Colourful Calendula officinalis
The calendula is a happy, exuberant "almost" perennial herb that is indigenous to the Mediterranean. If you live in colder climates it will grow inside for the colder months and move outdoors when the weather becomes warmer and is usually an annual in these conditions. The above plant I have been enjoying for two years and is much bigger now and is loaded with many blossoms.
I always have a range of staple herbs that I use for: culinary, medicinal, cosmetic and home uses.
So, let me introduce you to calendula and how I use this delightful herb:
Culinary: this is known as the "poor man's" saffron as it brings the beautiful orange tones of "real" saffron to soups, stews, or salads. The flavour is mild and blends well with other herbs and the flowers may be eaten. The distilled color can be added to make your butter more yellow.
Cosmetic: adding the petals to creams adds a wonderful addition to soften the skin and is a wonderful hair rinse for lacklustre locks. The lovely color has been used as a natural hair dye.
Medicinally: topical application to skin conditions in a tincture, balm or oil is very healing and acts as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant. An infusion of the flowers can be a soothing mouthwash for mouth ulcers. It is widely used for skin infections, leg ulcers, and aids the stomach with digestion. During the American Civil War, calendula was used by the doctors to treat open wounds due to its antiseptic properties and healing abilities. And, in Chinese medicine it is known as (jin zhan ju) and is a neutral, drying herb used with skin ailments.
Homes uses: wonderful natural dye; makes a great dried flower for arrangements, and the bright colored petals may be added to potpourri.
For further wonderful information on this amazing plant, please check out: https://botanicalinstitute.org/calendula/