I love Calendula’s bright sunny flowers. I love calendula so much it is in my herb garden, apothecary, and is a staple in many Birth Song Botanicals products. Herbalists use Calendula officinalis in countless preparations, but it’s a garden favorite first. Calendula benefits extend from the time it begins to sprout to the time its healing properties reach your skin.
I combined calendula with other herbs in our postpartum herb bath to help aid in rapid perineal recovery and soothe hemorrhoids after giving birth. Calendula is also in our Nipple Salve, Diaper Salve and Healing Salve because it helps repair sore nipples, inflamed skin caused by diaper rash and it works as first aid skin care. Calendula is why our Cesarean Recovery Spray leaves your incision feeling fresh and clean as your body heals.
Let me tell you a little more about this delightful plant and why you might want to grow some yourself...
Calendula in the Garden
Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is a fully edible flowering annual that grows to about two feet tall with lovely, bright flowers all summer long. Many medicinal plants like calendula that are healing after harvest also have many benefits while growing in the garden, as well. While it’s growing, the beautiful calendula is known as a beneficial or companion plant. That means it benefits all of the plants around it by attracting helpful bugs and deterring pests.
Calendula grows fairly easy in your garden and in container pots on your porch. As with all herbs that you are going to make herbal medicine with make the commitment to organic herbs because pesticides can leach into your otherwise lovely tincture or balm. And what’s worse, the sprays might deplete nutrients and therapeutic properties of the plant.
How Does Calendula Work?
Why is calendula so great for skin irritations like rashes, bites, cuts, scrapes, bruises and sprains and strains? Calendula has the healing power of antioxidants, which help repair damaged skin cells. And while the healing is starting to take place, anti-inflammatory actions soothe irritated, inflamed, painful tissue. And its antiseptic properties help to keep the tissues healthy and free from pathogenic micro organisms.
Calendula is generally safe for internal use. However it is best known for its benefits externally for skin. For most people, calendula has no interactions or restrictions. However sometimes, someone with a ragweed allergy may also react to calendula. If you have allergies to other plants it is a good idea to test a small amount of the herb or herbal product before you use it on bigger areas of your body.
The Healing Benefits of Calendula
Medicinally, calendula petals and flower heads are the source of powerful yet gentle healing actions that are strong enough to make effective herbal preparations, yet is gentle enough for everyone even little babies.
The bright yellow or orange petals are dried then infused into herbal baths, tinctures and oils, which soak up the nutrients and healing properties. Because it’s so gentle and nourishing, calendula is one of my top picks for pregnant women, nursing moms, newborns and children.
Experience Calendula Yourself
To really experience the benefits of calendula get creative and start to play and learn from the plant. An easy place to start is to work with fully dried petals and flower heads that are still bright golden yellow. You can extract the medicinal properties into a with vodka and make an antiseptic tincture or soak the flowers in olive oil to make a herbal oil for salves and massage oil. A good strong calendula infused oil will turn yellow. Once you have made an herbal extraction you can make so many great herbal preparations like sunburn and first aid sprays, bug bite salves, anti itch baths, herbal massage oils for sore muscles and bruises.