Officially known as Calendula officinalis, its a powerful herb that's chocked full of all mother nature has to offer. Its usage is broad in scope and ranges from culinary to skin repair to medicinal benefits. Its easy to grow and the pretty little flowers provide a burst of sunshine in your garden.  Bottom line, this is one little gem you will want to include in your garden and your skin repair/conditioning toolbox.   

SO WHAT IS CALENDULA?                                                                               Simply put its a flowering herb that is often referred to as Pot-Marigold. It s included in the  Daisy-Asteraceae family and originates from the European-Mediterranean region.  Petals that sit upon 1-2 foot stems come in a variety of gorgeous colours from summer yellows to sunset oranges and red to pinky peach shades. Incidentally, any colour will yield the same amazing medicinal properties.  One interesting fact...the more resinous or sticky the variety, the more potent your end product will be. The flowers themselves are mighty little buds of healing power and have strong anti bacterial, anti fungal and                    anti-Inflammatory properties, they also contain antioxidants - known to delay cell damage  

GARDENING WITH CALENDULA                                                                      It's an incredibly easy plant to grow and a perfect choice for novice gardeners.  It grows in zones 3-10 and while considered an annual, it survives year round in zones 9-11. It performs best in rich, well drained soil but tolerates a wide range of soils even the nasty kind. It thrives in full sun but will be ok with some shade. Sow seeds directly from the pack after any chance of frost is gone, and then sit back and wait for your miracle plant to arrive. Here in Eastern Ontario  it blossoms late summer, but will not withstand our harsh winters but, alas all is not lost as it will self seed for the following season .  Harvesting the buds at mid-morning every 3 or 4 days will help to keep the buds regenerating. Simply pinch off the fresh flowers including the green pedestal, which incidentally houses the marvelous and miraculous potency and place single layer on a screen or drying tray in a ventilated, dry, warm place and air dry.  Or, a dehydrator provides for a much faster and less risky method of drying mold free calendula  

CALENDULA USES                                                                                              Whole dried flowers can be infused in your favourite carrier oil or ground and then used in your creams, salves, soaps and body products. Lip Balms are a terrific way to use calendula, it not only protects but moisturizes and heals – one of my best selling products. So go wild and create some fun and interesting body wares. Calendula tea is another way to absorb the plants sheer goodness, so sip away for its mood relaxing benefits.  Culinary-wise the dried plant can be used in soups, stews, cream cheeses, sauces and baking.  And another interesting  tidbit....adding calendula  petals to chicken nests will repel insects – who would have thunk it?  

CALENDULA BENEFITS                                                                                       Minor Wounds and Burns                                                                                     Topically applied, it takes the sting and inflammation out of burns.  For wound repair including insect bites, bruises and blisters, it will cleanse, heal and promote new tissue growth. This one I can vouch for, after burning myself on the oven door and being left with a nasty red painful welt, I applied calendula salve and literally within seconds the pain was swelling scars. Amazzzzzing!                                                                                                Moisturizer Nourisher Protector                                                                              Known to soothe and hydrate dry and itchy skin, it is used to treat eczema, dermatitis, and dandruff.  High in essential fatty acids like linoleic acid,  it allows skin cells to absorb nutrients and hold onto water longer. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants and also one of calendulas compounds that help to protect your skin against free radical damage. Furthermore, calendula is so gentle and mild it can be used by those folks with super skin sensitivity.                                Anti-aging                                                                                                            Calendula is known to slow the development of wrinkles. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties fight off the oxidative stress that occurs within human skin cells and help to protect skins collagen and elastin supply.  The skin hydrating compounds help to plump the skin and make for a tighter and supple skin hence a younger looking skin.  

So, even after our business has been using this plant in our products for several years, I have to admit after writing my first ever blog, I've learned a few things. Personal comments from our customers and my own personal experiences have convinced me that this is a truly remarkable at the top of the class plant.  But the million dollar questions  that I've tooted the broad and sometimes quirky range of benefits that calendula has to offer...have I convinced you to give this breathtakingly beautiful botanical a try?  Sure hope so.  

Stay tuned as more interesting and informative articles are in the making and    on their way.  

Take Care and Stay Safe