Thursday, March 13, 2014

Using Calendula

My favorite flowers to grow are the ones that are beautiful and useful.

Calendula definitely fits that description. These bright flowers are easy to grow and add a splash of yellow or orange to any herb garden. But their blossoms are more than just pretty. They offer a multitude of health benefits. It's an herb that has been used for centuries in Egypt and Europe.

Calendula is used for diaper rash, minor wounds, skin irritation, scrapes, cuts, acne, bruises, insect bites and stings, dry skin and chapped lips. It has also been been used for conjunctivitis and earaches.

One of the nice things about calendula is its mildness. It's an herb you can choose for children. It's fun for the kids to help harvest too. Think about it. Kids love picking flowers and this is the time it's encouraged. As the flowers blossom you just pick them and dehydrate. In the dry climate of Utah, I just lay them out on the counter for a day, or until they are dried. Or you can put them in a dehydrator on a low setting. That's all it takes. Then I gather them into a jar to save.

How do you use calendula once you've preserved it? This herb can be made into tea, oil infusions, tinctures, balms, eye washes, poultices and more. If you aren't sure how to make these, stayed tuned into my blog. I will be doing posts on all of these in the upcoming weeks.

For now....plant your calendula. In some areas it's getting close enough to spring to soon plant outside. But if you want to give them a nice warm head start, plant inside and transfer them out in a couple weeks. That's my plan.

Have ever planted calendula before? What is your favorite thing to do with calendula?

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