Gardeners prize sunny, perpetually blooming calendula officinalas not just for how charming the yellow-flowered herb looks in the garden, but because of the many culinary, medicinal and cosmetic ways it can be used.
From the Ancient Egyptians who used calendula medicinally and the Hindus who gave it a place of reverence in their temples, through its use to treat Civil War wounds, and on to its place in modern holistic medicine, calendula has been prized down the ages.
Botanists list calendula as a "hardy annual." It grows about a foot tall and sports yellow-orange petals. Also known as marigold, the sun-loving plant should not be confused with the shorter African marigold (Tagetes).
Holistic healers frequently use calendula ointments, lotions and massage oils because of the herb's skin-healing abilities. It moisturizes dry skin and helps ease conditions such as varicose veins, bruises and cracked nipples. It is mildly antiseptic.
Known as "poor man's saffron" for the color they lend to curry and egg dishes, calendula petals can also be used to garnish salads, fish and meat dishes. It lends a mildly tangy flavor to any dish.
Folk remedies featuring calendula include use as a detox tea or tincture that promotes digestive and liver function. The herb has also been taken as gargle to sooth damaged gums and sore throat.
- The Complete Book of Herbs; Lesley Bremness; 1988
- A Modern Herbal
calendula officinalas, calendula marigold, skin care calendula, calendula salad
About this Author
Melissa Jordan-Reilly has been a writer for 20 years, both as a newspaper reporter and as an editor of nonprofit newsletters. Among the publications in which she has published are, "The Winsted Journal," "Taconic" and "Compass Magazine." A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Jordan-Reilly also pursues sustainable agriculture techniques and tends a market garden at her Northwestern Connecticut home.