Calendula is astringent, antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory. It can help heal stubborn wounds, regulate menstruation, fight infections, and stimulate bile production. Studies show that calendula speeds wound healing by increasing blood flow to the wounded area and by helping the body produce collagen proteins (which are used to heal skin and connective tissue). Many herbalists believe that calendula has anti-cancer and anti-viral properties. Trials are underway to study the effects of calendula when treating herpes, flu viruses, and skin cancer.
Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is used externally for skin problems, acne, eczema, sunburn, chapped lips, bed sores, shingles, cuts, scrapes, bruises, and varicose veins. It is occasionally used internally for various complaints including esophagus inflammation, ulcers, gum disease, sluggish digestion, nausea, gastritis, headache, fever, depression, nervous conditions, Candidiasis overgrowths, and yeast infections.
Calendula flower petals can be used in teas, lotions, ointments, infused oils, mouthwashes, compresses, tinctures, and the bath. Calendula preparations are full of healthy flavonoids that provide numerous benefits. One tea recipe calls for a heaping tablespoon of dried flower petals per cup of boiling water. Steep for 20 minutes, strain, add a little honey, and enjoy. Calendula is also available as an essential oil. Calendula essential oil is a valuable addition to the world of aromatherapy where is it used to treat depression and nervous conditions.
Calendula was named 2008 Herb of the Year by the International Herb Association. It is a long time favorite with a history going back thousands of years. Calendula was well known as a medicinal herb in ancient Greece, India, Egypt, and Arabia (where it was also used as a yellow dye in food, fabrics, and cosmetics).
Native to the Mediterranean, calendula is now grown around the world. Calendula plants produce attractive golden or orange flowers that are a favorite among herbalists and gardeners. Calendula plants bloom throughout the growing season and petals can be harvested as blooms begin to fade. The plant likes full sun and ordinary garden soil. Calendula is an annual and is easy to grow from seeds – just plant after all danger of frost is past and looks for seedlings to appear almost overnight. Gather the flowers at their peak bloom. Gently pull the petals from the bitter center part. Use calendula flower petals either fresh or dried. The spicy-scented petals can be used whole or chopped in many recipes. Try adding calendula flowers to breads, soups, and salads. (When using calendula, it is important to make sure that the plant is authentic Calendula officinalis and not one of the ornamental marigolds.)
* Calendula belongs to the same family as daisies, chrysanthemums, and ragweed. In cases of allergic reaction, discontinue use. Calendula may affect conception when taken by either man or woman, so avoid when trying to get pregnant. Do not use calendula when pregnant or nursing. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy especially if pregnant, nursing, or using prescription (or over-the-counter) medications.
"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling, herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
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