The Marigold that goes to bed wi’ th’ sun,
And with him rises weeping.
(Shakespeare, A Winter’s Tale)
As bright as summertime… I made friends with Calendula late in life. It was one of the chosen flowers of a fellow herbalist-friend from Alaska, and to this day I think of her when I pick the blossoms, which leave an aromatic residue on one’s fingers.
To see a swath of Calendula in full bloom is to dazzle the eyes, and the herb has a history of having been considered uplifting to the heart and spirit.
Calendula | Calendula officinale
Calendula: In Italy you might find this flower called fiore d’ogni mese or in France still referred to as fleur de tous les mois: “flower of every month”. Indeed, the names go back to the Roman calendar, to the day called calenda in Latin (the calends were the first day of each month, when interest payments were due), on which it was said to bloom.
Common names: Bull’s eyes, Gold bloom, Golding, Golds, Gowlan, Jackanapes-on-horsebacke, Mally gowl, Marybud, Marigold, Marygold, Mary Gowles, Pot Marigold, Ruddes, Sunflower; Fleur de tous les mois, Souci, Souci officinal, Souci des jardins (French); Aureola, Caltha, Oculus Christi, Solis sponsa, Solsequia (Latin); Chrysanthemon (Ancient Greek); a ga do li (“Eye” flowers, Cherokee); Blath Mhuire (Gaelic)
Calendula flowers have been traditionally employed topically for their antibacterial, antiviral, and styptic properties; it is a key herb when considering first aid for scratches or in the case of certain infectious diseases. You may find it most readily out there in stores as a common ingredient in natural diaper rash products.
Rather less widely known are the herb’s traditional applications to women’s health, its internal uses, and its possible application to cancer support therapy.
In the garden, Calendula is easy to grow (provided you give it enough water and enough space to branch out) and will simply re-seed itself. Picking the blossoms every 3-4 days will only result in more blooms!
Calendula is also an herb that is particularly well-suited to making lovely external body care products. The Herbal Academy of New England houses a fine list of recipes.
You can read more in-depth about Calendula in the Materia medica.
I am a doctor of philosophy, not of medicine. While I am a holistic practitioner, this information is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent conditions and diseases. It is a compilation of current and historical research combined with personal experience. Use herbs with caution, do your own research, and consult with your own health practitioner(s).