plantlore

Calendula *Calendula Officinalis*

I feel like I say ‘this plant is my favourite’ about most plants, perhaps it’s true but Calendula really is high up there. They smell divine, especially on a summers day, the cheery yellow and orange flowers, like little Sun’s, are the epitome of summer days. Usually found escaped from gardens, they self seed really well and are one of those generous plants where the more you pick them, the more flowers grow.

AKA Pot Marigold (referring to the cooking pot not plant pot), Mary’s Gold, Monks head (because it looks like a monks half bald haircut) , Little Clock and Little Calender (the latter two relating to the belief that they bloom on the 1st of the month); Calendula is easy to identify, mild and offers a mariad of medicinal uses both internally and externally.

It has Coagulant properties, all the Anti’s (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant antispasmodic, antiseptic, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal) is astringent, diuretic and oestrogenic (hello ladies) it also helps to detoxify by increasing liver and gall bladder function and makes a soothing digestive aid.

Disclaimer always do your own research and check with your doctor (and common sense). Calendula is not safe for use during pregnancy. External use in small doses is safe for babies and small children in fact; there’s a whole range of bath and lotion products out there containing Calendula. However, I am not a doctor so ya know, be safe.

External Uses.

I use Calendula for most skin complaints adding it to my healing balms, bath teas and if my eczema flairs up just rub the sap on the inflamed area (this is also great for stings and said to help lesson scarring).

It has a gentle soothing effect so perfect for mild burns, cuts and inflammations ideal in a gardeners balm or soap. I have to practically dip myself in it after my annual Bramble Bush battle.

As mentioned above, Calendula has become more popular recently as a nappy rash treatment and is included in many baby products.

How to use

Making an oil infusion is probably the easiest way. Simply place the petals or whole heads in a sterile jar. Cover completely with your desired oil and leave to steep for at least 6 weeks. Preferably 3 months until the plant matter has lost its colour. Add this oil to balms and lotions. I add it to my triple goddess oil along with magnolia and rosehip, I also like to dry the petals and store them for later use, most commonly to my bath ‘tea’.

Internal Uses.

This is where our Pot Marigold really shines (aha because it’s a little sun). There are so many ailments which can be eased and treated with Calendula:

  • It’s mildly anthelmintic so can be used to treat parasites.
  • It improves circulation and increases venous return which can help with varicose veins (as always, consult a doctor)
  • It’s beneficial to the stomach and gut easing cramps, ulcers and constipation.
  • Is a known depuritive- removing toxins from the body so good for gout, arthritis, rheumatism eczema, fluid retention etc
  • It’s powerful antifungal properties help regain a healthy balance and can relieve fungal infections such as thrush.
  • Helps regulate menstruation, eases PMT and menopausal symptoms by increasing liver function which breaks down hormones.
  • It has a comforting and soothing affect on the nervous system so good for stress and anxiety.
  • Generally immune boosting and awesome because of all its ‘Antis’ (see above)
  • Recent research suggests it could be used to treat herpes and the flu virus (again check with your doctor)
  • Has been used in the treatment of tumours.

How To Use

EAT THEM! the petals are a delightfully colourful addition to salads and garnishes. The dried petals are sometimes used in place of saffron and dye breads and cakes a beautiful yellow. The flavour is floral but not strong like roses, they taste buttery almost.

You can also dry them and add them to teas and tinctures (even smoke it if you’re that way inclined): bundle a bunch together and hang them in a sunny place upside down for a couple of days.

Magical Uses

Our happy little Calendula is sacred to the Sun so excellent in lifting spirits and bringing life and joy. It is said they attract fae creatures and incline them to behave kindly.

They increase clairvoyance, dispel nightmares and negative energy and increase positive energy. This can be achieved simply by bringing some into your home, perhaps added to your altar to admire, placing a flower head under your pillow or burning as incense. They look ever so pretty in smudge sticks.

In sympathetic magic they offer joy and chase away negative energies. Not surprising as just looking at them makes me happy. And the SMELL… 😍

So there you are, Calendula, happy little Suns to bring you joy, ease your troubles inside and out and sooth the soul. Not very ‘goth’ of me I know. But they just make me so fucking happy.

Peace out witches ✌️

Love Kate xxx

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