Scientific name: Calendula officianalis
Calendula is a flower with bright yellow, gold and orange blooms. Flowers close up at night and reopen in the morning, its flower attract beneficial insects. Calendula should not be confused with the common garden plant marigold (Tagetes species), which also has bright orange and yellow flowers.
Calendula is full of flavonoids, which are antioxidants found naturally in vegetables and fruits. Flavonoids are the substances that give plants their lovely bright colors. They protect the cells of the human body in much the same way, shielding them from free radicals and damage that can lead to disease.
Parts used: Flowers, fresh or dried.
Health Benefits of Calendula Oil:
- Has anti-inflammatory qualities that can prevent infection of minor skin wounds, it can also reduce itching and swelling of insect bites and rashes and is soothing to sunburns, and minor burns.
- Beneficial for people who have sensitive skin, because it is very mild and soothing.
- Helps on the swelling of sprained muscles because it increases blood circulation on the affected areas.
- Belpful for treating varicose veins, leg ulcers, and chilblains. Chillblains occur when the hands and feet are exposed to extreme moisture and cold.
- Has anti-fungal properties and is great for treating athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch.
- Helps in skin regeneration, thus preventing the formation of scar tissue.
- Help in the treatment of hemorrhoids.
- Soothes nipples that are sore from prolonged breast feeding sessions.
- Help reduce earache and the tea is helpful in treating ear infections.
- Helps cure diaper rash.
Extraction of Calendula oil: There is almost no way to get 100% pure calendula essential oil. This makes calendula essential oil an infusion and not a pure extract. In order to get the oil from the flower, the petals are soaked for some time (3-6 weeks) in carrier oil such as Olive oil to extract their magnificent healing properties. The finish product should be golden orange in color.
Uses: Calendula makes a great base for lotions, salves, creams, several natural cosmetic products, and herbal ointments. Calendula oil is also very common base oil used in aromatherapy.
Health Benefits of Calendula Tea:
- Can be used as eyewash for sore, reddened eyes.
- Help brings out highlight in blond and brunette hair.
- Increases urination.
- Aids digestion.
- Help stimulate the immune system.
- Help relieve sore throat and inflammations of the mouth.
- Help detoxify the body.
- Relieves athlete’s foot because of its anti-fungal effect.
- Help stimulate the production of collagen.
- Help regulate the menstrual cycle.
How to Make Calendula Tea: To make a tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1/2 teaspoon of dried florets (flower tops) and steep for 10 minutes.
Culinary uses: food coloring for soups, rice, chowders and its colorful petals are a popular addition to salads.
Harvesting of Calendula flowers: Calendula bloom once a month or every new moon. The flowers are harvested by hand when they are fully open. One source reported that flowers need to be picked at least 3 times per week for optimal quality.
Available Form: Topical ointments, including salves, creams, soaps, and gels. Also, it is available in tincture or tea form, which can be used for mouth rinses, oral ingestion, or topical administration. Calendula is also available in homeopathic pellet form, which is used for skin conditions, especially skin infections.
Caution: Calendula is a very safe herb but a few cautions are in order. Be especially sure wounds are clean before applying calendula. If you have ragweed allergy, be cautious as some have also experienced allergic reactions to calendula. The alcohol in the calendula tincture will burn the raw tissue of wounds.