One of my favorite healing herbs I grow at the farm for my salves is Calendula, a truly remarkable medicinal flower. Getting to know the Calendula plant has shown me how much healing we have in the earth and field. Seeing this plant is an immediate emotional and mental boost.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Calendula is one the greatest herbs you can grow in your garden. Beyond the exuberance of its blossoms, within its petals lie unparalleled healing and soothing potential. Its beauty will perk up your garden throughout the summer, but its medicinal qualities will enhance your skin for life.

A member of the daisy family, the Calendula plant is indigenous to southern Europe and now naturalized around the globe. Its beautiful flowers bloom throughout the season and have been used in salves and tinctures since the Middle Ages.

Recent scientific research supports its use for many ailments. Containing high amounts of flavonoids—antioxidants that purportedly protect cells from damage by free radicals—Calendula appears to fight inflammation, viruses and bacteria, and has been shown to help wounds heal faster, possibly by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the affected area, helping the body to grow new tissue. The dried petals of the calendula plant are used in tinctures, salves, ointments, compresses and washes.

Leighs Bees Winter Healing Salve uses her own homegrown Calendula cultivated using organic and biodynamic methods to bring out the essential vitality of this extraordinary plant.

External Use:

Calendula can be used topically to treat skin infections, cuts, punctures, scrapes, burns, chapped or chafed skin or lips, acne, insect bites, eczema, skin ulcers, rashes, varicose veins and hemorrhoids. Calendula has been used to prevent and treat skin inflammation (dermatitis) resulting from radiation therapy in cancer patients, and as a tonic for overexposure to sun. Its wound-healing properties may be attributed to its high content of natural iodine, carotene, and manganese, which promote skin cell regeneration.

Internal Use:

Traditionally, Calendula has been used to treat stomach and intestinal upset and ulcers, to relieve menstrual cramps, and to stimulate the immune system. Calendula flowers are edible and may be added fresh to salads with delightful and healthful effects.

Once you grow this herb it will become a mainstay of your garden. As an added bonus to its beauty and health benefits, Calendula is also a garden pest deterrent. Be sure to grow some this year, and as with all herbs, be sure to grow organically.

For more detailed information on use and growing conditions for Calendula officianalis please visit www.agroliving.com