Archive for February, 2009

That scruffy flower? Calendula and what I do with it

calendula tonics

Calendula and marigolds are some of my favourite flowers.  The variety of  common calendula (C. officinalis) that I grow looks like a bright yellow or orange daisy.  Apparently marigold is slightly stronger than calendular, but both are edible, so to put the petals in a salad or on top of a (chocolate?) cake adds a gorgeous appeal, as well as being healthful.

I was told that calendula was used in the American civil war and the first world war for its healing properties.  I make a tonic from it to drink or to use on the skin (after cleansing, before moisturising).  If you want to use my recipe, please do, but note that I am not a medical professional so in other words, take what I do with a grain of salt as the only animals this particular batch was tested on are myself and my daughter (consider that a disclaimer), or you can see how e-how recommend using it.  Also, you may be interested to read some reviews by users of a commercial product and note that there are various reactions to their calendula toner.   Also, I found an article on the interweb that had some interesting information about the beauty and benefits of calendula.

However, speaking of animals, I did make up a batch of calendula moisturiser a few years back, and gave it away to friends as a lip balm for Christmas.  I got a lot of good reports, one person told me they used it on a scab on their dog’s leg which wouldn’t heal, with the result that it healed within a few days once using my calendula balm.  Another friend had a burn on her arm which she used it on – apparently instant relief and fast healing (Weleda mentions usefulness for burns in their info page on Calendula and so does medfinds).  But I’m already a believer.

Besides looking impossibly cheerful despite being discriminated against (the scruffy flower) and rejected by people, calendula is good as a companion plant in the garden, working for us to protect our plants.  Apparently certain parts of it repel insects which want to harm veges like potatoes and tomatoes.

So it is so versatile and useful!  And how about drinking a nice cup of calendula tea when you’ve just come in from the garden?  Or if you need to put your feet up after a shopping expedition at Harrods (check out the price of their calendula tonic and see if you don’t feel cheered after making up some of your own).

If you want to grow calendula but don’t have any seeds, I have lots because I am a seed-saver, (look out for an upcoming post on seed-saving) and I am happy to send you some.  Please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope with a note reminding me you’d like some marigold or calendular seeds.  My address is:

Julianne

PO Box 30048

St Martins 8246

Christchurch

New Zealand

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