Pot Marigold / Calendula (Jin Zhan Ju)
Pot Marigold / Calendula (Jin Zhan Ju)
Botanical Name: Calendula officinalis
Pot Marigold, also known by its Latin name, calendula, can be used to treat wounds. It is like arnica, but milder and gentler, and therefore can even be used on open wounds. This beautiful flower has a long sacred history in the East and West and is used in religious ceremonies and rituals. It is food and medicine, and a wonderful addition to your garden.
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Western Name: Pot Marigold / Calendula
Also Known As: Calendula, Golds, Ruddes, Mary Gowles, Mary’s Gold, Oculus Christi, Mary Bud
Organs/Systems: Digestive, Skin, Wounds
Key Actions: Stimulant, Diaphoretic, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic, Antiseptic, Anti-inflammatory, Antigenotoxic, Emmenagogue, Astringent, Vulnerary, Sedative, Analgesic, Antimicrobial
Medicinal Uses: Eczema, varicose veins, sores, bed sores, wounds, acne, internal or external surgical wounds, scarring, dry skin, rashes, insect bites, cold sores, chicken pox, bruises, yeast infections, postpartum perineal tears, sunburns, diaper rash, skin inflammation due to radiation therapy, vaginal atrophy, fever, cancer, conjunctivitis, athlete’s foot, candida, ringworm, mouth and throat sores.
Pin Yin: Jin Zhan Ju
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Spleen, Liver, Heart
Key Actions: Moves Blood, Tonifies Blood, Relieves Blood Stagnation, Reduces Inflammation, Clears Toxins, Tonifies the Liver, Promotes Sweating, Expels Wind Heat, Tonifies Yin, Calms the Heart
Medicinal Uses: Increases blood flow to skin healing wounds, varicose veins, and rashes, hemorrhoids, swollen glands, menorrhagia, congestive dysmenorrhea, warts, acne, menopause disorders, estrogen deficiency, jaundice, fibroids, delayed menses, infections with aches and fever, measles, scarlet fever, and smallpox, tidal fevers in the Shao Yang and Shao Yin stages, insomnia, anxiety, night sweats, infections, hepatitis, toothache, earache, eczema, cysts (especially on female reproductive organs), vaginitis, jock itch.
Basic Habitat / Botany:
Marigold (Calendula) is a genus for about 15-20 species. There are four basic species: African, French, Triploids, and Single Marigold each with several sub-types in each of the various varieties. They are annual and perennial herbaceous plants in the daisy Asteraceae family. Pale green oblong leaves that are hairy on both sides with golden orange flowers.
Native to Southwestern Asia, Western Europe, Macaronesia, Egypt, and the Mediterranean. Pot Marigold (Calendula) is now naturalized in most parts of the world. They grow well in ordinary well-drained garden soils and need little attention.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Flower, Herb, Leaf
Flavors/Temps: Neutral, Drying, Bitter, Pungent, Sweet
Caution: Considered safe though not recommended for those who have allergies to members of the Asteraceae family (feverfew, chamomile, or echinacea). Caution during pregnancy as the herb can stimulate the uterus.
Key Constituents: High Flavonoid content, Polysaccharides, Flavonol Glycosides, Triterpene, Saponins, Lycopene, Triterpenoid Saponins, Carotenoids (Carotene, Calendulin, Lycopin), Bitters, Steroids, Resin, Mucilage, Tocopherols, Oleanolic acid glycosides, Essential Oil, Trace Minerals, Potassium chloride, Sulphate, Calcium sulphate
History/Folklore: Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is commonly called pot marigold or English marigold. The name refers to about 20 species of edible flowers from the daisy family. The calendula species are not the same as the flowers of the genus, Tagetes, also commonly known as marigolds.
Only the deep orange-colored variety of calendula is considered to have medicinal value. Pot marigolds are said to bloom during every month of the year. The flowers open from nine in the morning till three in the afternoon (or with the movements of the sun), hence the name “calendula” deriving from the Latin for “little calendar” or “little clock.” This name also signified the start of the new lunar cycle, a time when the flowers were said to be in full bloom. Old English authors called it Golds or Ruddes.
Pot Marigold has been associated with the Virgin Mary and by the 17th century, with Queen Mary. The name “Marys Gold” refers to the flower’s use in many rituals and ceremonies, including the wearing of crowns or garlands in early Catholic events in some countries.
The flowers are sacred in India and have been used to decorate the statues of Hindu deities since ancient times. They are often used as a less expensive dye than saffron (LINK) for creating the highly valued orange-colored fabrics worn by monks. The flowers are dried and used in broths that are said to calm the heart and spirits. They are a common ingredient in German soups and stews, which is where the name “pot marigold” derives from.
They have been accredited with drawing out evil humors from the head and strengthening eyesight. Culpeper said, “They strengthen the heart exceedingly… a little less effectual in the smallpox and measles. The juice of marigold leaves mixed with vinegar, and any hot swelling bathed with it, instantly gives ease.” Infusion of one ounce to a pint of boiling water is given internally in doses of a tablespoon, and externally as a local application. The flower rubbed directly on a bee or wasp sting was said to relieve the pain and swelling. The leaves eaten in a salad have been considered useful in treating scrofula in children. The ointments and lotions made of pot marigold are excellent for treating skin disorders, sprains, and muscle pain.
The flowers were used on the battlefields during the American Civil War as well as in World War I on open wounds to help promote healing. Pot marigold works to promote rapid recovery and tissue repair, helping to heal wounds and bruises quickly, provided they are thoroughly cleansed and there is no infection present.
Pot marigold’s milder and neutral qualities make it more suitable for treating mild infections than the more aggressive pungent, warm, and antibacterial herbs such as garlic (LINK) and myrrh (LINK). Pot marigold is an excellent astringing and decongesting herb that will help treat swellings and blood congestion as well as stop bleeding.
The best time to harvest pot marigolds is in the summer, in the heat of the day when the resins are high and the dew is evaporated. Carefully dry the flowers at low temperatures in order to help keep the flower’s vibrant color. Often planted alongside spinach in the garden where the two types of leaves were often combined and eaten together.
In Ayurvedic medicine, the plant is considered cooling with a bitter and pungent taste. It is used as a vulnerary and antispasmodic, useful for treating bee stings, and as an eye wash. American Indians used the herb to treat upset stomachs.
The color of ornamental fish that are bred in captivity can be intensified by the addition of pot marigold flowers into their diets. It is said that by just looking upon the flowers you could strengthen your eyesight, while a tincture can aid red eyes and cure headaches.
Better than Commercial Ointment
In one small study of about 250 women undergoing radiation after surgery for breast cancer, calendula ointment was found to have better results than a commercial ointment.
Used on Smallpox and Measles
A decoction of pot marigold flowers is used to bring out smallpox and measles, in the same manner as saffron. Pot marigold is often used for children’s diseases as it is safe and effective.
A Yellow Dye
A yellow dye is extracted from pot marigolds by boiling them. The dye can be used to color cheese and puddings, or as a less expensive replacement for saffron for dying cloth.
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