CALENDULA OFFICINALIS: Not Just a Bless for Your Skin and Garden

Family: Astareaceae

Genus: Calendula

Species: Calendula Officinalis

Common Name: Pot Marigold, Common Marigold, Ruddles

 

Calendula Officinalis is an annual short-lived aromatic plant native to the Mediterrean but widely spread around the globe and cultivatated for centuries as food and for its medical many uses. Calendulas are considered by many gardening experts as among the easiest and most versatile flowers to grow in a garden, especially because they tolerate most soils and climates.

Seeds have a distinct curved shape almost looking like little worms.and are sown in spring in temperate climates to grow and bloom throughout the summer into the fall. Leaves are oblong-lanceolate hairy on both sides with a distinctive smell, inflorescences are yellow to orange. Calendula is a plant everyone should have in their garden or balcony for multiple reasons. Apart from its beauty, it is edible, easy to grow, a powerful medicinal and self-reseeds itself year after year. Personally, is one of the top herbs that I would highly recommend everyone to have on hand; I use this flower in countless gastronomic and herbal preparations because it’s a wonderful plant full of benefits. In the garden is a companion plant that attracts pollen beetles and repels nematodes from the soil; Calendulas also benefit the garden below ground forming partnerships with soil-borne fungi that turn the plants into a soil-cleaning machines.

CULINARY USES: Leaves and flowers are edible and rich in fiber and vitamins, Calendula petals are used as “poor man’s saffroni” once dried. Le.ves can be added to soups, salads or mixed with other green for various preparation as well as the flowers

MEDICAL USES: The most familiar use of Calendula is for skin treatment.The main way to preserve calendula flowers for use in herbal preparations is to dry them. Its preparations are used for treating minor wounds, callouses, eczema, itches, burns, insect bites and stings, and haemorrhoids. The carotenes in the plant promote renewal of the tissues surface and its antibacterial properties prevent infections. Calendula officinalis is rich of essental oils that are responsible for its antiseptic and parasiticide actions. Dried Calendula flowers tea reduces inflammation and promotes healing from infections and sore throat. Just steep a bounch of dried petals in a cup of boiling water and strain to enjoy.

Its benefits has also been harnessed in beauty therapy as it is used in lotions, creams and other cosmetics. As a rinse for the hair, Calendula gives a golden tinge to fair hair.

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