inflammatory to skin and mucosa
  • Lymphagogue (moves lymph)
  • Vulnerary (promotes healing of damaged tissue)
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Emmenagogue (stimulates menstrual flow)
  • Cholagogue (stimulates bile)

Indications:

  • Gastrointestinal: Purported to help with gastrointestinal disorders and discomfort. Use as a tea.
  • Lymphatic: Used for various infections of the respiratory system and localized infections. Also used to boost immunity by stimulating the lymphatic system. Use as a tea or topical salve.
  • Gums and mouth: Make a tea to gargle with for sore throats, periodontal disease, inflamed gums.
  • Emmenagogue: May help to stimulate menstrual flow.
  • Topical applications: rashes, stings, wounds, burns, sunburns, abrasions, swellings, eczema, acne, surgical wounds, scrapes, chicken pox, cold sores.

Disclaimer:

If you have a known allergy to other members of the Asteraceae family such as feverfew, chamomile, or Echinacea species be cautious when using calendula.

Always consult with a qualified healthcare practioner before using herbal products. If you are pregnant, nursing or have medical conditions and are on prescribed medications this is essential.

This information is for educational purposes only not to be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. None of this information has been evaluated by the FDA.

Herbal Remedies or Modern Medicine?

As you know I am a registered nurse. I also am a diabetic with a strong family history of cardiac disease. Luckily so far I do not have any signs of cardiac disease. Though my risks are increased due to diabetes. There is a lot of information out on the web regarding health decisions. Personally I believe that holistic medicine and modern medicine can work well together. My personal goal is to eventually obtain my nurse practitioner and continue my herbal studies.

Health Education

I truly believe that in order to maintain or even obtain good health requires education. Maybe that is because of the nursing model of education which focuses on the entire person, their socioeconomic status, education status, family dynamics. The medical model has become very specialized, there are no longer general practitioners. Specialists are necessary for care of specific diseases and illnesses. There are so many factors, though, that need to be assessed as part of a person’s general well being.

Good health begins with knowing your body, good nutrition, and healthy activity. In order to make good decisions you need to educate yourself on all your options. Some illnesses are caused by a genetic predisposition, such as my diabetes, there is a strong family history of that as well. Some conditions are due to environmental causes, work, play, etc. Knowing how to support and maintain a healthy body also requires knowledge of how the world affects your body.

Where to get information

You can most definitely support a health body with good nutrition, herbal support, vitamins, etc. There are even many illnesses that are easily treated without modern medicine, usually with supportive care. Educate yourself on holistic care and modern medicine. One thing I often tell my patients is that their healthcare provider works for them. If they are not willing to be your partner in your health then fire them.

When choosing what is right for you educate yourself on the benefits. Avoid self diagnosing your condition. The internet is a wealth of knowledge but so are books and practitioners. I will caution on using the internet as a sole source of knowledge. There are many less than reputable sources. Companies willing to sell anything without proper knowledge.

Holistic vs Modern Medicine

Both holistic medicine and modern medicine have their place in our health. They can be used together. I know some of the biggest concerns about modern medicine is the influence of Big Pharma and side effects of medications. Well natural remedies have the same/similar issues. Any medication or treatment does. When soliciting advice do research on the person/people you are asking. It is not rude to ask them how they came into their knowledge. Also, keep in mind that just like modern pharmaceuticals have contraindications based on health conditions and other medications so does natural medicine. Educate yourself on what works best for you. There is never a one size fits all health program.