calendAs always, this edition of weed love was inspired by the plant itself- specifically, a lovely, fiery orange bright spot in my otherwise sleeping garden.

In my research about Calendula, I found that its name is taken from the word “calendar”, since the flowers bloom year-round in all months. So, perhaps the little bit of welcome cheer it gave me should not be surprising!

Calendula is a classic herbalists’ plant, useful for many conditions, gentle in action, easy to grow, and on that wonderful border between medicine and food.

I grow it to make medicines from, but also as a welcome spark in salads and other foods. The bright colour of the yellow and orange flowers show us that they are high in carotenoids, the anti-oxidant pigments also found in carrots, tomatoes, and other colourful foods.

The composition of carotenoids in Calendula varies, with orange varieties having more overall than paler yellow ones. I found this very interesting article about the variances, which has a helpful chart of varieties and their levels, which I’ll be looking at to plan future plantings.

On the medicinal side, Calendula is an excellent immune system booster, as strong as more famous immune tonics such as Reishi or Ginseng. In this action, it’s also very balanced, and does not cause hyper-immunity that might limit its use to short term.

Calendula acts directly against pathogens and infections, but also increases the flow of lymph to help remove the toxic buildup of infections. For this action, it combines very well with Red Root, which is another great herb for removing immune stagnation.

Calendula’s action is especially effective on the mucous membranes throughout the body, from mouth sores and irritation to scratchy throats, down to ulcers and intestinal inflammation.

Our Calendula Essence extracts these healing and restorative properties in an alcohol base, which might not be perfect for all irritated conditions, but which is a good choice for irritations further down that system, to heal and rebuild long-term.

Externally, or for the mouth and throat, a strong tea can be used as a wash for any condition that is red, hot, or inflamed, or where tissue is damaged. For a longer-lasting medicine to keep in your kit, I like Calendula flowers infused into olive or coconut oil, which extract the medicinal constituents very well and add their own healing properties, too.

On the more subtle side, like Red Root, Calendula helps move out all kinds of stagnation, working in an intelligently Mars-like way, fighting what needs to be dealt with, and then letting it go. This balance is about having healthy boundaries, and Calendula’s rich gold colour speaks of preciousness and about protecting what is truly valuable.

Adaptive, not reactive, is the highest state for our immune systems, emotional health, and overall well-being, and the lovely Calendula supports that balance at all levels.

For more articles in my Weed Love series, click here.