Whole or powdered, Essential Oil
Calendula or Marigold is a yellow flower related to asters and sunflowers. The plant gets its botanical name of Calendula from the Latin word that means "little calendar" or "little clock", a reference to the fact that the plant's bloom coincides with the new moon each month.
Aside from providing a mildly sweet and relaxing tea, a strong infusion of whole calendula flowers brightens and blends away gray in fair hair when used as a final rinse.
The whole flower heads are added to soups and broths. Marigold flowers are also used to produce a light, yellow dye and natural food coloring. The flowers also add a mild, pleasant flavor to herbal tea blends.
Traditional and ancient uses
Calendula species have been used traditionally as culinary and medicinal herbs. The petals are edible and can be used fresh in
salads or dried and used to color cheese or as a replacement for saffron. A
yellow dye has been extracted from the flowers.
Romans and Greeks used the golden calendula in many rituals and
ceremonies, sometimes wearing crowns or garlands made from the flowers.
One of its nicknames is "Mary's Gold," referring to the flowers' use in early
Catholic events in some countries. Calendula flowers are sacred flowers in
India and have been used to decorate the statues of Hindu deities since early
Calendula oil is still used medicinally. The oil of C. officinalis is used as an anti-inflammatory, an antitumor agent, and a remedy for healing wounds.
Plant pharmacological studies have suggested that Calendula extracts have antiviral, antigenotoxic, and anti-inflammatory properties in vitro. In herbalism, Calendula in suspension or in tincture is used topically for treating acne, reducing inflammation, controlling bleeding, and soothing irritated tissue. Limited evidence indicates Calendula cream or ointment is effective in treating radiation dermatitis. Topical application of C. officinalis ointment has helped to prevent dermatitis, pain, and missed radiation treatments in randomized trials.
Calendula has been used traditionally for abdominal cramps and constipation. In experiments with rabbit jejunum, the aqueous-ethanol extract of C. officinalis flowers was shown to have both spasmolytic and spasmogenic effects, thus providing a scientific rationale for this traditional use. An aqueous extract of C. officinalis obtained by a novel extraction method has demonstrated antitumor (cytotoxic) activity and immunomodulatory properties (lymphocyte activation) in vitro, as well as antitumor activity in mice.
Calendula plants are known to cause allergic reactions, and should be avoided during pregnancy.
Calendula species have been used in cooking for centuries. The flowers were a common ingredient in German soups and stews, which explains the nickname "pot marigold". The lovely golden petals were also used to add color to butter and cheese. The flowers are traditional ingredients in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Calendula tea provides health benefits, as well as being delicious.
The beautiful flowers were once used as a source of dye for fabrics. By using different mordants, a variety of yellows, oranges and browns could be obtained.
Ancient cultures recognized and used the healing properties of calendula. In some of the earliest medical writings, calendula was recommended for treating ailments of the digestive tract. It was used to detoxify the liver and gall bladder. The flowers were applied to cuts and wounds to stop bleeding, prevent infection and speed healing. Calendula was also used for various women's ailments, and to treat a number of skin conditions. During the American Civil War, calendula flowers were used on the battlefields in open wounds as antihemorrhagic and antiseptic, and they were used in dressing wounds to promote healing. Calendula also was used in this way during World War I. Calendula has been historically significant in medicine in many cultures, and it is still important in alternative medicine today.
Flower heads and petals
Sterols, Mucilage, Carotenes, Glycosides, Resins, Triterpenes, Flavonoids