Herby Gardens



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Hello and welcome! In the following weeks, I will be posting from my personal materia medica for some of my favorite herbs. For those who don’t know, a materia medica is a collection of your knowledge written in a journal, notebook, binder, index cards, etc. Herbalists build their collection over time as they study and use each herb. Today I am discussing another one of my favorite flowers; calendula (Calendula officinalis). Also called pot marigold, calendula is part of the daisy family (Asteraceae). Calendulas are sometimes confused with marigolds from the Tagetes genus. Calendulas are native to Europe, while Tagetes marigolds, also in the Asteraceae family, are native to Mexico and Latin America. Many plants share common names, so make sure to properly identify all of your botanicals.
open book on a table with tea and potted plant.

History & Folklore

Calendula has a long history as a culinary and medicinal herb. Dried flowers are used in soups to help warm the heart and lift the spirit during the cold winter months. In A Modern Herbal, Mrs. Grieve recounts a quote by the 16th-century author Charles Stevens, “…no broths are well made without dried Marigold” [4]. The whole flowers and petals are a cheery addition to many foods like salads, omelets, and stews. Calendula flowers have vulnerary (wound healing) properties and were a useful tool on the battlefields during the Civil War. Soldiers used them to dress wounds and to stop bleeding [4, 5]. They were also used to treat smallpox, measles, fevers, and jaundice [2, 4].

Calendula has also been used for centuries as a magical herb. The bright orange flowers help bring love and happiness to one’s life and drive away negativity [2]. Her warm energy also helps open the doors between realms to assist with spirit communication [2].

calendula flowers

Medicinal Uses

[1, 3, 4, 5]

Calendula is commonly used as a topical treatment because of its vulnerary, antiseptic, and astringent properties. Poultices, oils, salves, and lotions are excellent for treating eczema, varicose veins, and dry skin. Internally, it helps with the digestive and lymphatic systems. For digestion, calendula’s anti-inflammatory actions aid with gastritis, ulcers, and colitis. It also helps stimulate the lymphatic system to move lymph and strengthen immunity.

Warnings:Calendula may not be safe to take internally during pregnancy. It may also cause allergic reactions in individuals with allergies to other plants in the Asteraceae (daisy) family.

Growing Calendula

Calendula officinalis is native to Europe and can be grown up to zone 2. I live in a zone 5 region and have successfully grown calendula as an annual. In warmer zones, it can be grown as a perennial. The seeds self-sow easily, and they are prolific growers without much work on my part. Calendula prefers rich, well-draining soil free of weeds and in full sun. Harvest every other day to keep blooms growing. If the plant starts to look spent in mid-late summer, cut them back for a fall harvest.

Growing calendula from seed is incredibly easy. I scatter the seeds around my flower beds in early spring, and they start to bloom around May. They continue to bloom all the way up until the first frost in October. They are a stunning addition to any garden and attract all sorts of pollinators, especially beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings.

calendula flowers

Calendula Properties

[1, 3, 4, 5]

Common Name: Calendula, Pot Marigold, English Marigold

Scientific Name: Calendula officinalis

Family: Daisy, Asteraceae

Parts Used: Flowers

Energetics: Warming, Drying, Constricting

Constituents: Resins, Volatile Oils, Flavonoids, Carotenes, Triterpenes, Phytosterols, Mucilage

Actions: Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Astringent, Lymphogogue, Vulnerary, Mild Estrogenic

Organ Systems: Integumentary, Digestive, Immune, Nervous

Preparations: Infusion, Oil, Tincture


[1, 3, 4]

Infusion: 1 tablespoon dried flowers per 8 oz water up to 3x per day

Infused Oil: Equal parts carrier oil with dried whole flowers. Used alone or as base for salves, lotions, or other topical treatments.

Tincture: Fresh flowers (1:2 95%) or dried flowers (1:6 70%) 1-3 droppers full (1 – 3 mL) up to 3 times per day

calendula tincture
Calendula flowers

Related Posts


1.  Chevallier A. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Third. Penguin Random House; 2016.
2.  Diaz J. Plant Witchery. Hay House Inc.; 2020.
3.  Easley T, Horne S. The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicicne-Making Guide. North Atlantic Books; 2016.
4.  Grieve MrsM. A Modern Herbal. Vol 2. Dover Publications; 1931.
5.  Calendula | Encyclopedia.com. Published May 23, 2018. https://www.encyclopedia.com/plants-and-animals/plants/plants/calendula

Hello and welcome! My name is Kate and I am an herbalist and backyard farmer. If you are a beginner herbalist or just looking for information on plants, I write about gardening, natural remedies, and herbalism.




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