Spring has sprung and with the 80 degree days just around the corner, we find ourselves relying more and more on plant magic to help heal the plethora of eventual summer ailments. Did you know that many common plants/”weeds” contain protective chemicals that can help you fight off bug bites, sore muscles, poison ivy, digestive upset, and so so much more? This is why I love the vast world of herbal medicine. It’s one part science, one part intuition, and all history. This week, I’ve been getting more and more excited about our calendula. We have it growing throughout our perennial beds (still early days though) and will have it in the pollinator beds in the Pick-Your-Own area later in the season. Picking calendula not only creates a sunny, yet delicate bouquet for you and your loved ones but it also could serve as a powerhouse medicinal plant. Below is a list of just a few calendula ideas, but there are always SO many more things you can do with plants so I definitely would advise you, if you have any interest in plant medicine, to look into the benefits of calendula a bit further.
Digestive Issues: Calendula is a primary herb for calming digestive upset and healing digestive organ tissues. Making a tea from calendula is commonly used to help remedy peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as it protects the stomach lining and repairs the gut wall through its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. This results in improved digestion and temporary relief of discomfort.
Great for Your Skin: Calendula helps promote the production of collagen in your skin, which means, reduction in wrinkles as well as scar prevention. If you have eczema, dermatitis, or dandruff, calendula will soothe your skin and keep it hydrated. It can also heal and prevent diaper rash. It’s anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal while also being great for keeping the skin properly hydrated so it can make a super effective face wash. I like to pick the whole flower heads and dry them. After they’re dry, I fill a jar up with them and cover the flower heads with a good quality olive oil. I let this oil sit for at least 2 weeks to absorb the flowers’ potent oils. And voila! You have a light cleansing oil for your face!
Calendula can Relieve Cough and Cold Symptoms: With all this pollen swirling in the air, calendula really has its chance to shine. Because of its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, calendula has wonderful immune-boosting qualities. It can also help relieve coughs and nasal congestion.
Below is a recipe for a super tasty and lightly sweet tea made from calendula. I got it from one of my favorite herbal resources, Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine. Also, don’t forget to peruse the Pick-Your-Own garden as more flowers begin to bloom, and look out for our Woodside Farms calendula.
Digestive Calendula Tea from Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine:
2 parts meadowsweet leaves and flowers (Filipendula ulmaria)
1 part marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis)
1 part calendula flowers (Calendula officinalis)
2 parts licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra or G. uralensis)
For every 8 ounces (240 ml) of water, use 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of the herb blend. Place the desired amount of herbal blend and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for twenty minutes and take off the heat.
Strain and sweeten with honey or maple syrup if desired. Drink one to three cups a day.