Calendula

by The Garden

Benefits/Properties

The Calendula plant contains a high amount of flavonoids which is helpful to protect the body against cell-damaging free radicals.  The plant has antiviral, anti genotoxic, anti tumor, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. The flowers contain saponins which produce the anti inflammatory properties. Calendula flowers are also known to promote metabolism of proteins and collagen; this means that they also help to grow new, healthy cells.

The calendula is chiefly used as a local remedy and its action is diaphoretic and stimulant. Calendula teas and tinctures can be helpful for gastritis, food allergies and irritable bowel problems. The oil extracted from caledula seeds- calendic acid- is used as an antiseptic.

Fun facts: The ancient Romans used the flower to treat scorpion bites. Calendula was used by the doctors on the battlefield to treat open wounds in the American Civil War.

Cultivation

Calendula self seeds really well.  As a member of the marigold plant it is a good companion plant to other plants and as a shallow rooting annual it never becomes invasive.  It is a perfect garden weed and so is only weeded when it is in the midst of  another plant’s display and is otherwise left to suppress less welcome weeds in borders and wilder parts of the garden.

How We Use It

We love the Calendula particularly because it is such a tough old weed with beautiful cadmium yellow to orange leaves and it can flower all year around.  The leaves are the part of the plant used.  Calendula is mostly used for skin care and beauty remedies but the petals have anti-inflammatory effects, are  a potent antioxidant and have antiviral and antibacterial qualities.  We sprinkle petals on salads and use as a saffron substitute.