Common Name: Pot Marigold, Common Marigold, Calendula
Species: Calendula Officinalis
Calendula Officinalis is an annual short-life aromatic plant native to the Mediterranean, but widely spread around the globe and cultivated 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 can also benefit gardens below ground forming partnerships with soil-borne fungi that turn the plants into a soil-cleaning machines.
Calendula leaves and flowers are edible and particularly rich in fiber and vitamins. Petals are used as “poor man’s saffron” once dried. The leaves are added to soups, salads or mixed with other green for various preparation as well as the flowers. Calendula microgreens are also very nutritious and have a distinctive taste that can enhance any dish, plus they are very easy to grow since the plant have generally minimum requirements in term of soil and care.
The most familiar use of Calendula is for skin treatment. Its preparations and its infused macerated oil are used for treating minor wounds, callouses, itches, burns, insect bites and stings. The carotenes in the plant promote renewal of skin tissues, its antibacterial properties prevent infections.
Calendula is rich of essential 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 bunch of dried petals in a cup of boiling water and strain to enjoy.