Herb: Pot Marigold
Latin name: Calendula officinalis
Medicinal use of Pot Marigold:Pot marigold is one of the best known and versatile herbs in Western herbal medicine and is also a popular domestic remedy. It is, above all, a remedy for skin problems and is applied externally to bites and stings, sprains, wounds, sore eyes, varicose veins etc. It is also a cleansing and detoxifying herb and is taken internally in treating fevers and chronic infections. Only the common deep-orange flowered variety is considered to be of medicinal value. The whole plant, but especially the flowers and the leaves, is antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, skin, stimulant and vulnerary. The leaves can be used fresh or dried, they are best harvested in the morning of a fine sunny day just after the dew has dried from them. The flowers are also used fresh or dried, for drying they are harvested when fully open and need to be dried quickly in the shade. A tea of the petals tones up the circulation and, taken regularly, can ease varicose veins. An application of the crushed stems to corns and warts will soon render them easily removable. The leaves, blossoms and buds are used to make a homeopathic remedy. It is used internally in order to speed the healing of wounds.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:The original habitat is obscure but it is found as a garden escape on waste, cultivated and arable land and along roadsides.
Edible parts of Pot Marigold:Leaves - raw. When eaten they first of all impart a viscid sweetness, followed by a strong penetrating taste of a saline nature. They are very rich in vitamins and minerals and are similar to Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) in nutritional value. Fresh petals are chopped and added to salads. The dried petals have a more concentrated flavour and are used as a seasoning in soups, cakes etc. High in vitamins A and C. An edible yellow dye is obtained from the petals. A saffron substitute, it is used to colour and flavour rice, soups etc. It is also used as a hair rinse, adding golden tints to brown or auburn hair. A tea is made from the petals and flowers, that made from the petals is less bitter. There is no record of the seed being edible, but it contains up to 37% protein and 46% oil.
Other uses of the herb:The growing plant acts as an insect deterrent, it reduces the soil eelworm population. The flowers are used cosmetically. They can be used in skin lotions and when added to hair shampoos will lighten the hair colour. The flowers are an alternative ingredient of "Quick Return" compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost. A yellow dye is obtained from the boiled flowers. An essential oil is obtained from the plant. It is used rather sparingly, in view of the difficulty in obtaining it, in perfumes that have a rather sharp tang. The flowers close when wet weather is likely to occur and they can therefore be used as a rough means of weather forecasting.
Propagation of Pot Marigold:Seed - sow in situ from spring to early summer and again in September. The seed germinates best in darkness and usually within 1 - 2 weeks at 21°C. The plant often self-sows freely.
Cultivation of the herb:The original habitat is obscure but it is found as a garden escape on waste, cultivated and arable land and along roadsides.
Known hazards of Calendula officinalis:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.