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Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis) the Medicinal Garden

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Calendula officinalis  are also known as pot marigold, ruddles, common marigold, garden marigold, English marigold or Scottish marigold. No matter what you call them, are like spots of sunshine in the garden.  When John Gay wrote “What flower is that which bears the Virgin’s name, the richest metal joined to the same?”, he was writing about Calendula or pot marigold (Mary’s Gold)  as it was prized for being in bloom through all of the feasts that honored the Blessed Virgin.  Although the history is often forgotten, we still enjoy the extended bloom of this wonderful plant.

Description

• An erect, coarse, many branched annual.

• Entire plant is covered in fine hairs.

• Plant gives of a distinct fragrance when pinched.

 

Flowering

• Flowers are produced from Spring through Fall.

• Ray flowers in solitary, terminal heads, 1 ½ to 4 inches across.

• Pale yellow to deep orange.

• Petals close at night.

 

Range

• Native from the Canary Islands through southern and central Europe and North Africa to Iran..

 

Habitat

• Grows in disturbed areas such as roadsides, lawns, flowerbeds and waste ground.

 

History

• Has been in use since the 12th century to treat headaches, toothaches, red eyes, stomach upsets, ulcers, menstrual cramps and fevers.

• Due to it’s color, some believed it was good for treating jaundice.

• The 17th century herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper believed Calendula strengthened the heart.

• It was believed to be magical and there is a recipe that was believed to allow people to see fairies..

 

Uses Today

• Calendula is used topically and has been shown to help wounds heal faster.

• Used to hydrate skin and improve firmness.

• Dried petals are used in ointments and washes to help burns, bruises and cuts.

• Calendula also has been shown to help prevent skin inflammation in people with breast cancer during radiation therapy.  

• Used in ear drops to help children with ear infections.

• The dried flowers can be used used in soups salads and on poultry as a substitute for saffron.

• The flowers are often used in crafts and as a dying agent.

 

Source:Various sources including University of Maryland Medical Center, Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. and WebMD

 

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand historical and medicinal uses of this plant. In no way are we suggesting or telling readers to use this plant as mentioned above.

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