A native to the Mediterranean area, calendula (Calendula officinalis), is also called Marybud, pot calendula, Gold-Bloom, pot marigold, Garden Marigold, Holligold, Marigold, and Zergul. The plant has a yellow or orange flower.
Calendula’s name comes from the word calendar because it blooms every new moon. “Marigold” refers to the Virgin Mary. The flower is often used in Catholic events that honor her. When you think of marigold, don’t think of the annual flowers from your garden. That is probably either French marigold or African marigold and is a totally different species.
For those who like the technical facts, calendula contains these medicinal ingredients: calendulin, narcissin, beta-carotene and other carotenoids, lupeol, isoquercitrin, amyrin, rutin, volatile oils and sterols. Polysaccharides with properties that stimulate immunity are also found in the flowers.
Calendula can be taken internally or externally. Internally, calendula is especially used for gastrointestinal disorders. It protects the lining of the stomach and intestines by inhibiting the causes of swelling and inflammation, and by limiting the effects of the bacteria associated with gastritis, peptic ulcers, and stomach cancer. Taken orally calendula has been used to sooth stomach ulcers and inflammation. Some report it to be effective in fighting fever, boils, abscesses, and recurrent vomiting.
Calendula’s orange petals contain the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory secrets that make it effective externally. These two A’s have put calendula into the forefront of treatment for various infections. For example, some find it more effective in treating ear infections than leading prescription drugs. Calendula tea makes a great eye wash for those suffering from chronic conjunctivitis (pink eye). As an ointment, it attacks the bacteria causing swelling and thus will soothe inflammation. It is also used to treat vaginal itching caused by menopausal tissue changes, insect bites, eczema, diaper rash, acne, hemorrhoids, burns, scalds, and sunburn.
By using this herb on infections, healing is more pain-free, better, and faster when calendula is used. Cosmetic creams containing calendula decrease the appearance of wrinkles and hydrate skin. Gargling with calendula water or tea has helped ease the pain of a sore throat.
Calendula is also recommended for use in treating varicose veins, chronic ulcers, capillary engorgement, and congestion. Calendula flowers are edible, and may be added to salads or cooked foods. They can also be dried for use in teas. Calendula adds flavor and color to cereals, rice, and soups.
Calendula may be purchased or prepared as creams, teas, tinctures, infusions, compresses, and washes. To make calendula tea, simply pour about a cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of calendula flowers and let sit for 15 minutes. Calendula tea may be taken 3 times per day. Calendula tincture, which can be taken with water or tea, can be taken 3 times a day (in doses of 1-2 ml). To make calendula tincture, soak a cup of flowers in .5 quarts of rectified alcohol for 5 to 6 weeks. A tincture dose is 5 to 15 drops. To create a calendula salve for external application, boil 1 oz of dried flowers or leaves with 1 oz lard.
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. It would be better to use a different form of the herb.
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With such potential for boosting your health, calendula flowers surely deserve a try, wouldn’t you say? Be sure to buy bulk herbs that are quality so as to make sure you enjoy the full benefits they contain.