The Awesomeness of Calendula

The Awesomeness of Calendula

Calendula

This past summer, I grew calendula for the very first time and it was amazingly productive. I started seeds both inside to transplant as well as outside, and both groups of flowers did well. However, I only saw orange blooms on the transplants. All seeds started outside had only yellow flowers. Funny, huh?

Calendula, also known as pot marigold from the daisy family, Asteraceaeis, is very easy to grow and is an extremely useful herb. Calendula is not the same as the common garden marigold, so if you’re planning on growing it be sure to buy Calendula Officinalis. Once established, this beneficial flower will reseed itself and come back for years.

Calendula flowers in the garden A handful of calendula flowers

In the garden, it is useful because it repels horn worms, asparagus beetles, and aphids. It is also beautiful.

Calendula species have traditionally been used as medicinal and culinary herbs. My main reason for growing calendula was to use its properties in my beehive body care goodies. Calendula flowers are antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and help to sooth the skin. The flowers are very effective but remain gentle.

I harvested flowers all summer and late into the fall. I was extremely impressed with the long lasting productivity. The more blooms I took, the more that grew back! To dry the flowers, I just tied together little bouquets and hung them upside down from a rack. They dried really well! I used the same method with the seed heads. I collected seeds when they looked like they were starting to fall from the head. They were not always brown, and some were a little green. I just hung them or set them on paper to dry.

Calendula flowers drying Calendula flowers hanging

There are a couple of different methods for using the flowers. Below are ones that I have tried.

Oil Infusion

To infuse the flowers in oil I did the following (slow method):

  1. After the flowers are completely dry, fill a quart mason jar about half full with dried flowers
  2. Fill the jar with organic olive oil (or another light oil, such as sweet almond or sunflower)
  3. Label it with the date
  4. Let it sit for 4 - 6 weeks, shaking it periodically
  5. Strain and use
Measuring dried calendula Dried calendula in a jar

To quickly infuse oil with calendula flowers, set the uncovered jar (from step #2) in a pot of water and heat slowly (low to medium heat) for two to three hours. You can use this immediately or let it sit for a day or two in a dark cabinet. Once you’re satisfied, follow step #5 above.

I use organic extra virgin olive oil but any high quality oil you have on hand will do. This calendula-infused oil was a great addition to my beeswax healing salves, soaps, beeswax sticks, and creams. Feel free to play around with the concentration by using more or fewer flowers.

Calendula oil infusion

Salve

Ingredients:

  • 33 grams beeswax
  • 220 grams calendula infused oil
  • 1.3 grams vitamin E
  • 7 grams essential oil/s (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine the calendula infused oil and beeswax in a heat proof jar or measuring cup
  2. Place jar or measuring cup in a pot of water and gently heat (medium heat) until all the wax is melted
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly (about 5 minutes)
  4. Add vitamin E and essential oils (if using them)
  5. Give the jar a gentle swirl to mix
  6. Pour into little jars or tins (be careful the jar is hot)

The higher amount of beeswax in salves is amazing because the wax creates a seal over the calendula oil and allows it to stay longer on the skin. This salve can be used for diaper rash (depending on the essential oils used), scrapes, scratches, sores, and mild burns. You can adjust the viscosity of the salve by adjusting the amount of beeswax used.

Teas

Calendula petals can be eaten fresh on salads and used to brew teas for medicinal use. Pregnant women should not ingest calendula because it could possibly trigger menstruation.

Calendula Tea (bowling water method): Place approximately one tablespoon of dried calendula flowers in a mug and cover with boiling water. Cover mug and let steep for about 20 minutes. Strain and sweeten (try local raw wildflower honey!).

Calendula Tea (fresh flower method): Pack a mason jar with fresh flowers, cover with boiling water and allow it sit until cool enough to drink. Strain and sweeten.

Calendula teas are great for easing sore throats, as a mouth rinse, as an eye rinse for dry or itchy eyes, and for cleaning scratched, itchy, or inflamed skin.

Do you want to grow calendula?

I collected a lot of seeds from this past year’s growth, so if you would like me to ship you a couple of seeds just email me your shipping address. I am happy to share the wealth.

Dried calendula seeds

I am just scratching the surface of what can be done with calendula. There are so many possibilities. Create what you need, and good luck!

Note: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prescribe, or cure. The author is not responsible for actions taken by the reader through the use of any information contained in this guide.

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