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What is Calendula?

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is also known as garden marigold, holligold, goldbloom, golds, ruddes, Mary bud, bull's eyes, and pot marigold. It is a member of the Asteraceae family. Other members of this plant family include daisies, arnica, chamomile, and yarrow. This bright, flowering herb opens its gold blossoms in the morning and closes them at dusk, or when rain threatens. Calendula is native to Asia and southern and central Europe. Early settlers brought the herb to North America where it has become a garden favorite. It is cultivated throughout the world and valued for its culinary and medicinal uses. The first name, Calendula, is from the Latin kalendae, the word Romans used to indicate that it bloomed throughout the year in their area. The second name officinalis indicates that calendula was included in official lists of medicinal herbs. The common name marigold refers to the blossoms' association with the Virgin Mary.

Calendula is a familiar garden plant with yellow or orange-gold blooms that have a strong and distinctive scent. The plant likes sun and will re-seed from year to year, even in poor soil. The erect, square and branching stems emerge from a taproot to grow up to 2 ft (0.6 m) high. The lower leaves are broad and spatula shaped. Upper leaves may be oblong, are smooth at the edges, and are arranged alternately along the stem. Blossoms may be single or double, are 14 in (2.5410.2 cm) across, and are made of many small florets. The bushy herb blooms continuously throughout the summer. Seeds are crescent to horseshoe shaped with a rough exterior.

General Use: Calendula has been used for centuries as a culinary, medicinal, and magical herb. It was believed that calendula could bring protection against dangerous influences. The seventeenth century astrologer and doctor, Nicholas Culpeper, taught that the marigolds were under the influence of the constellation Leo. The flowers, he said were "a comforter of the heart and spirits." The bright yellow blossom of this herb was used to make a dye to color cheese and butter. In the kitchen, leaves and florets were added to sauces, soups, porridge, and puddings for color and medicinal benefit. The dried, powdered blossoms have also been used as a substitute for saffron in cooking. During the Civil War, calendula was used to stop the blood flow from battle wounds. Calendula blossom preparations continue to be valued as an antiseptic for external application to scrapes, burns, cuts, or wounds. Local application, in the form of a plant poultice or an infusion soaked in a cloth and applied to a wound, is an effective healing remedy. The Romans valued the herb for its ability to break fevers. During the Middle Ages, calendula used for protection against the plague. In early American Shaker medicine, calendula was a treatment for gangrene.

In addition to its first aid uses, calendula also acts as a digestive remedy. An infusion or tincture of the flowers, taken internally, is beneficial in the treatment of ulcers, stomach cramps, colitis, herpes viruses, yeast infections, and diarrhea. An infusion may also be used as an external wash helpful in treating bee stings, eye inflammations, boils and abscesses, varicose veins, eczema, acne, and as a gargle for mouth sores or a rinse to relieve toothache. The flowers have antispasmodic, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties. They improve the circulation of the blood and the lymphatic fluids and aid in elimination of toxins from the body. The juice from the fresh flowers or stem is said to help remove warts and help heal mucous membranes and skin. An infusion or tincture of the herb is also helpful in cases of painful or delayed menstruation, and the herb is a beneficial ally in the transition to menopause. The tincture also has many other uses, such as a topical wash for diaper rash in infants, a mouth gargle for sores, a vaginal douche for yeast, an internal soother for inflamed lungs, a topical for hemorrhoids, etc.

Despite a large number of studies on the chemical constituents of calendula flowers, the agents responsible for the herb's healing properties haven't been clearly determined. Constituents include saponins, carotenoids, resin, bitter principle, essential oil, sterols, flavonoids, and mucilage.

Precautions: Calendula shouldn't be used during pregnancy. It also should not be confused with the French marigold Tagetes patula, sometimes grown in gardens as an insect repellant.

Side Effects: Calendula is a relatively mild, nontoxic herbal medicine with no known side effects reported.

what Calendula may be used for? antibacterial,an agent that destroys bacteria.

-Antiseptic, an agent for inhibiting the growth of microorganism on living tissue or destroying pathogenic or putrefactive bacteria.

- Antispasmodic, an agent that relieves or checks spasms or cramps.

- Aperient, a mild stimulant for the bowels; a gentle purgative.

- Cholagogue, an agent for increasing the flow of bile into the intestines

- Diaphoretic, an agent that promotes perspiration.

- Stimulant, an agent that excites or quickens the functional activity of the tissues giving more energy.

- Detergent, an agent that cleanses wounds and sores of diseased or dead matter.

- Toning.

- Vulnerary, a healing application for wounds, purposes

The ointment of this herb is thought to cure a range of skin problems from burns to acne as it has properties that reduces inflammation, controls bleeding and soothes irritated tissue. Use internally or topically for minor wounds, eczemas and cysts as well as diaper rash and cradle cap in infants. Also, when planted near tomato plants in the garden, Marigolds help to reduce the presence of aphids.

Marigold petals are considered edible. They are often used to add color to salads, and marigold extract is commonly added to chicken feed to produce darker egg yolks. Their aroma, however, is not sweet, and resembles the smell of hops in beer. The oil from its seed contains calendic acid.

Hyland's Calendula Ointment

Boericke Tafel's Califlora Calendula Gel

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