This bright cheery flower is bursting with color in the heat of the summer sun. Orange and yellow pom poms grow just under knee height, and continue on all summer long. And the more you pick the flowers, the more you will get; but, I always leave some flowers on in the fall to go to seed. This will ensure that I will get some baby calendula plants coming up next year. Calendula is an annual and will die after the one season, so let some seed themselves or collect your own seeds and sow it in the spring.
Calendula often gets confused with Marigold. Sometimes you will hear it referred to as marigold or pot marigold, referring to the old cooking method of throwing many things from your garden in to the cooking pot and heating it all day on the back of the woodstove. The regular marigold flower is the French Marigold and its botanical name is Tagets. Calendula “Marigold's" botanical name is Calendula officinalis.
Calendula has many healing qualities. Both internally ~prevent muscle spasms, start menstrual periods, reduce fever, treating sore throat and mouth, menstrual cramps, cancer, and stomach and duodenal ulcers, and measles, and externally ~applied to the skin to reduce pain and swelling (inflammation) and to treat poorly healing wounds and leg ulcers. It is also applied to the skin for nosebleeds, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, inflammation of the rectum (proctitis), ear infection, gum disease, peeling lips, diaper rash, vaginal yeast infection, and inflammation of the lining of the eyelid (conjunctivitis).
My favorite thing to do with it is make a salve. It is one of my key ingredients in my skin healing salve. To make a salve you must first pick the petals on a dry day. Let them air dry on a screen or paper towing in a basket. When they are dry, fill a small jar with them and cover in your favorite carrier (fatty) oil, exp: olive, coconut, almond, sunflower, avocado, etc. Let this mixture sit for a month. Make sure you label your jar with the contents and the date it was made on. Keep this in a dark place. When ready, strain out the plant material, and heat lightly in a double boiler. Add beeswax and put into small jars for use. Now you have a great skin healing salve for all those "ouches" we encounter on our trip through life!