calendula (calendula officinalis)

Calendula is a sunny must in your garden

It grows easily from the seed that are collected or fall when the flower head has died and dried

Ask a friend for some of their seed so that you can start your own calendula patch

If you scatter the seeds in an area where you have room for at least thirty plants and mulch it, in the spring the new plants will appear

Every year my calendula self-sows but to have enough flowers to dry and store you need to prepare a specific site or have many plants throughout your garden

The exact amount you grow will depend on your needs during the winter months when the fresh flowers are not available

Use the calendula’s yellow/orange flowers

Calendula’s actions include

  • astringent
  • anti-inflammatory
  • wound healer
  • anti-fungal
  • cholagogue
  • tonic for female reproductive system

Calendula’s antiseptic properties make it a useful herb for the whole family

Used externally it is antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal

It can be used to clear up nappy rash and skin conditions such as acne, cradle cap, and impetigo

It can also be used as a wash for cuts, grazes and wounds to assist with the healing process

You can make up a strong infusion, by soaking a handful of the flowers in about a litre of water overnight

In the morning, heat the mixture on the stove

Cool and use to bathe the affected area

The infusion can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days

If you need it immediately simply make a strong infusion with boiling water, allow to cool, strain and use on the affected area

Calendula can also be made into an infused oil and used for infections such as thrush, cracked nipples from breastfeeding, or for the repair of perineal damage after childbirth

If you experience rashes or skin conditions on the body, soak in a calendula oil bath or rub a few drops of the oil onto your affected skin

Beautiful calendula oil can be made at home and used by everyone in the family

Fill a clean, wide mouthed jar with dried flower heads

Make sure they are completely dry before adding the oil and then cover with good quality cold pressed vegetable oil

Seal tightly and store on a warm shelf for 4 to 8 weeks

Try to remember to shake the jar daily

The oil will take on a deep yellow colour

Press and strain the flowers from the oil and store the strained oil in a dark bottle

The oil can be kept for up to a year

Help yourself to calendula and you will be practicing self help