This sunny sweet yellow-orange flower always brings a smile to my face. When I am organized, I plant as much Calendula as my tiny garden can accommodate. I am going to plant some seeds this year! Calendula brings a bright and sunny disposition and a welcome burst of colour to my ‘very green’ herb garden and Calendula Medicine is powerful and a well-loved member of my apothecary too.
We normally harvest the flowering tops and petals. The petals have the highest flavonoid and resin content. This is obvious when we pick the blooms, as ‘sticky fingers’ are soon a part of the experience. Michael Vertolli, from the Living Earth School of Herbalism (http://www.livingearthschool.ca) has always taught that there are some immune-stimulating components in the leaves as well, which are not present in the flowers. For this reason, I harvest the flowers when first open, and then about 3 inches of stem and sometimes add a couple of the first leaves (larger basil leaves), when making a tincture.
In traditional herbalism, we watch for opportunities to make medicine with the entire plant, or in this case, with more than just the blossoms, as there are powerful compounds in the rest of the herb, which complement the blooms.
There’s more. Calendula is also believed to be:
Please check our glossary for clarity here.
Calendula is one of the most amazing healers in our plant world. “She”, (as I always think of Calendula) offers a broad spectrum of anti-microbial attributes, being all of the following: anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral. We’ve got it all covered with Calendula Medicine. This ability to conquer all kinds of ‘infection’ promotes Calendula to the head of the class. Whether issues are inside or outside the body, she offers solutions and a tremendous healing power.
Calendula can be used for any infection. As one of THE best all ‘round anti-microbial herbs, fresh herb medicine can be used several ways. Whether we are enjoying 3-4 cups of Calendula tea or taking Calendula tincture 3-4 times daily, she goes to work to soothe inflammation, throw off infections, boost the body’s defenses and ‘lead the charge’ towards healing.
As a strong ‘lymphatic’ herb, Calendula helps to stimulate and support the lymph system. A robust lymph system is integral to a healthy immune system.
The ‘cool’ thing about this herb?
While Calendula is fighting infection, she is also able to encourage the removal of toxins and these same invaders, so offers us a healing path with several ‘approaches’ ~ all activated at once!
Calendula is an excellent helper in cases of lymphatic conditions like ‘mumps’, swollen glands or tonsillitis and when working with general toxicity conditions. In these cases, again, the well-rounded components of Calendula come together, dealing with the cause of these challenges as well as the ‘movement’ and removal of the ‘culprits at large’.
A simple ‘compress’ can be made from Calendula tea, and applied (warm or cool, not hot!) to the area needing support. Similarly, a cup of the tea can soothe a sore mouth after teeth extractions. I have had great results, personally with sips of warm tea and possibly a light ‘gargle’ to encourage truly absorbing all the healing qualities possible.
Treatment of peptic or duodenal ulcers are another area where Calendula shines, being an ‘
anti-ulcerogenic’ herb too. The combination of the anti-microbial properties with astringent and vulnerary attributes makes Calendula Medicine a super-star in formulas to treat ulcers and ulcerative conditions.
Calendula can also soothe ‘inside’ epithelial concerns such as all mucus membrane inflammations (e.g. hemorrhoids and varicose veins) and spasms of the Gastro-intestinal (G.I.) tract, as well as painful menstruation issues. It’s easy to see how one may add Calendula to formulas as a wonderful supportive player to heal so many different ‘imbalances’.
How to make a Calendula Medicine as a tincture at home:
Chop enough flowers (and stem, top leaves, if using) to fill a 1 pint glass canning jar.
Pour enough vodka (or pure grain alcohol, if using) to cover the plant material, almost to the brim.
Poke a chopstick or a non-metal stick into the plant material, gently.
Move the chopstick up and down, poking through. This action allows air bubbles, trapped inside, to rise to the surface.
Cap with a tight fitting lid.
Shake 2-3 times daily. After a day or so, check the level of the liquid in the jar.
Often, to ensure that the plant material is covered, after some settling has occurred, we need to add a little more ‘menstrum’ (alcohol preparation)
The time required to make a good medicine, varies, according to the specific herbal practice.
Personally, I leave all tinctures for a minimum of ONE month.
After such time, if I am in need of the finished product, I strain the liquid into another glass canning jar. Normally I use cheesecloth or similar the following day and filter into a dark amber glass bottle for storage.
Remember to label with ‘date’ and any pertinent details ~ NAME of herb of course, but also, I like to include details about where plant collected and info regarding the alcohol.
Therapeutic doses vary. Calendula may be used as a “simple” (alone without a formula) but is often combined with other herbs to deal with the issues discussed above. As a medium ‘astringent’ herb, we often combine it with other herbs to soften this (read “cotton feel in mouth” = astringent)
For effective results, drink 3-4 cups of tea every day.
Tincture dosage? This will depend upon the specific situation. It’s best to consult a qualified herbal practitioner for best protocol.
Generally, start with 1 dropper-ful 3 x daily and make sure that the medicine agrees with the person.
Build up the dose slowly until it’s 3 dropperfuls 3 x daily. This is the chronic protocol. In acute situations, this may change. When using Calendula or other herbs to fight infections, this will be ‘case-dependent’.
NOTE: I am sharing my 20+ years of experience with herbs. I am not a medical doctor. Please consult your health practitioner in case of infections.
Calendula, in salve, balm or creams is well known and documented to be extra-ordinary. I tend to employ both internal and external applications when dealing with more serious wounds, or chronic conditions like acne, skin ulcers, or eczema. Bites, stings, scratches, burns and rashes normally respond well with salves made with Calendula, Plantain, Comfrey and other vulnerary, healing herbs.
Stay tuned for my favourite salve recipe PLUS a special cream featuring calendula with a special message!
Calendula Medicine We can use these sweet yellow and orange petals to enhance our lives in so many ways. I make a delightful facial steam with calendula, rose and lavender (that’s the base group), as well as a vaginal steam for women in need of increased vaginal health. We can make soothing bath preparations as well. Check out this post for Calendula Bath Salts. There’s a long list. I will pull together my favourite Calendula Medicine notes and share next time.
Are you looking for a good source for Calendula seeds? I promise to add my sources this week..HERE…
It’s time to get thinking about this… and get those seeds ordered!!
Warnings + Precautions:
It’s unlikely that Calendula preparations will cause allergic reactions. People with a known allergy (or sensitivity) to the “Compositae/Asteraceae family (Ragweed, Daisies, Chrysanthemums) may want to pay extra attention or avoid contact with Calendula.
Whether we enjoy the blooms in our gardens or choose to create herbal salves, tea, or tinctures… or one of the many other calendula preparations, here’s to great health and more Calendula Medicine in ALL of our lives!
Calendula ~ As strong as she is Beautiful
How do YOU use this special angel of the green world?