Calendula has been used an herbal remedy and as coloring and flavoring for food in Central and Southern Europe since the 1100s. Commonly known there as marigold, calendula is an annual flower native to the northern Mediterranean countries. It's well known for its skin-soothing properties — this gentle herb is used as an ingredient in all types of skin care preparations, including salves, body washes, creams, ointments and lotions. This two-foot-tall, hardy annual can grow quite bushy, and its large, two- to three-inch flowers (which range from yellow to bright orange in color) are attractive additions to borders. Calendula blooms continuously throughout the winter in warmer climates and throughout the summer in the north. Cooler temperatures and picking the flowers promotes more flowering, while high heat in summer will stress the plant and stop flowering
- Though often called marigold, our calendula (Calendula officinalis L.) should not be confused with garden marigold (of the Tagetes genus).
- The flowers open in the morning and close in the late afternoon; they are of the highest quality when harvested in the morning after the dew has dried.
- The flowers fade quickly when exposed to light and readily absorb moisture, so they should be stored in a dark, airtight container.
- Calendula was named the 2008 International Herb Association Plant of the year, being outstanding in all three categories: medicinal, culinary and decorative.
Directions: For tea, pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 tsp. of calendula, cover and steep 3 to 5 minutes. Strain, serve immediately and enjoy. To make calendula skin care oil, place one cup of calendula flower petals in a non-reactive container such as a glass jar. Cover with one cup of a high quality oil such as extra-virgin olive oil or almond oil, stir well, adding more oil if needed to keep the calendula completely submerged. Stir daily. When the oil takes on the color and aroma of the calendula (about a week), strain out all of the flowers, squeezing them well to remove as much of the oil as possible. Place in a glass jar and let stand for a few days to let any sediment remaining fall to the bottom of the jar. Draw oil off the sediment and store in a tightly sealed glass container. Keep in a cool, dark place. Use the oil as a massage, skin care oil or as a base for salves. Adding a little vitamin E to the finished calendula flower oil will help increase its shelf life.
Flavor Profile: Slightly bitter and somewhat salty
Botanical name: Calendula officinalis L.