Healing Weeds - Getting a closer contact with the healing world of herbs and wild plants.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Calendula officinalis
NL: Goudsbloem - F: Souci - E: Calendula

This beautiful garden plant usually spreads its seeds all over, growing in all possible empty spaces it finds around in the vicinity.

Leaves and fresh petals are very rich in vitamins (such as beta carotene and vitamin C) and minerals, having its nutritional content compared to Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion). They can be eaten raw in salads, smoothies, sandwiches. The dried petals can be used in recipes to replace saffron, giving a yellowish colour to desserts, soups, cakes, risotto, etc.

It is a top first aid remedy for skin problems, having great antiseptic properties. Applied externally it speeds up the healing of bites and stings, sprains, wounds, burns, sore eyes, varicose veins, etc. The dried petals can be easily carried in a first aid kit. Pour a bit of hot water just to cover the petals and let it soak for 5-10 minutes for emergency poultices to help disinfect and heal wounds and burns when other resources are not readily available.

Calendula leaves - delicious in green juices!
It is also a cleansing and detoxifying herb and can be taken internally to reduce fevers, inflammations and chronic infections. A tea of the petals tones up the circulation and, taken regularly, it can ease varicose veins. An application of the crushed stems to corns and warts may help render them easily removable.

It is very easy to grow, even in a not too sunny garden, such as the one we started our first calendula field (North-West oriented garden). It yields a lots of petals and the more we harvest the more new flowers are produced. The highest amount of healing substances are supposed to be present in the fresh flowers, but I love leaving it for the bees and other lovely insects that come visit our garden. I prefer then to harvest only the petals that start getting a bit down and it still works wonders! I use them in salves for healing wounds, cracked skin, to disinfect cuts and relieve itching from insect bites. Just remove the petals, leaving the rest as it is, as the seeds will still get ripe and you can harvest them, let them dry properly and keep them in a paper bag. Even if you do not keep the seeds to plant again next year, the seeds that fall on the ground will make new plants in the coming spring time.

An instructional video on identifying calendula can be seen here:

Calendula: A Healing Herb - by learningherbs.com

For extensive information on calendula, check out this great article with stunning pictures, by Juliet Blankenspoor.

Calendula - Sunshine Incarnate - an edible and medicinal flower

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