The pot marigold (Calendula) deserves to be in our everyday medicine chest because it has really remarkable healing powers. I have been using marigold tincture (calendula tincture), lotion and ointment for many years and learned about it from my grandmother, who praised it to the sky as a skin saving, first aid herb.
The Romans discovered that marigold bloomed on the first day of each month, and, therefore, named it for the calendar thus, the Latin term, Calendula officinalis. Officinalis is the word to indicate official medical abilities as accepted in a pharmacopeia. All the discussion which follows refers to Calendula officinalis, and not to any of the hybrid marigolds.
Eczema Marigold or calendula lotion has been used by many people to help heal painful lesions caused by dry eczema. Here a holistic view is very important; do not tend only to the outer symptoms. Eczema is a problem which often returns when a patient is under stress. To control this health problem, take an intelligent approach to nutrition, utilizing basic vitamin and mineral supplements, add oil to the daily diet this is important and drink lots of cleansing herbal teas and lots of pure water. Use cold water bath therapy.
The Skin Marigold infusion or marigold petal ointment can be used to soothe chapped hands and may be used in infusion form in the baths to reduce body scars, soothe varicose veins, and help control thread veins on the face.
Mood Elevator Culpeper and other seventeenth century herbalists felt that the use of marigold could comfort the spirit. He suggests a chest plaster of marigold steeped in lard, turpentine, and rosin to ease the heart during intense fevers, You can improvise a modern plaster by combining peppermint (menthol and camphor) and marigold ointment as a chest application.water. Use cold water bath therapy.
Inflammation Dip a compress cloth into a strong marigold tea combined with equal parts of apple cider vinegar. Apply it to the inflamed area, and renew it when hot. Wm. Boericke's Materia Medica with Repertory has high praise for this delightful garden flower: "Calendula officinalis is a remarkable healing agent, applied locally fit is) useful for open wounds, parts that will not heal, ulcers, etc. [It] promotes healthy granulations, and rapid healing. [It is] haemostatic after tooth extraction . . . For all wounds, the greatest healing agent. (Emphasis mine.)water. Use cold water bath therapy.
Vaginal Discharges Dr. Boericke also mentions that in aqueous form, calendula can be used as a douche in leukorrhea. Leukorrhea refers to various white discharges. The Merck Manual describes leukorrhea as "A nonbloody vaginal discharge which may occur at any age and affects most women at some time."water. Use cold water bath therapy.
Trichomonas vaginitis, a common discharge, has been known to respond almost immediately to a vinegar douche. On the other hand, a yeast infection responds to another natural material acidophilus. Drink acidophilus milk, or take acidophilus diluted douches. If you are taking an antibiotic for an internal discharge or infection, it is very important to renew your internal digestive and vaginal flora with this simple food substance. It can be obtained at most health food stores. Some yogurt strains have been known to have a similar therapeutic effect on the body. Add diluted calendula tea to either of these douches.
I often use fresh calendula flowers to reduce the pain and swelling of a wasp or bee sting, and I use diluted calenclula tincture for broken skin, bleeding, and wounds; calendula lotion for various kinds of sprains.
Sprains You can use marigold petals steeped in vinegar for knee sprains; or you can make a lotion with milk. Simmer a dozen heads or so of marigolds in 2 cups of milk, steep, strain, and apply.
Bleeding I have read that many homeopathic surgeons used the marigold plant during the Civil War and had much success with the plant, particularly with the expressed juice of Succus calendula (no pun intended). Incidentally, this particular "juice" preparation won't keep unless alcohol is added. All these versions of calendula, particularly tinctures, ointments, and lotions, can be obtained from such national pharmacies as Caswell Massey, Kiehl's, Boericke and Tafel, Luyties, or Weleda. (See the "Resources" section.)
Older Uses of Marigold
Perspiration Marigolds were once used to produce perspiration when on the verge of a dangerous illness, particularly during epidemics of measles and smallpox. Marigold was often used by English country people either in tea form, or as a posset. A posset is a drink made with hot milk, and curdled with either ale or wine. It was sometimes sweetened or spiced.
Henry the VIII Henry the VIII used marigolds in his personal recipe, "Medycyne for The Pestilence." In this he used a handful of marigold, sorrel, burnet, feverfew, and a halfhandful of that old epidemic standby, rue, as well as a few dragons. (No, not real dragons, but snapdragons.) He wrote, "This tea, if it is taken before the pimples do apere, then yt will hele [heal] the syke [sick] person with God's Grace."
For the Heart Another old use of marigold was to "strengthen and comfort the hart..." Any number of seventeenth century herbals report that marigold flowers were sold by the barrel to be added to soups, broths, and conserves. Marigold petals can be added to any salad or soup, fresh from the garden.
To Make a Conserve Conserve is a preserve in which the leaves or flowers are kept intact and whole. Here is a 376 yearold recipe for conserve:
Take the leaves or flowers of such herbs as you will preserve, make them very cleane, afterward, without anie manner of stamping them, put them whole into some vessell wherein you will keep them, cast upon them a sufficient competence of fine sugar made in pouder; and so set them Sunning in the Vessell. Also in this sort, boyle them at a small fire with Sugar so long as till the Sugar becomes as thick as a Syrup, and after put them in a Vessell.
Toothache and Headache Stevens says that marigold was once considered a specific remedy for both headache and toothache to country people in England. The Garden's Labyrinthe (1577) also describes marigold as a toothache aid: "The juice of Marigold petals mixed with vinegar to be rubbed on gums and teeth becomes a soveraigne remedy for the assuaging of the grevious pain of the teeth."
Red Eyes Marigold was once considered an excellent remedy for red eyes.
Garden Insect Repellent All marigolds are excellent aids for "companion planting." They can be planted in many different places in the garden to discourage many insect pests, to repel the asparagus beetle, and to some degree to discourage nematodes and Mexican bean beetles. The nonherb marigolds, dwarf French marigolds (Tagetes patula) and African marigolds (T. erecta), especially have a good reputation for discouraging nematodes.
To Dry the Petals Dry the marigold petals on paper, rather than on screens, as they have a tendency to hold tight to the screen while drying, making it difficult to remove them.
Marigold is available in dried form, as a tincture, pressed juice, ointment, or lotion.