CALENDULA

Calendula officinalis 

Part/s Used:  Flower heads 
Energetics:  Mildly warming, sweet, bitter, spicy, mildly salty
Actions: Lymphagogue, alterative, vulnerary/astringent, anti-inflammatory, bitter tonic, emmenagogue, immune tonic, cholagogue
Constituents:  Flavonoids, saponins, volatile oil, salicylic acid, mucilage, resin
Element: Fire
Planet: Sun
Gender: Masculine 
Folklore: Calendula is the traditional "He loves me, he loves me not" flower making it useful for love potions and attracting love. 

Medicinal Preparations:

Tincture: Fresh 1:3 or 1:4    Dry (ratio & % alcohol): 1:5 70 %
Drops: 10-60   Times a day: 3x

Tea:  Hot and cold infusions   Ounces: 8-12   Times a day: 3-4x

Habitat:

Calendula is a widely cultivated herbaceous self-seeding annual. Beautiful bright yellow, gold and orange flowers open in the morning when the sun rises and closes as the sun sets. Calendula is one of the most versatile herbs to grow in the garden. Easily grown in average, moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Dead head the plants regularly to maintain even blossom production.

Medicinal Uses:

Calendula is an excellent anti-microbial agent ideal for many types of skin conditions and wounds. An excellent vulnerary both internally and externally, promoting cell repair and growth. It has long been used for cuts, stings, bruises, bites, sprains, sunburns. A great herb to infuse in oils and salves for your herbal first aid kit. 

Calendula is one the the best lymphatic remedies.  Whenever the lymph nodes are swollen it is an indication of heightened immunological activity with fluid stagnation and there is a need for detoxification.  Most beneficial after the cold, flu or infection has passed but the immune system is still low.  

Calendula is considered an immune modulate, balancing the immune system.  Gentle immune stimulating actions that enhance the bodies defense from incoming microbes. 

Calendula is an effective anti-viral that can help treat cold and flu, swollen glands, viral herpes, shingles, and speeds up healing from chicken pox and measles. A hot Calendula infusion acts as a diaphoretic, moving energy outward by stimulating circulation and promoting sweating. This action helps kill the infectious pathogen and reduces fever as well as removing toxins from the body.

Calendula is an anti-fungal herb that can be used both internally and externally to treat fungal infections (athletes’ foot, ring worm, jock itch, yeast infections.Candida overgrowth. Calendula's anti-microbial action is also helpful in the case of eye infections such as pink eye/conjunctivitis.

The fresh flowers are delicious and can be added to salads, sandwiches, cocktails. The dried flowers can be used in soups and broths. Drink the golden petals in tea and include them in your cordials and smoothies. 

Harvesting:

The more you pick, the more they grow! Harvest Calendula by popping the entire flowering head right off the stem when they are about halfway open. It is important to use the entire flower and not just the petals, for it is underneath the flower base that contains much of the aromatic and resinous properties of the plant which are responsible for it’s medicinal actions. The petals themselves are relatively mild and sweet, but the entire flower is distinctly much more medicinal.  Spread them out on a well-ventilated surface (cloth, screen, mesh) or use a dehydrator. Allow to fully dry and store in a glass jar with airtight lid out of direct sunlight. 

Beauty:

Use tea as a hair rinse for blonds (lightens and strengthens), facial steam, baths or an infused oil for that you can use in salves, creams, and aftershaves. Breast wash while nursing. 

Contraindications:

Calyx of the flower can cause inflammation of throat if consumed. 

 

Sources:

Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar
Northwest School for Botanical Studies by Christa Sinadinos
Evolutionary Herbalism by Sajah Popham