Calendula is such a cheerful plant with its beautiful hues of yellow and orange. All summer and well into the fall we have an abundance of calendula that self seeds each year in the Gabriola Commons kitchen garden. An edible flower, it can be used to decorate salads, and is an inexpensive substitute for saffron. In addition to its many medicinal properties, beautiful fabric dyes can be made from the flowers.
Calendula makes an excellent skin cream that improves skin firmness and hydration. An antiseptic and anti-inflammatory herb, it is excellent for healing wounds by promoting cell repair and growth, speeding up the healing process. It is good for treating chapped skin, scrapes, burns, rashes, bruises, skin ulcers, skin infections, varicose veins, insect bites, fungal conditions such as athlete’s foot, and eczema. For babies it is helps treat cradle cap, diaper rash and other skin irritations. Calendula also has been shown to help prevent dermatitis or skin inflammation in people with breast cancer during radiation therapy.
The botanical name, Calendula, is derived from Latin, calendae, meaning little calendar or clock and has long been associated with the sun, as the flowers open at sunrise and close at sunset. As October’s flower, it symbolizes endurance, which makes sense since it blooms from April until the first frost.
A sun herb, it strengthens the heart and thus the spirits. It warms our hearts toward others, so that we can be compassionate to others. Some say calendula builds psychic powers and induces prophetic dreams.