History, Identification, & Uses of Calendula

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Calendula is well known for being a healing herb as well as a commonly used herb in culinary recipes. Often planted in gardens for its beauty, Calendula has many useful properties.

Calendula

Calendula has been used since the 12th century but its origins are a bit disputed. It is believed to have originated somewhere in the Mediterranean but no one is quite sure where exactly.

The word Calendula comes from the Latin word calendae, meaning the first day of the month. The Romans loved calendula and it was a symbol of joy and happiness. Both the Romans and the Greeks used the flower in their rituals and ceremonies.

Calendula has been used in many cultures around the world. It was commonly used in pots and stews, possibly giving it its other common name, Pot Marigold. It’s a sacred flower in India and has been used in weddings and religious rituals. The Aztecs and Mayans used the flowers during their ceremonies, and today they are used on altars on the Day of the Dead in Mexico and Central America. The Egyptians loved to use calendula for skin rejuvenation.

Today, calendula is used mainly in cosmetics. There’s a reason for this, though. Calendula has been found to stimulate skin tightening and improves skin elasticity which can lead to delayed aging. It also improves skin hydration.

More and more studies are starting to show how beneficial Calendula can be. One study found that it has an anti-inflammatory effect that aids in wound healing such as burns or skin conditions. Its essential oil has possible sun protection properties, however, it is difficult to obtain calendula essential oils as it is hard to make. Another study found that due to calendula’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can aid in reducing plaque and gingivitis when made into a mouthwash.

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Profile

Common Name: Calendula, Pot Marigold
Scientific NameCalendula officinalis
Identification:
Annual
Leaves- lance-shaped to oblong-obovate green leaves, up to 6 inches in length, fragrant
Flower- Bright yellow-dark orange, daisy-like
Height- 1-2 feet
Harvest Time: June-November
Parts Edible: Flower petals, leaves
Found: Native to the Medetrainian regions, light-heavy but moist soil, likes poor soil, grown throughout the world

Historic Uses

-Traditionally used to treat upset stomachs, ulcers, and menstrual cramps, minor burns, eczema, sprains, small cuts, coughs, bites & stings, and digestive tract issues.
-Crushed stems were used to treat corns and warts
-Grown as an insect deterrent
-A yellow dye is made from boiling the flowers
-The flowers were once used to color butter and cheese
-Flowers used in cosmetics, shampoos, and perfumes
-Has been used as a rough weather predictor. Their petals close when rain is coming

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Vitamins, Minerals, & More

Leaves

-Similar nutritional value to that of dandelion leaves

Properties: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue

Petals

-High in vitamins A & C

Properties: antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, astringent, detoxifier, estrogenic, hemostatic, immunostimulant, vulnerary

Preparations

-Fresh leaves and petals are added to salads
-Dried petals have been used as a seasoning and a saffron substitute
-Tea is made from both the petals and leaves (petals are less bitter!)
-Petals can be used in making tinctures and infused oils

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Precautions

-Do not take if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
-Do not give to children under the age of 6
-Do not take if you are allergic to chrysanthemums, daisies, or ragweed
-Calendula could possibly interact with following medications if taken orally:

  • Sedatives
  • Medications to treat high blood pressure
  • Medications to treat diabetes

Harvest

-Leaves are best harvested on a sunny morning
-Flowers should be harvested with they are fully open

Where to Purchase

Calendula Flowers

Calendula Seeds

Recipes

Lavender Calendula Tea Cake
DIY Calendula Soap
Sweet Orange & Calendula Lip Balm
CALENDULA AND THYME SHORTBREAD COOKIES RECIPE
ELDERBERRY CALENDULA COLD AND FLU ELIXIR
Calendula & Honey Funnel Cake
CALENDULA BATH BOMBS
Calendula Eyewash
Vegetable Broth with Calendula
Calendula Paella Recipe

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Practicing Sustainable Wild Harvesting

  1. Only harvest plants you know are safe and can identify
  2. Only harvest plants in safe areas that are not contaminated or polluted
  3. Do not harvest on private property without permission
  4. Harvest no more than 10% or use the method: take 1 leave 2
  5. Know how to handle and prepare the plants you are harvesting
  6. Always check the legal status of the plant you want to harvest (is it endangered?)

University of Maryland Medical Center Calendula
Calendula History, Folklore, Myth and Magic
History of Calendula
Missouri Botanical Garden Calendula officinalis
Plants for a Future Calendula officinalis
Marigold/Calendula Benefits
Calendula Side Effects
Antifungal activity of the essential oil from Calendula officinalis L. (asteraceae) growing in Brazil

Disclaimer: All information on Not Your Typical Hippie is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor, veterinarian, dietician, or health expert. If you wish to have advice on a medical problem, please consult a doctor. I cannot guarantee that any information provided will work for every person. Please consult a doctor before making any health changes. I am not liable for any choices you make based on the information provided on this website. (Learn more here)

  • Aneeq Lon

    So informative and your photos are just stunning (teach me please 🙂 )!

    • Thank you so much! 🙂 Unfortunately I did not take these photos myself. I don’t have Calendula in my area and the squirrels kept tearing up my sprouts!