Herb: African Marigold

Latin name: Tagetes erecta

Family: Compositae

Medicinal use of African Marigold:

The whole herb is anthelmintic, aromatic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, sedative and stomachic. It is used internally in the treatment of indigestion, colic, severe constipation, coughs and dysentery. Externally, it is used to treat sores, ulcers, eczema. sore eyes and rheumatism. The leaves are harvested as required for immediate use during the growing season, whilst the flowering plant can be dried and stored for later use. A paste of the leavs is applied externally to treat boils, carbuncles and earaches. The flowers are carminitive, diuretic and vermifuge. A decoction is used to treat colds, and mumps. It is applied externally to trea skin diseases, conjunctivitis and sore eyes. The root is laxative.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)



Habitat of the herb:

Grows in the pine-oak forest zone. A garden escape in the USA where it grows along the sides of roads.

Edible parts of African Marigold:

The petals of the flowers of some varieties can be eaten. The fresh receptacle is eaten by children. A yellow dye obtained from the flowers can be used as a saffron substitute for colouring and flavouring foods. The plant is used as a condiment. (This probably refers to the use of the flowers as an edible dye)

Other uses of the herb:

Secretions from the roots of growing plants have an insecticidal effect on the soil, effective against nematodes and to some extent against keeled slugs. These secretions are produced about 3 - 4 months after sowing. The flower petals also have nematacidal properties. The growing plant is also said to repel insects and can be grown amongst crops such as potatoes and tomatoes. A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers.

Propagation of African Marigold:

Seed - sow March in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts.

Cultivation of the herb:

Grows in the pine-oak forest zone. A garden escape in the USA where it grows along the sides of roads.

Known hazards of Tagetes erecta:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.