Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is a medicinal flower that has several health benefits. Calendula species have been used traditionally as culinary and medicinal herbs. The petals are edible and can be used fresh in salads or dried and used to color cheese or as a replacement for saffron. A yellow dye has been extracted from the flowers.
Taken internally as a tea, tincture, or extract, Calendula is highly beneficial and soothing for ulcers, indigestion, colitis, heartburn, gall-bladder problems, liver problems, menstrual cramps, and chronic inflammation. It is also a good eye wash for conjunctivitis and dry itchy eyes.
Calendula’s antiviral properties also makes it a great support for the immune system and lymphatic system.
Calendula extracts even have anti-cancer properties and have been known to benefit leukemia, breast, prostate, cervix, lung, pancreas, and colon cancer.
Topically, Calendula can be applied as a cream, salve, lotion, or oil and works wonders for skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, boils, shingles, athlete’s foot, sunburn, chickenpox, measles, bee stings, diaper rash, yeast infections, warts, and acne.
Calendula cream is also good to use for broken bones, sprains, bruises, and varicose veins as it will help to decrease swelling in bodily tissues.
A few drops of Calendula oil can be applied directly into the ear to help ease the pain of an earache.
The carotenoids contained in Calendula reduce the signs of aging by decreasing the appearance of wrinkles and provide moisture and tone to the skin.
On a cellular level, Calendula also has the ability to help heal the after-effects of radioactive exposure, such as chemotherapy. As an anti-microbial, calendula is effective against ringworm and scabies.
Calendula tea & creams can be found online or at your local health food store. You can also make your own salves as there are many recipes for this very useful plant.
Use the fresh petals as a beautiful addition to your salad or dry the flowers and use as a delicious tea that you can enjoy anytime.
Calendula are a very prolific, easy to grow annual flower. Also known as “Pot Marigolds”, Calendulas produce orange, yellow, and lemon colored flowers on long stems. Flowers will bloom from mid-summer all the way until frost.
Calendula are grown from seeds. Sow Calendula seeds early in the season, and cover lightly with 1/4″ of garden soil. They germinate easily and will grow quickly, producing their first of a continual display of blooms by mid-summer.
Select a location in your garden where they can grow undisturbed for years and years, as these flowers will drop their seeds and reseed your flowerbed each year.
Early in the summer, your plants will begin to produce large flowers on long stems. They will continually produce flowers even after the first light frost. As you pick the flowers for indoor arrangements, look carefully on the stem and the undersides of the leaves for aphids.
Pick dead blooms to keep the plants neat looking and to encourage new blooms.
Calendula is a somewhat hardy annual. It will not be harmed by a light frost either in the spring or fall. It will succumb to heavy frosts or freezes.