If there is ever a flower that represents the sun, Calendula is that flower. The bright yellow, orange, pink, and multi-coloured blossom will take your blues away with one look. Not only does the plant bring joy with just a glance, but they also have excellent medicinal properties internally and externally. We’re going to dive into the history, growing tips, folklore, symbolism, and much more of October’s flower of the month.
Like many of the flowers of the month, Calendula officinalis also is steeped in rich history. Dating back to ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians used this herb for a multitude of remedies. From skincare in Egypt to culinary garnishes in Greece, calendula is versatile. Flower garlands for weddings and ceremonies were used in ancient India and are still used today. Calendula is native to the Mediterranean area and parts of Asia.
In the 17th century, famous herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper, described calendula as a flower of the sun. He praised its medicinal abilities as well as its sunny disposition. Currently, the plant has not lost any of its shine. It is still seen as one of the most useful herbs for skin problems (bruises, varicose veins, cuts, eczema, etc.), as well as a potent anti-inflammatory and spasmolytic for muscle tension.
Calendula is now cultivated in Europe, Germany, Eastern Europe and Hungary and is naturalized throughout much of the world.
Another easy grower for your garden, and one you don’t want to miss out on as, again, the medicinal properties are bountiful. Set the worm-like seeds in well-drained moist soil that has direct access to sun. Obviously, the blooms love the sun – You’ll notice why when they pop up.
As an annual, it is easy to collect the seeds and propagate the plants, but if left to their own devices, they will self-seed, and they will self-seed well. We’ve even had the experience of volunteers popping up in gravel! Not a hard one to grow.
If you’d like to keep the florets in full force or are collecting them for medicinal purposes, don’t hesitate to pop off the tops. They will keep blooming all summer long!
Calendula is a symbol of light, sun, and fire, harboring a strong masculine energy. They represent courage, confidence, and respect and are said to bring luck to newlyweds. Since calendula is associated with the sun, this herb is wonderful for those that have a cold or cooler constitution.
Lore of calendula mentions that the herb has a protective quality as it was once put under the bed to prevent robbers from doing their dirty deeds in the middle of the night. In Mexico, the flowers are used to remember loved ones during the Day of the Dead and for funerals and ceremonies.
The name calendula comes from the Roman word kalends, meaning the first of the month. While the flowers do bloom on the first of the month (during the summertime), lucky for us, they also bloom on all the other days as well. 🙂
Use in medicine
Oh, the possibilities! Calendula officinalis florets offer an array of support. Often made into an oil, the flower provides nourishment and protection to the skin. It isn’t called a wound healer for nothing. During the American Civil War, physicians would put calendula petals in the pockets of soldiers to protect them from harm and heal any wounds that may come about.
Along with the vulnerary properties, calendula also has the ability to bring down inflammation. So any cute or wound that has gotten a little red from inflammation, calendula will go in and cool the wound while also providing phytochemicals to heal the wound up. Internally, calendula is also helpful for stomach ulcers or any inflammation in the gut.
Along with the oil, an infusion may be just the thing to provide anti-septic and anti-inflammatory care to the body. A tincture will also bring about the same support.
Calendula flower essence is wonderful for those that need a bit of fire in their soul. One that has fear and anxiety around sexuality and intimacy or fear around being vulnerable is the perfect candidate for this sunny herb’s magic. Like its sunny disposition, calendula has the ability to impart drive and courage in those that work with it.
“The Marigold which goes to bed with the sun, And with him rises, weeping.”
Shakespeare – The Winter’s Tale
If you are feeling low, and anxiety seems overwhelming at times, you may want to consider planting calendula in your garden. Or even trying out some of its medicinal magic. It has a way of planting the sun in your heart and soul and helping you rise to any occasion, with confidence and clarity. Shining bright.