Marigold/ Calendula

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[edit] Synonyms

Marigold is also known as Pot Marigold, Garden Marigold, Holigold or Mary Bud. In other languages is is variously called Souci des jardins in French, Ringelblume in German, Calendula in Spanish, Calendola in Italian and Calendula officinalis in Latin.

[edit] History and Provenance

Marigold or calendula is believed to have originated in southern Europe. The origin of the latin name for this flower comes from the word “calends” indicating "calender", "regularity", "predictability", "constancy" and that the plant will be in flower on the first of every month i.e. always.

Since it bloomed easily and regularly it was used in large measure in ancient cultures. The ancient Egyptians used it as a rejuvenating herb and in India it is still the most commonly used flower in worship. The Persians and the Greeks are believed to have used it as a food garnish and flavouring.

[edit] Culinary Uses

The petals, which impart a strong yellow colour were used both as a flavouring agent and as a food colouring in medieval cookery. Originally used to colour cheese, custards and cakes, it is also used today to colour and flavour rice, meat, fish, soups, salads, omelettes, milk dishes, cakes and breads especially sweetened ones. It is also used to colour butter commercially. The taste of the petals is slightly tangy.

The dried petals are available commercially.

[edit] Therapeutic Uses

Calendula/ Marigold is helpful in the treatment of several fungal, bacterial and viral infections.

[edit] Treatment of skin ailments

Marigold has powerful antiseptic and healing properties and is used in traditional medicine and in modern homeopathy to treat infected and damaged skin. It may be applied to skin problems as varied as chapped lips and cracked skin, bruised,ulcerated and wounded skin, varicose veins, sebaceous cysts and bedsores. A tincture of calendula ensures rapid skin healing and calendula may be used as part of an ointment in these cases. It may also be used to treat open wounds.

It is also soothing for cracked nipples from breastfeeding. Since it is non-toxic for the baby, it is especially useful.

A gargle with the diluted tincture helps heal damaged gums after a tooth extraction. The same tincture can also be used to treat vaginal fungal infections. It can be applied to minor burns and wounds and a flower of the plant rubbed on a wasp or bee sting helps heal it.

[edit] An aid to digestion

Marigold leaves and petals infused in hot water are an excellent digestive tonic. It also helps the production of bile in the liver and is therefore an excellent tonic for alcoholics.

[edit] Reduction of Fevers

It causes sweating and is therfore helpful in the reduction of fevers and is helpful in the treatment of jaundice where its ability to reduce fevers as well as its action on the liver are both useful.

[edit] Internal Healing

It is also used in the treatment of internal obstructions and enlarged or inflamed lymphatic nodes. Other ailments that it is used for are varicose veins, haemorrhoids (piles) and anal fissures.

It has been demonstrated that calendula helps in the clotting of blood and helps maintain the strength of the capillaries. It is also useful as a soothing eyewash when treating conjunctivitis.

Internally calendula helps treat ulceration in the digestive tract inclding bleeding ulcers and intestinal bleeding.

Calendula is also an emmenagogue.

[edit] Beauty and Lifestyle

Since is makes for an excellent skin healer and cleanser, calendula may be used as a cosmetic aid. The petals of the flower can be added to lotions and to bath water. It is said to help sun-damaged skin and removing small warts

[edit] Other uses

The dried petals of the flower can be added to potpourri and they may also be boiled in water to make a pale yellow home-made dye.

[edit] References

The Book of Ingredients: Philip Dowell and Adrian Bailey; Penguin/ Mermaid Books 1993

The Complete Book of Herbs; A practical guide to growing and using herbs: Lesley Bremness: Dorling Kindersley 1988

--Radhikab70 02:56, 3 August 2007 (EDT)

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