I’m growing Calendula in my herb garden this year, and I couldn’t be more excited. This beautiful plant graces my herb garden like no other with it’s lovely, bold colored and abundant flowers.
Calendula Solis Sponsa is a cultivar of calendula officianalis. Its flowers are the parts of the plant that are used for medicine, and the leaves can be eaten (though I don’t know that they would taste that great). Calendula is said to be a premier antiseptic and healing agent.
Every few days I snip off a few more flowers when I pass the herb garden. They are so lovely, I hate to prune them back this way, but the calendula are blooming so heavily right now that others quickly replace the flowers that I remove.
There are many uses for calendula, mostly medicinal, but there are others.
~wound healing by promoting the formation of granulation tissue
~inhibits inflammation~fights viruses~fights bacteria~it is antiseptic, used to treat many skin conditions from ulcerations to eczema~flowers can be made into salve, succus (juice), tincture, or can be masticated (chewed or freshly ground) and applied to the injury
~bright yellow dye (obtained by boiling flowers)
Calendula is mostly used topically today.
My family has been using a salve which has calendula as one of its primary ingredients, and it has worked so well to relieve the inflammation and the sting from every scratch or skin irritation we have used it on. It’s the first thing I run for these days whenever there is a scratch, cut or rash to be doctored.
To harvest and dry calendula:
~Cut off the flower heads at the stem, at the first set of leaves; do not wash
~Dry in a dehydrator at 90-95 degrees; or air dry on a towel or screen, turning often to encourage even drying
~Once dry, pluck the petals and store in a jar (petals should feel crispy and very dry)
~If you would like to store the heads intact, make sure the whole head is crispy and dry before storing to prevent rotting and mold
~Put a couple of teaspoons of calendula petals in an infuser and pour a cup of boiling water over it. Allow to steep for at least 10 minutes.
~Pour into a squeeze bottle and use to wash minor wounds.