There are more than 20 species of pot marigold, but only the Calendula officinalis is planted as ornamental and for culinary and medicinal uses. It’s a bushy, long-lived annual with branched stems. The flowers are up to 7 cm (3 in.) across, with yellow to deep orange flowers. In warmer climates, they flower almost all year round.
The pot marigold was used in early Indian and Arabic cultures as well as ancient Greece and Rome. It was used as a colorant for fabrics, foods, and cosmetics. Only the flower petals are used. The bitter-sweet, salty herb stimulates the liver, gall bladder, uterus and soothes the digestive system, supports the heart, and clears infections, especially skin problems. It controls bleeding and is used for healing damaged or irritated tissues. It is frequently used to soothe sunburns, help digestive and menstrual problems. Acne, athlete’s foot, scurf, sore nipples, and nappy rash also benefit from an application of tea or cream made of calendula.
Calendula officinalis is a scientifically examined medicinal herb that contains carotenoids, essential oils, bitters, and saponins.
Petals are used as a substitute for saffron in rice and soups and a tea (infusion) made from the petals is added to cheese, butter, desserts, and cakes and can also be added fresh to summer salads together with rose petals and the little blue borage flowers to make an attractive addition to the table.
Calendula gives a nice yellow/golden dye
The petals can be used to dye natural fabric like wool, cotton, linen, hemp, and silk. Try a little bit of fiber or a small piece of garment for your first trial. First, you bring a pot of water to the boil to which you have added a cup of vinegar or salt. Either works. In this case, they are used as fairly mild “mordants” which means that they open up the fibers a bit so the dye can get into it. A mild mordant will give fresh pastel colors, commercial mordants will give stronger colors.
Submerse the natural fiber or fabric into the vinegar/water solution pressing it down slightly and especially with wool, do not move it around, it might felt. Simmer for about 15 minutes which should be enough to open up the fibers. Let soak until cool. In another pot boil a good quantity of marigold petals (the more you use the stronger the color). Simmer for about 15 minutes and strain into another pot. Squeeze out the fiber or fabric that is waiting in the mordant and place it into the pot with the strong marigold “tea”. Bring to boil again and simmer for another 15 minutes always pressing the fiber or fabric down keeping it submerged in the dye. Check every so often how much color the fabric has taken and when you are satisfied that the fabric has taken up all the color, take the fabric out and hang it up to dry in the shade.
To make this healing and drawing cream you need about 200 g of pork belly fat and calendula petals
Pick a goodly quantity of calendula petals and set them aside in a bowl. Then cut up the pork belly fat as small as possible and on very low heat let the fat simmer away until the “oily” part separates. This takes about 30 to 40 minutes. Now strain the pork fat/oil over the calendula petals, stir until all petals are submerged, and let cool down and “soak” overnight. The next day the pork fat will have hardened and has taken up the healing properties of the plant. Pork fat itself is a good drawing aid.
Warm up the mixture again until fluid and strain off the petals. Fill up a few jars with this healing ointment, put on the lid tightly, and keep in the fridge for a day.
Use calendula ointment for all the above-mentioned skin problems.
“First Aid” for light sunburn
Make a strong tea from the flower petals, let steep and when cool, use as a “lotion” on sunburnt skin. Use cotton or cloth to dab on the cool liquid, don’t rub it in, sunburnt skin is overly sensitive.
There are many more uses for these lovely flower petals and if you have any further recipes on this subject, I would be glad if you left me a comment in the comment box below.