Awakenings Wellness Center, Portland Oregon

Articles by our Therapists

Herb of the Month - Calendula officinalis

Posted 06/04/09 by Leah Vesta Hansen

History of Calendula officinalis

The word Calendula is derived from the Latin Calens meaning the first day of each month because the Romans claimed they bloomed the first of each month. Christians called it Marygold or Marybud because it bloomed at all of the festivals celebrating the Virgin Mary. Also people believed by constant association with Marygold, they could ward off evil.

Calendula should not be confused with Tagets, also called Marigold. Calendula is also known as the "herb of the sun" because the flowers open in the morning and close in the evening.

There are many stories of Calendula. One is the story of four wood nymphs who fell in love with Apollo, the sun god. The nymphs became so jealous of one another they began neglecting their duties to Apollo's sister, the goddess Diana. She turned them into four dull-white marigolds, which distressed Apollo, but his only recourse was to send down his most brilliant rays to color them gold.

Another story I like is Xochiquetzal, the Aztec love goddess, taught her people the message of Calendula, the petalled book of the cycles of life, of seed to leafy stem, of leafy stem to bud, of bud to flower open to the Sun, of flowers drying petals that were the womb for the seed - to complete the cycle. Offerings of Calendula petals were made to her.

Constituents: flavonol glycosides, triterpene oligoglycosides, oleanane-type triterpene glycosides, saponins, and a sesquiterpene glucoside.

Character: slightly bitter, pungent, drying, gently cooling

Meridian/Organs affected: liver, heart and lungs

Actions: vulnerary that promotes healing of skin; anti-inflammatory, topical anti-bacterial and anti-viral and has anti-genotoxic properties. Relieves muscles spasms, prevents hemorrhaging, detoxifying and heals wounds. There is "limited evidence" that calendula cream or ointment is effective in treating radiation dermatitis.

Uses: cuts, abrasions and burns; bacterial infection of the skin; ulcerations and sores of the mouth, throat or skin; herpes; varicose veins and hemorrhoids; insect stings; bruises and black eye.

Ritual Use: Gender - Hot, Planet - Sun, Element - Fire, Basic Powers - Love, Clairvoyance, Place the flowers under your pillow to induce clairvoyant dreams. A vase of flowers in any room immediately brings a renewed surge of life to everyone in it. Sometimes added to love sachets. Calendula should be gathered at noon, that is when all of her juicy nectar are in her petals. Sun magic, carried into court for positive outcomes in legal matters, prophesy, simple joys. Language of flowers: sacred affection, joy; rememberance, grief.

Uterus Tea This blend tonifies and strengthens the female reproductive system.

2 parts calendula, 1 part nettles, 1 part yarrow,

Prepare as an infusion, using 1 ounce of herbs per quart of water, and let steep overnight. Drink 1 quart per day for 30 to 90 days.

Breast Health Tea This mineral-rich tea nourishes the blood and encourages healthy lymphatic flow.

2 parts calendula, 2 parts red clover, 1 part cleavers, 1 part ladys mantle, Spearmint or peppermint for flavor.

Prepare as an infusion, using 1 ounce of herbs per quart of water, and let steep overnight. Drink 3 to 4 cups per daily.

Babys Bath Herbs This herbal blend makes wonderful soothing and relaxing bath for babies and BIG kids.

2 parts calendula, 2 parts chamomile, 2 parts comfrey leaf, 1 part lavender, 1 part roses,

Mix all the herbs. Place a small handful of the mixture in a cotton bag and toss it in the babies bath water. Use the fragrant herbal bag as a washcloth.

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