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Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Calendula - Edible Flower

Calendulas start flowering as the temperatures cool and continue through until the hottest part of the year. Plant them in sun or shade in moist soil, rich in compost or organic matter. Plants also readily germinate from seed and can be sown in situ where you want to grow them.Some favourite varieties to look out for in both seed packets and punnets are Bronze Beauty, Calypso Mix, Neon and Red Glow.

Calendulas are well known companion plantswith tomatoes and asparagus, as they attract a wide range of pollinators dueto providing nectar over the whole growing season. We also recommend planting them with beans, brassicas, chives, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, pole beans, radish, rosemary, sage, and tomatoes. Calendulas are perfect too for planting with polyanthus, pansies and violas. The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away. Always water plants well before and after planting.

Directions for planting

  • Water plants thoroughly before planting and allow to drain
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the hole
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly

Medicinal benefits

This common garden plant has a long history of use in many cultures. It was valued by European herbalists of the 16th century for ‘comforting the heart and soothing the spirit,’ while the Egyptians believed it had rejuvenating properties, and the Greeks garnished their food with its vibrant golden petals.

As a powerful blood cleanser and healing agent of the skin, this combination makes it extremely valuable in any skin condition. It is one of the best herbs for treating burns, scalds, cuts, abrasions and infections because of its antiseptic and healing qualities. By improving blood flow to the affected area, it can greatly speed up the wound healing. It also helps small blood vessels to seal, stemming bleeding and preventing bruising.It is particularly useful for treating post-operative wounds, and can enhance the repair processes of the body.It can also be used to reduce scars and burns, with topical application on the skin helping in preventing infections at the affected site. It does this by maintaining the normal structure and integrity of the skin and minimizing scar formation.

It is also useful in preventing fungal and bacterial infections of the skin, as it can destroy the microorganisms responsible for causing infections while preventing the complications that can delay the healing of wounds. It does this by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, controlling inflammation at the affected site and ensuring faster healing of injuries. It contains a high content of flavonoids that produce a strong antioxidant effect and protect the damaged tissues against the harmful effects of free radicals. It prevents the worsening of the skin conditions by preventing oxidative damage as well as infections.

It also supports the process of neo-vascularization in the skin, byhelping in the formation of new blood vessels at the injured site. This action allows for an increased supply of oxygen, proteins, and other nutrients needed for the repair processes, helping in a faster bridging of the gap between the edges of the wounds.It also contains hyaluronan, which is a principal constituent of the extracellular matrix in the cells.

Recently, scientific studies have shown that topical applications of Calendula are also useful in the prevention of dermatitis following radiotherapy treatment.

If you are going to use Calendula to treat an existing health condition please consult with your healthcare provider first.