Calendula officinalis (marigold)

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    Jacqui
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    I have just been out and about on a windy winter’s day and thought I must post about Calendula officinalis (marigold) as I see lots of plants around the place which are flowering right now and setting seed. Such a cheap nectar plant… once you’ve got it, you won’t be without it. Make sure you choose the single one, though, as butterflies will have access to the nectary.

    BTW, there are two plants called marigold. There is C. officinalis which is also referred to as Marigold, Pot Marigold. The other marigold is Tagetes patula, the French marigold, native to Mexico and Guatemala. French marigold is also a herb – but for nectar, once again make sure that you can see the nectary.

    Calendula petals can be added to salads and teas. And it flowers just about all year round. A great all-weather nectar source. And it’s free!!! Just look out for it where you see it growing wild… or near people’s road frontages… and take some of the seed heads, scattering them when you get home or perhaps you should dry them first.

    This from the Herb Federation of New Zealand’s website:

    Description:
    Native to Mediterranean Europe, but grown in Australia and New Zealand, self-sows freely in the garden. The flowers maybe yellow or orange disc florets, the plant has branching stems that are slightly or moderately hairy or sticky. The seeds are crescent shaped or circular.

    Parts Used:
    Flowers are used medicinally, orange petals considered to be the most effective. Gather the whole flower heads in the morning after the dew has gone, before wilting or discolouration begins; dry in a warm place out of direct sunlight.

    Constituents:
    Carotenoids, resin, essential oil, sterols, flavonoids, polysaccharides, bitter principle (malic acid), saponins, sterols, mucilage, potassium and sodium salts, phosphorus.

    Actions:
    Anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, antifungal, lymphatic, astringent, antiviral, antimicrobial, cholagogue (bitter), emmenagogue, antispasmodic.

    Indications:
    An excellent herb for skin problems including inflammation, infection, bruising, cuts, ulcers, bed sores, slow healing wounds, minor burns, scalds, warts, oily skin and eczema. As a mouthwash, Calendula is effective in treating periodontal disease.

    Internal Uses:
    It is beneficial for stomach and duodenal ulcers, leaky gut and for its antimicrobial effect on the gut, liver and gallbladder. Calendula tincture can be used for viral infections of the liver and liver disorders. As an immune and lymphatic stimulant to aid the bodies fight against bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitical infections. A hot infusion stimulates the circulation aiding in the fight against infection. Calendula helps in the treatment of varicose veins, haemorrhoids, also artery and capillary haemorrhage due to the presence of bioflavonoids and carotenoids.

    External Uses:
    For treating vaginal infections or inflammations, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, shingles, chicken pox, measles, ringworm, athletes foot, mumps, sore inflamed eyes, conjunctivitis, styes, breast congestion and inflammation, insect bites and toothache. According to the British Herbal Pharmacopea, Calendula is a specific for enlarged lymph nodes, sebaceous cysts, duodenal ulcers and inflammatory skin lesions of both a chronic and acute nature.

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