Have you taken your calendula today? Despite the slightly exotic sounding name, the substance in question is none other than the humble, common, yet sunny marigold. As more people turn to nature for their health needs, they discover the advantages of many different plants, including calendula. Calendula can be used to benefit the human body and its surroundings in many different ways.
- One very common, and delicious, way, to use calendula is in salads. The petals are edible and tasty, and since the color of the plant can range from a bright yellow to deep burnt orange, the flower petals add an extra visual punch to your dishes.
- Calendula is very common in homeopathic medicine and aromatherapy. Scientific studies have shown the herb to have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, supporting hundreds of years of traditional use. The plant has a variety of different uses and can be taken or applied in different forms. The essential oil of the plant contains the most beneficial compounds.
- One very common way to use calendula is as a tea, with the petals or leaves being steeped in hot water. This tea has a calming effect on the digestive system and often relieves cramping. Much like chamomile tea, calendula tea brightens light hair, so use any leftovers in the shower as a rinse and emerge with brighter, sunnier strands.
- Many different topical applications contain extract of calendula due to its anti-inflammatory properties. When applied to a wound, a calendula salve often promotes faster healing, and is said to be effective on many different skin conditions, such as eczema or athlete’s foot. If you are a mother and concerned about chemical effects on your baby, a cream containing calendula may be the answer to clearing up cradle cap or diaper rash. The herb also contains salicylic acid, a common treatment for acne.
- Calendula can be a great aid to gardeners as well. Besides their obvious visual attraction, calendula plants have a rather unpleasant odor that tends to repel garden pests, such as insects. Planting marigolds, therefore, is a type of natural pesticide that requires no spraying, reapplication, or toxic chemicals. In addition, if you are working out in the garden and happen to be stung by a bee or wasp, applying calendula flowers directly to the sting eases the pain.
When using natural herbs, they may come in many different forms, such as tinctures, salves, teas, or capsules. Make sure that if you plan to use calendula topically that the form you are using is safe for use on the skin. As always, consult a health-care provider if you plan to begin using calendula, especially if you take medication.
The benefits of calendula are varied, from internal soothing to external healing. Although the marigold, or calendula, may seem commonplace, try some of the treatments associated with it and you will agree that it is a very special plant indeed.