Calendula officinalis (Asteraceae) / Calendula is also know as garden marigold, bull’s eye, Goldblume, merrybud, mary bud, pot marigold, Fleurs de Tous les Mois, Souci, holligold, ruddles, and common marigold.
Parts used: The flower head and petals.
Habitat: The plant is alien to North America, being native to Europe. It has not naturalized in North America but can easily be grown in the garden. The plant prefers full sun and the flowers will turn their faces to follow the sun over the course of the day. The flowers close at night and then reopen with the return of the sun. The plant prefers well-drained moist soil. An annual, the plant will readily self-seed. Despite being referred to as “marigold” the plant is not related to true marigolds which are part of the genus Tagetes.
Properties: Antiallergenic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiulcerogenic, antiviral, astringent, bitter, cholagogue, choleretic, diaphoretic, febrifuge, hemostatic/styptic, immune stimulant, lymphatic, vulnerary and vascular tonic.
Uses: Calendula is well known for being an excellent healer for all kinds of skin conditions. For bruises, burns, cradle cap, cuts, scrapes, thrush, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and wounds. The plant is of particular use when wounds are slow to heal. While calendula is somewhat less well known in its action in cases of infectio, the plant is great for dealing with infectious conditions. The plant is active against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It also acts as immune stimulant and a lymphatic. As an infusion it can be used as an eyewash in cases of conjunctivitis, a douche for trichomonas and yeast infections, a nasal spray for sinus infections, and as a mouthwash for inflammations and infections of the gums. The only drawback is the relatively high astringency – when fresh the flower buds are covered in a sticky resin. The resin is responsible both for the plants medicinal action but also for the astringency. When combining calendula with other herbs the astringency should be kept in mind and avoid matching it with other astringent herbs.
Preparation/Dosage: Fresh or dried herb infusion or tincture. The flowers are often infused in oil and then the oil used to make a salve.