Herbal Series with Tess: Calendula

by Tess Wood | Instagram

Calendula officinalis

Pot Marigold, Ruddles, Scotch Marigold, English garden Marigold, Holligold, Gold-Bloom

Properties

Calendula, or Pot Marigold as it’s more commonly known, as is one of the oldest plants used in the practice of herbal medicine. Not to be confused with the genus Tagetes Marigold, as they are two completely different plants and certain types of Tagetes Marigold are not safe to use in some cases. Topically used in an oil or salve, calendula helps speed up the healing process and creates healthy new tissue while reducing scarring. It is a fantastic anti-inflammatory and helps soothe, hydrate and nourish dry, itchy or irritated skin caused by eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, blisters and bruises. 

Calendula is great for sensitive skin types and safe enough to use on babies. It contains large amounts of antioxidants, which help slow down the aging process caused by free radicals, and it boosts overall health. Used internally in a tea or tincture, Calendula helps ease heartburn and repair the inner lining of the stomach when damaged. In tincture form, it can also be gargled as a way to fight ulcers and clean the lymphatic system. Calendula is also used to strengthen the immune system to prevent infections caused by colds and the flu.

Magical Uses

Calendula is known as the “sunshine herb,”  because of its bright, cheery disposition and positive magical properties. It is great in workings because it protects the user from negativity and brings light into any situation. This herb works well as a consecration oil for anointing tools, as it  helps increase potential for workings. Calendula was often used in love-related workings and potions. Historically, calendula was added to wedding bouquets and used as a decoration to bring good fortune to the relationship. Calendula is considered a symbol of wealth, prosperity and the potential to flourish. A great way to use this herb is in a ritual bath or incense as a way to inspire vitality and optimism to attract success.

Folklore

This flower was used by most ancient civilizations throughout history as a fabric dye, turning the fibres a light yellow to light brown colour. Named Calendula after its a tendency to bear flowers once a month by the calendar, usually during a new moon. This plant has been used in folklore under pillows to keep people safe from robbers as it’s said that it can give you prolific dreams where you can see who the thief is.. 

During the American Civil War, doctors carried dried Calendula petals in their pockets to stop bleeding and help wounds heal on the battlefield, and, in most Mexican traditions, Calendula is placed on the graves of loved ones. Even Shakespeare mentions Calendula in a ‘Winters Tale’ as the common sunshine herb.

“Here’s flowers for you:

Hot lavender, months, savoury, marjoram,

The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ th’ sun

And with him rises, weeping: these flowers 

Of middle Summer”

Photo: Tess Wood

Calendula Oil Infusion Recipe

This an easy recipe you can do at home, and it is great used topically for skin ailments. You can also use this in your practice as well for anointing. For this recipe, you will need dried Calendula flowers, a topical carrier oil of your choice ( used Olive Oil) and a clean sterilised jar with a screw top.

  • Step 1: Fill your sterilised jar ¾ of the way with the Calendula petals.
  • Step 2: Slowly pour your oil over the petals all the way to the top of the jar. Make sure when it’s filled that the petals are free to move around as they will expand when they absorb the oil.
  • Step 3: Screw the lid on fairly tight and give the jar a gentle shake.
  • Step 4: Label your jar with the name of the infusion, type of oil you’ve used and the date you made it on. This oil infusion should be stored in a dark warmish place for four to six weeks.,Shake it every day if you can.
  • Step 5: After the four to six weeks, strain the mixture into another clean container of your choice. I use cheesecloth to strain this oil as it gets most of the infused oil from the petals and you can squeeze every last bit out. Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

Only use this oil topically on the skin, in balms, salves or to anoint tools. Never ingest the infused oil.

Precautions

  • Stop using if you start to develop itchiness or redness if any kind.
  • Do not use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Always consult your doctor before starting to use herbal remedies of any kind as they can interact with other medications.

About the Author: Tess is a Canadian herbalist who has lived in the UK for the past four years. She started working with herbs as a way to change her and her families’ lifestyle and help with her overall health. She is currently working on extending her qualifications and becoming a herbalist full-time. You can find out more about her, and working with holistic medicine, on her Instagram page @theobscurawitch, where she posts frequently about her herbalism journey.

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