CALENDULA (Calendula officinalis), also known as Pot Marigold, is a high-resin variety of an ancient herb of the daisy family native to the Mediterranean and dating to at least the 12th Century. (Please note - this should not be confused with Tagetes marigold.) The name derives from the Latin for the first day of the month. Easy to grow and versatile, the bright gold flowers come in quickly and continue throughout the summer and fall. They have a spicy fragrance and are beloved by bees and butterflies.The petals are edible, provided you remove the tiny white portion closest to the center of the flower which is bitter. They are a safe food dye and are sometimes substituted for saffron in coloring rice. The flavor is different from saffron, but quite delicious. Grow it close to your beans, greens, tomatoes, and potatoes to ward off common garden pests. Easy to grow. Annual, half-hardy perennial. 50-55 days. 25 seeds.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: An important, safe and effective medicinal used primarily in external applications for treating insect bites and stings, minor cuts and abrasions in a salve form. Or as a tea to treat gum and tooth infections and bladder infections or stomach ulcers, or gargle for sore throats, or as a sitz bath for genital inflammations or hemorrhoids. Calendula contains high amounts of flavonoids -- antioxidants that protect the body against cell-damaging free radicals. Researchers are still trying to pin down the precise elements of calendula that produce its anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial results, but acknowledge it works! An infusion of calendula flowers will promote sweating, so it is useful for fevers. Note of caution: Calendula is known to affect the menstrual cycle and should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It may also impact fertility temporarily, so couples trying to achieve pregnancy should not use calendula, but it should not be relied upon as a birth control device. Alpha has a high resin content making it even more effective for medicinal purposes. Finally, although no known side effects have been reported, always check with your physician if you are taking any other medications.
GROWING TIPS: Easy to grow. Sow directly in sunny position as soon as soil can be worked in the spring. Thin to 10-12 inches apart.