apothecary tips calendula herbal actions May 22, 2024
orange calendula flower

Rather than tell you what you can easily find on the internet, I'm going to share with you some of my personal experiences with calendula (Calendula officinale) and tips and guidance for using it.

Calendula blossoms are sticky and a pain in the butt to harvest because your hands become little globs of glue very quickly. However, it's worth it. Calendula petals are wondrously emollient, meaning they have this Herbal Action that supports skin healing, moisturizing, and tissue support.

(Want to learn about Herbal Actions? Check out my course here.)

I like to combine calendula blossoms with regular marigold blossoms. They're not the same but they have very similar actions on the skin.

Calendula makes a gorgeous yellow or orange oil and salve. For skin-healing salves, it combines well with other first-aid herbs such as yarrow, elder leaf, mint, thyme, lavender, oregano, sage, and comfrey, etc. However, it works well on its own and for years I sold a fabulous Calendula salve using olive oil through my apothecary that was incredibly effective for dry skin, cuts, rashes, poison ivy, and minor wounds. I also made a Calendula-Rose Ointment using coconut oil that was soothing and lovely.

Other emollients include evening primrose, roses, lavender, chickweed, elder flower, and violet flower.

Internally and externally, calendula is known to fight Candida albicans, the bugger that causes yeast infections. For this purpose, you can use Calendula tincture, a water-based rinse, or an oil.

I've sprinkled fresh blossoms and petals into salads, but as I said earlier, they're sticky. I believe it's this sticky quality that alerts us to its potential as a healing aid, especially for skin issues. I've used calendula as a poultice directly on the skin to heal wounds, and it works incredibly well.

It's fairly easy to grow in a long straight row in the garden, or sprinkled around various plants, though it needs lots of sun and good soil. Intermix it with marigold for easy harvest.

For more information on growing and using calendula, purchase Llewellyn's Little Book of Herbs here or for more in-depth formula-making and apothecary guidance, purchase An Herbalist's Guide to Formulary here.

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