Belonging to the Compositae family (Dandelion, Yarrow, Artichoke), Calendula is also called Marigold. According to the Julian calendar, it bloomed on the first day of the month (Calends), therefore earning the name Calendula. The beautiful orange blossoms emboding the Sun (which rules this plant) are the part used medicinally. The leaves can be eaten in salads, as well as the flowers. Often the flowers are used instead of saffron to give color to soups, rice and other dishes.
Rich in iodine, Calendula’s antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties are valuable in treating burns, bites, fungal infections as well as wounds. It is mucilagenous, febrifuge, diaphoretic and vulnerary. As an external wash it is very popular in beauty recipes, toning the skin and evening complexions. As a sitzbath it is incredibly soothing to women suffering from painful and itchy yeast infections. It is a popular main (sometimes the only) ingredient in various body and face lotions as well. The fresh flowers can be bruised and used as a poultice to heal cuts and abrasions. In ointments or salves, Calendula is not only therapeutic for chronic skin problems, but also for cuts, bruises, congested veins and painful sores. Calendula has also cornered the market in baby products because it is so soothing and gentle, nourishing babies soft skin.
Immunostimulating and Antiinflammatory, Calendula contains saponins, Carotenoids, flavonoids, mucilage, oil and bitter principles. Taken internally in tea or tincture, it acts as a cholagogue, stimulating the production of digestive juices, aiding the gall bladder and liver and relieving indigestion. It has been used to reduce inflammation in the case of ulcers.
Collect the flowers between June and September.
Lata Chettri Kennedy