Calendulas: Triple Duty Beauties
Gorgeous (and multi-use!) Calendulas
Space is often at a premium in home gardens so the plants you choose should provide more than visual beauty. Try growing Calendulas:
- they produce showy orange or yellow daisy-like flowers
- can be used for herbal medicine, and
- are great for cooking.
Using Calendulas for Cooking
For hundreds of years calendula were primarily known as an herb for the “cooking pot,” hence their nickname: pot marigold.
To use calendula flowers as a spice, crush the dried blossoms to a powder -- they add an intriguing peppery flavor to rice, pasta, or soups.
Known as the “poor man’s saffron,” it lends a gorgeous golden color to foods.
Calendulas as Herbal Medicine
Calendulas have been used historically as herbal medicine
- to reduce inflammation
- as an antibacterial
- speeds the healing of wounds, and
- as a treatment for stomach disorders and indigestion.
Calendula was widely used during the American Civil War to draw out infection.
Calendulas are easy to prepare for herbal and medicinal use:
- Pick the flowers when they’re in full bloom, preferably in the morning when they first open.
- Dry them on a nonmetallic screen.
- Pour a cup of boiling water onto one teaspoon (approximately 5 grams) of the flower and let it steep, covered, for fifteen minutes.
- Strain, and then drink.
- If it is being used to treat a minor wound, sunburn, insect bite, or inflammation, dip a cloth into the cooled tea and press to affected area.
Known for its gentleness, you can dispense it with confidence to children or the elderly. There are no known side effects.
Calendulas in your Home Garden
Calendula officinalis is a hardy annual that beginners can successfully grow. You can find them at a gardening supply store, or your local plant nursery.
Plant them in containers in the spring after all chance of frost is past. They can grow in just about any sort of soil, so long as there is fast drainage.
In milder climates you can plant them in early fall for showy blooms late fall through spring.
You can also find them in subtler colors -- apricot, cream, and soft yellow – check around at your local plant nurseries.
Calendulas are long-lasting cut flowers that make vibrant additions to your floral arrangements.