Calendula is reminiscent of the sun with deep golden-yellow or orange petals radiating out from a central yellow core. The flowers actually open and close with the sun. Each petal is slightly serrated, giving the blossom a feeling of delicacy. During the summer I could not find a source for dried calendula, as my trusty resource, Gathering Thyme,in San Anselmo, could not get a supply at that time. I had previously noticed some lovely, lush, green sprouts appearing in an unplanted section of my garden, and sure enough, just when we were in need for the children, the plants started blooming Calendula flowers- talk about magic!
Calendula has been used at least as far back as Egyptian times, in fact, it originated there. It can be used for many ailments (cuts, burns, bruises, diaper rash, cradle cap, insect bites, chapped lips, earaches, bronchitis to name just a few). The Kid’s Herb Book has a suggestion for calendula oil that can be used for earaches: put 2 to 3 drops of oil in the ear, cover with cotton, and place the ear next to a hot water bottle. A salve made of Calendula blossoms is excellent for healing wounds and can stop bleeding. It can also be used on animals- place the salve on the wound and cover!
The beautiful thing about the oil is the golden color. The children filled jars with the dried blossoms, we poured olive oil to the brim, covered and observed as the oil changed to a richly golden yellow-orange. Later it was bottled for each child to take home a small sample. On an ongoing basis we will keep a jar of the oil at school, will drink a tea made from the blossoms and have calendula salve on hand for skin challenges! If you have any planting space or a garden, Calendula is a beautiful, very rewarding plant to grow!