THE UNCOMMON MARIGOLD
The cheerful and versatile marigold is so prolific and
so easy to grow that it is sometimes treated like a weed. Don't underestimate it, because it does lovely things for your body,
both inside and out. Those common little calendula flowers contain uncommon properties I won't attempt to list them all. but
for my purposes they contain terpene alkaloids and flavones that kill microbes. This is of great value in a skin cream or
An extract made from marigold petals also helps to regenerate damaged tissue and to soothe roughened
skin. For medicinal purposes, be sure to plant the 'common' marigold (calendula officinalus) rather than the more exotic
South African variety, which has different properties.
Making an extract from marigold petals is a simple
matter. Pick the flowers in the morning when the dew has dried, and spread out on paper or cardboard, in a shady spot, to
dry. When sufficiently dried, remove the yellow petals and store in a glass container.
Take a half cup of grapeseed oil, add about two tablespoons
of dried petals, and store in a covered jar in a dark cupboard for two to three weeks. Shake gently every couple
of days. When time is up, strain off the petals and add to your compost. Use the infused oil as it is or add it to creams
Marigold has been used for hundreds of years as a 'pot' herb. The addition of flowers to a broth is said to 'strengthen and
comfort the hart' (Fuller's Anthologie, 1655). In Holland during the Middle Ages, merchants kept barrels of dried marigold
flowers in their stores, as they were considered a staple ingredient for soups and stews. The petals were widely used to give
a yellow colour to cheese as well.
Tea made from marigolds is good for sore and swollen eyes. Soak cotton pads in the liquid and cover
your eyes while lying down. Later, use the rest of the liquid to splash and bathe your eyes - wonderfully refreshing. I have
also read that fresh marigold flowers rubbed on a bee or wasp sting will take away the pain, but I have not actually tried
Boiling marigold flowers in water yields a yellow liquid that can serve as a final rinse for blonde hair. It conditions the
hair as well as giving it highlights. In the book, Olde English Herbals, by E.S. Rhodes, we read this: 'Of marygolde we
learn that Summe use to make theyr here yellow with the floure of this herbe, not beying contente with the natural colore
which God hath given they.' Obviously the writer was not to happy about the lassies making their own hair dye, but
it is certainly one of the safest I have heard about, as well as one of the cheapest!
All things considered,
the bright-eyed marigold is a bonus for your garden and for your person. The gift is yours to use.