Calendula Pessaries x 500
Common Name: Pot Marigold, Mary-Bud, Gold-Bloom.
Family: Compositae/ Asteraceae
Part used: Dried ligulate florets of plant.
Location: Indigenous to South Europe, but widely cultivated.
Description: An annual herb, readily self seeding. Plants will continue to flower throughout the winter if the weather is mild and flower into a second year. The second-year flowers will often be slightly different in form with ligulate petals developing from the central disc.
Taste: Bitter, spicy, pungent, neutral temperature or perhaps slightly cooling. Culpeper described the plant as strengthening the heart; it is definitely full of sun energy and the sight of the flower lifts the heart.
Harvesting: Flowers collected when fully open. The leaves and stems also contain constituents and can be used alongside the flowers if supply is short. Tradition has it that the more orange the flowers are the more medicine they contain; definitely deeper orange flowers give a more intensely coloured infused oil.
Constituents: Volatile oil; Yellow resin (calendulin) gives antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties; Bitter principle; Triterpenes; Pentacyclic alcohols including faradol, brein, arnidiol, erythrodiol, calenduladiol, heliatriol C and F, ursatriol, longispinogenine; Calendulosides; Amyrin; Taraxasterol, lupeol; Flavonoids; Isorhamnetin glycosides, including narcissin and quercetin; Glycosides, including rutin; Chlorogenic acid; Carotenes; Mucilage; Sterols
Calendula carotenoids include Meso-zeaxanthin, Lutein and Zeaxanthin which have been extracted and used to make a product called Macushield which is reported to protect the macula against blue light damage, free radicals and help to replenish macula pigments. Presumably including marigold petals in the diet will do the same thing.
Actions: Spasmolytic; Aperient (stimulates appetite); Cholagogue; Diaphoretic; Anti-inflammatory; Anti-haemorrhagic; Emmenagogue (promotes menstruation); Vulnerary (helps heal wounds); Styptic (stops bleeding); Antiseptic; Mildly oestrogenic; Astringent; Anti-oxidantNOTE: constituents which dissolve more easily in oil or alcohol are responsible for the antimicrobial actions, whilst those which dissolve more easily in water are more anti-inflammatory.
Traditional and current uses:
- Amenorrhoea (absence of periods), dysmenorrhoea (painful periods)
- Gastric and duodenal ulcers
- Colitis, gastritis, oesophagitis
- Enlarged or inflamed lymph nodes
- Skin conditions, especially acne and eczema, both internally and externally
- Boils, abscesses and cold sores
- Varicose veins, varicose eczema, proctitis, haemorrhoids, crural ulcers and bedsores
- Broken capillaries
- Topically on chilblains
- Burns and sunburn, topically
- As eyewash for conjunctivitis. Also believed to replenish eye pigments when taken internally and protect the tissues of the eye
- As a cream for athlete’s foot and ringworm. Also as a cream for cradle cap, nappy rash, cracked nipples
- Compresses for mastitis
- Clearing to the liver
- Fresh juice for warts
The flowers are traditionally thought to lift the spirits and encourage cheerfulness. Used in salads and as a ‘pot herb’, also claimed to be an alternative to saffron, although personally I have not found that they give much colour to the rice or other foods.
Calendula lip balm
100 ml calendula infused oil
50 ml rosehip oil
10 g beeswax or cocoa butter
Gently melt all ingredients together in a bain-marie. Add a few drops of essential oil (for example tea tree and lemon to protect against cold sores; mandarin and chamomile to help tissue repair for chapped lips; peppermint and eucalyptus) and pour into small jars. I tend to use 15 ml plastic jars as ideal to carry around.
Queen cakes with calendula petals
125 g butter or vegetable spread
125 g sugar (rappadura is best)
125 g spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ cup fresh calendula petals
Cream butter and sugar together, whisk in beaten eggs and then fold in the combined baking powder and flour. Stir in vanilla essence and petals.
Spoon into paper cases and bake at 180oC for 18-20 minutes.