The Flower of Grief

Calendula

Scientific name: Calendula officinalis

Family name: Asteracea

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Botanical Print: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany

Also known as Pot marigold or English/Scotch marigold.

Medicinally it has been used since the 12th century in the Mediterranean. Currently available in Europe, Western Asia, and the United States.


Cultures that used this plant are the ancient Greeks, Romans, Arabic and Indian. These cultures used this plant as an herb, a medicine, and a coloring dye. The deep orange flowers were preferred for medicinal use. Once the flower was fully open, the petals were detached, dried, crushed and prepared for topical use on burns, cuts, and skin inflammations. Also, the leaves were brewed and drank as an herbal infusion to treat digestive issues, ulcers, gallbladder problems, and menstrual cramps. During the middle ages, dried leaves were added to soups to make broth and to add color to cheese. It was also added to salads. Calendula has a high amount of antioxidants flavonoids and carotenoids, which help protect cells from being damaged by free radicals. They also give the flowers their color in order to attract pollinators.

Calendula is different from the ornamental marigolds that are grown in gardens. In the U.S. calendula is primarily used topically. Dried flower petals are made into tinctures and ointments, when applied to a wound, most likely oxygen and blood flow increases which causes new skin cells to form and speed up healing time. However these claims have not been studied but have been deemed safe for human use. Many products that contain calendula are considered safe to use but have insufficient evidence to back up the claims. This includes ear drops for ear infections and dried leaves intended to be ingested in a tea or other methods to treat internal issues. It is also recommended that pregnant women do not ingest it due to the possibility of miscarriage.

References

Belsinger, Susan, et al. (2008). Calendula An Herb Society of America Guide. The Herb Society of America. Kirtland, OH. Retrieved from: http://www.herbsociety.org/factsheets/Calendula%20Guide.pdf

Ehrlich, Steven. (2015, June 22). Calendula. Retrieved from: https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/calendula

Mahr, Susan. (2008, January 7). Calendula, Calendula officinalis. Retrieved from http://wimastergardener.org/?q=Calendula