Herb of the Month – Calendula

Calendula officinalis

a.k.a. Marigold

Calendula flowers

Calendula flowers

Calendula is one of the most versatile herbs and seems to be in flower continuously. It has been in use for a long time throughout history by various cultures. Ancient Egyptians valued it as a rejuvenating herb, Hindus used it as decoration, and Persians and Greeks used the flower petals in food. American Civil War doctors used it as a soothing antiseptic and skin healer to treat open wounds on the battlefield. Even in more recent years, Calendula has been popular in Europe to flavor soups/stews and to color cheese/butter. Check out the various uses of the herb below and some tips and tricks for growing it yourself!

Uses

Medicinal:

  • Soothing, healing, and antiseptic
  • Use in ointments for leg ulcers, varicose veins, bedsores, burns, and bruises. Also, can help to stop bleeding.
  • Use calendula oil in aromatherapy and skin preparations. It soothes inflammations, cracked nipples from breast-feeding (bonus it’s nontoxic for baby), and other skin issues.
  • You can also take in an infusion, such as a tea, to aid in digestion and promote bile production in the liver.
Homemade Calendula Oil

Homemade Calendula Oil

Cosmetic:

  • Add petals to creams, scrubs, and baths for cleansing, healing, & softening of skin
  • We will use our D.I.Y. calendula oil from earlier this month to make a Calendula soap/salve 2 weeks from today!

Culinary:

  • Use fresh petals to give saffron color & light tangy flavor to rice, fish & meat soups, soft cheese, yogurt, butter, omelets, milk dishes, cakes, and sweet breads!
  • Add 1 tsp to fish and venison for flavor
  • Use as garnish for meat platters, pate, and fruit salad
Tomato and calendula salad

Tomato and calendula salad

Household/Decorative:

  • Dry petals add color to potpourri
  • Boil flowers for pale yellow dye

How to grow your own!

Site: Sunny position

Soil: Tolerates most soils, except water logged

Propagating: sow seed in spring in situ or singly in pots

Growing: plant out 12-18 in. apart

Harvesting: pick flowers when open, leaves when young

Preserving: dry petals at low temperature to preserve color or macerate in oil

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.
Sugar cleanse day #6! Tired, but strong!

Sugar cleanse day #6! Tired!

Sugar Cleanse Update! Day #6! I am heading back to medical school today and I feel pretty good. Just had a breakfast omelet with olive oil, cheese, and a yellow bell pepper! I will post a typical daily diet on Foodie Friday this week! Only symptom I have this morning is a little sore throat, but I think it is unrelated to sugar cleanse. #nomnom

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