Although we haven't had a frost yet in the mountains of North Carolina,
we have had several really cold nights. Many of the plants in the garden
are turning yellow and dying back. But my Calendula patch looks happier
than ever. In fact, the plants have put out a whole new set of blossoms
since I picked them a few days ago. These hardy plants will live and
continue to bloom well into the winter. And though I will miss them
when they die, I know that next spring new plants will sprout from this
year's seeds, ensuring another year's harvest.
Calendula, or Calendula officinalis, is prized for its beauty and adaptability.
In fact, though it is native to Europe gardeners have spread it around
the world. Its flowers, ranging in color from mild yellow to deep orange,
have been called "golden drops of sunshine." This cheerful
litle flower deserves a place of honor in every medicine cabinet and
Calendula has a wide range of uses, but where it shines brightest is
as a vulnerary or wound healer. It is useful on all external skin problems
and injuries but especially those that are red, tender, and oozing.
It will also help to heal burns, bruises, and sprains. It decreases
swelling, clears infection, speeds tissue regeneration, and prevents
scarring. It can even heal old scar tissue! I also enjoy using Calendula
when I don¹t have any injuries; it makes normal skin softer and
healthier and is delightful for massage.
Taken internally, Calendula gently supports the immune system, especially
during times of transition. As the season shifts from summer to fall,
many of us are susceptible to colds and flus. Calendula's healing starts
by example, as she not only survives but thrives through the change
in seasons. Calendula raises immunity by stimulating lymphatic drainage.
The lymph is an essential part of the immune system, filtering and eliminating
waste products and bacteria as well as producing infection-fighting
cells. Calendula is also anti-microbial and anti-viral. I use this herb
to help heal swollen glands, low fevers, skin rashes, eczema, acne,
cold sores, herpes, hepatitis, mastitis, yeast infections, varicose
veins, hemorrhoids, ovarian cysts, jaundice, and much more.
Being so adaptable, Calendula will offer its healing in almost any
form you choose to use. My favorite preparation for external use is
an oil or salve of the fresh flowers. Internally you can use Calendula
flower tincture, tea, or even the juice pressed from the fresh plant.
The dosage for the tincture is 25-75 drops, 1-4 times per day. The English
used to add the dried flowers to soups throughout the winter months.
You can also add the fresh petals to salads. However you chose to use
it, Calendula offers a gentle yet powerful medicine to help us move
gracefully through many challenging situations.
Created by Jessica Godino, 2002
Jessica Godino has been teaching people about herbal medicine for almost two decades. After training with Susun Weed she co-founded Red Moon Herbs, an herbal medicine company. Her deep love for the plants and easygoing teaching style makes learning about herbal medicine accessible to everyone. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina where she practices acupuncture and teaches herbal medicine. She can be reached at http://www.fourflameshealing.com/.
Other Articles by Jessica Godino include:
Wildcrafting Guidelines - ten
steps to follow
Spring Tonics - Stinging Nettle,
Chickweed, and Dandelion
Usnea - a versatile immune
Violet - a nutritional and
Hawthorn - a gentle but powerful
tonic for the heart
Vitex - a
supreme hormonal tonic for women