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Marigold - Calendula officinalis

Flowering all summer long, and sometimes in mild winters, with vivid orange flowerheads, similar in structure to daisies. An annual hardy plant growing up to 2 feet high, with fantastic alien-like curved seeds - somewhat resembling a spiky/nobbly cat claw!

calendulaIn the 12th century just looking at the sunny starburst of bright orange petals was considered enough to lift the spirits and encourage cheerfulness, and by the 17th century Marigold was highly regarded as a remedy for smallpox and measles. In folklore, as a symbol of constancy in love, it appeared as a wedding strewing herb and in wedding bouquets and love potions.

In The New Herball (1551), William Turner expressed his disdain with the marigold being used as a treatment to highlight fair hair : “some use it to make their heyre yellow with the floure of this herbe, not beyne content with the natural colour, which God hat gyven them.”

The golden petals make an excellent remedy for inflamed and angry skin and are highly valued in treating a wide range of skin problems - cuts, grazes, boils, infected sores, wounds, eczema, acne, and inflammations. An infusion of marigold petals can be used as a skin rinse for inflamed and irritated skin. As a potent antiseptic it is effective at combatting a wide range of bacterial and fungal infections such as ringworm, thrush and athletes foot. Add a few drops of tea tree essential oil to an infused marigold oil for an effective athletes foot treatment.

A cleansing, detoxifying herb with antiseptic and healing properties which help prevent the spread of infection, speed up the rate of repair and heal damaged tissue - making it useful for burns : submerge the area of the burn in cool water, into which you have added a few teaspoons of marigold tincture.

Marigold is mildly oestrogenic and can be used to reduce period pain and regulate menstrual bleeding. It is also used for treating conjunctivitis and poor eyesight, or tired eyes - an infusion of marigold used as a cool compress makes a calming remedy for troubled eyes.

The infused oil is soothing and healing and can be effectively used to treat nappy rash, cracked and rough skin, varicose veins, breast tenderness and sore nipples. An infusion of the petals can be used as a gargle for mouth ulcers, and a tincture of marigold is suggested by Barbara Griggs as a remedy for toothache : “Soak a small pad of cotton wool in tincture of Marigold and press it to the afflicted tooth or gum. Keep it in place, re-moistening it from time to time, until the aching stops...” [from The GreenWitch]

In Welsh folklore, if the marigold flower did not open before seven, it was considered a prediction that there would be thunder that day, and in Devon and Wiltshire they believed that to pick marigolds meant thunder followed soon.



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