I grew up in a picturesque village south of London with a keen gardening grandmother who taught us from an early age the traditional ways of using flowers and herbs as medicine.
One of my favourite plants is one that always makes me think of my gorgeous Grandmother - Pot Marigold - AKA - Calendula! She grew it in abundance and my memories of the beautiful bold golden petals gleaming under the sun always make me smile.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) features in a lot of Harriet Herbery products and for good reason. It is an incredibly powerful yet gentle herb that is used both topically and internally for a range of issues.
It's main actions are as vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, lymphatic, styptic, antimicrobial, antiviral (topically) and antifungal (topically).
Since having a child, I seriously do not leave the house without a pot of Calendula cream or salve in my handbag! It's perfect for minor wounds, infections, nappy rash, bites - my daughter calls it Mummy's Magic Cream.
It's one of my favourite plants to grow in my medicinal herbery garden and I've had great success with organic heirloom seeds from The Seed Collection.
So, how can you easily use it at home? The easiest way - and also highly effective, is as a tea.
You can easily grow your own and dry the flowers to prepare, otherwise you can purchase dried flowers to make your tea. We recommend using Certified Organic and they are in great abundance.
Preparing your Calendula Tea
Boiling water method with dried flowers: Place around a tablespoon of dried calendula flowers in a cup and pour boiling water over them. Cover and steep for around 15 to 20 minutes.
Boiling water method with fresh flowers: Fill a teapot or heat-proof jar fresh flowers and pour boiling water over them. Cap and let infuse until the tea is cool enough to drink.
Sun tea method: Fill a jar with fresh flowers (or 1/4 full with dried flowers) and cover with water. Cap and place out in the sun for at least 5 or 6 hours. This is obviously very difficult to do in Melbourne right now given Winter is on the way, so reserve this for Summer if you're in a cooler climate.
Compost your leftover petals once strained. We feed ours to the chickens. If you have any leftover tea, you can keep it in the fridge for a day or so.
Important note - Calendula is NOT recommended for internal use by pregnant women or animals. It is also contraindicated in people with a known allergy to Calendula.
10 ways to use Calendula Tea!
1. Dip small cloths into the tea and apply as a compress to scraped, itchy, scratched or otherwise inflamed skin conditions.
2. Gargle in your mouth for mouth ulcers, sore throat, inflamed gums
3. Once the tea is cooled you can put it into a spray bottle to calm sunburn
4. Use with homemade baby wipes to help with nappy rash
5. If you have acne, try washing your face with the tea once a day
6. Add 100ml of tea to your bath to help with inflamed skin or rashes
7. Add to a spray bottle and spray on skin that needs disinfecting
8. Use on your animals (as long as they aren't pregnant!) as a soothing rinse. You can add it to dogs bath etc or in a spray bottle on animals as a soothing rinse for scrapes, itchiness, minor wounds, eczema, flea bites etc
9. Add to a foot bath to help with athlete's foot
10. DRiNK IT! Calendula is reportedly good for peptic ulcers, enlarge lymph glands, acne, sebaceous cysts and spasmodic dysmenorrhoea. Remember it is not recommended for internal use if you are pregnant or allergic!
There are some people who are allergic to calendula, so discontinue use if you experience any allergic reactions. Do NOT use if pregnant. And of course, see a health professional or emergency department if you ever experience severe allergic reactions to any herbs.
This website is not a substitute to health advice.