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Plant Profile: Calendula



Plant Profile- Calendula, Calendula officinales


Calendulas glorious flowers epitomize the blazing summer sun in all it's glory. It provides a brilliant boost of color and shape to a garden that lures in pollinators and humans alike. You can't help but smile and feel uplifted when you are in the presence of this plant, it's just the way that she is. The usefulness of this botanical beauty is varied and potent and since she is so easy to grow, it would be a shame not to get to know her by inviting her into your garden and home apothecary.


Garden Care & Harvest: A brilliant companion plant to deter garden pests and maintain soil moister, calendula is utterly simple to grow and is a wonderful herbal medicine and ornamental to grace any garden. Calendula is really not a picky plant in terms of garden care though it does like to be in full sun and well drained soil with moderate to good fertility. I love to put her around the beds at random since she plays so nicely with others and is so low maintenance. Calendula is considered an annual though I have seen her come back in more temperate regions and has a tendency to self sow if her environment encourages her to do so. Saving seeds from this plant has a particularly high success rate and is a great plant to start with if you are interested in seed saving! The blossoms, more specifically the resinous bract as apposed to the petals, are what is prized as medicine. Pick the calendula flowers as they come into full bloom and continue to do so over the growing season to promote vigorous growth. You can feel the sticky resin at of the bract when you pick and truly understand where her medicine comes from. Calendula flowers can be utilized fresh or can be dried in a dark and well ventilated area to be preserved for teas or herbal medicine that requires moisture to be non existent.


Parts Used: Entire flower, the resinous bracts are particularly where the potent medicine is at.


Planetary Ruler: The Sun


Element: Fire


Preparations: Teas, tincture, infused oil, food garnish (petals), baths, poultice, yoni steam


Physical Medicinal Attributes: Calendula is the leading lady when it comes to all manor of skin and wound complaints. Topical use on dry, hot, itchy, swollen, inflamed skin eruptions and wounds can be soothed and healed by this wonderful herb. Its powerful astringent and vulnerary actions aids in drawing wounds together and promoting rapid healing while exerting a level of antimicrobial and anti inflammatory activity to not just promote healing but to prevent infection as well. Calendulas uses on these types of hot and inflamed conditions is not of a superficial nature, it works deep within the tissues and blood to clear away heat and stagnancy from the inside as well as on the outside. It is this dynamic approach that calendula has to wound and skin care that has made her so famous and she has every right to embrace her herbal fame in this regard.

In our modern life, even the most health conscious and careful come in contact with toxic chemicals leached into our food, beauty products, water ways and air. Obviously, bringing a high level of awareness of what we expose ourselves to is of the utmost importance. However, we can turn to certain plants to support our bodies as they sort through the bombardment and encourage a speedy exit to unwanted contaminants. Toxicity can manifest in many forms but is usually accompanied with a sense of dampness, congestion, swelling and a general sense of lethargy as much of our bodies energy is working towards clearing and cleansing. Calendula is a wonderful herb to turn to in supporting the organs of illumination, particularly within the lymph and digestive system. Calendula brings flow to swollen, stagnant and inflamed lymph nodes providing a toning effect within the spaces of our bodies where there are particularly high levels of lymph action (breast, armpits, groin and neck).


Calendula incites a level of detoxification actions within our stomach through it’s bitter properties that engage the liver and promote optimal metabolic function to this vital organ. There is a special energetic quality to calendula in the way that though it is a bitter, which are typically cooling and drying in nature, it exerts a deeply warming and solar energetics within the body. This is especially helpful when supporting the digestive tract as it is exerting it’s healing properties in different ways. As the liver and gall bladder are primed and ready we also have calendulas potent vulnerary and anti-inflammatory prowess at play exerting a soothing and warming effect upon the mucosal lining of the gut. This makes calendula a valuable remedy when working with disorders of the digestion as it’s holistic effect within the digestive tract as well as the supporting organs and systems are so complete.


Calendula is particularly helpful to bring us up to full health after we have undergone cold, flus and various infections that just seem to be lingering in one way or another where we don’t feel like our vibrant selves. It brings warmth and flow into our bodies and it’s particular affinity with the lymphatic system cannon be overstated. The state of our immunity has many factors at play on both the physiological and emotional level. With this in mind, keeping the essential flow and function of the lymphatic system and the blood plays an essential and dynamic roll in maintaining a healthful being. So, as apposed to herbs that have a particular affinity to stimulate or modulate the immune system, calendula has her roll as a supporting act for tonic and holistic immune health.


Calendula is a beautiful addition to formulas that are addressing women's reproductive health. Her warmth, flow and toning effect on the blood provide a wonderful ally to work through congestion to stimulate menses and relieve cyclical pain associated with the menses. When used as a sitz bath, douche or yoni steam, it delivers it’s potent vulnerary, anti inflammatory and anti microbial qualities directly to the mucosal lining and tissues of the vagina to support women with yeast infections, dry and irritated linings as well as soothing the mother who has just given birth.



Spiritual Medicinal Attributes: Calendula blossoms resonate deep within our solar plexus, imbibing this energetic lightness no matter what time of the year we find ourselves in. In casting this light we begin to feel the rays of warmth and hope from the inside out as we feel our spirit become uplifted and our bodies beginning to flow. In this way, calendula is a beautiful ally to turn to when the skies and perhaps our spirit has become a little gray. She helps us to awaken out of lethargy and find inspiration and warmth in the simplicity of daily tasks and conversations. Invite her into the senses through teas, herbal baths and body oiling to connect with her light and loving radiance to uplift the spirit.


In rays and resin,


Sabrina

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