Calendula has been grown as garden plants and as a herb for many years throughout North America and Europe where it is well valued for medicinal properties. The flowers of Calendula officinalis have been used as medicine for centuries, and the herbal remedies based upon calendula has been known for generations.
Calendula - The English Marigold or the Pot Marigold - is also well known for garden use. Sometimes adored - sometimes hated! Nowadays there are several varieties of Calendula - other than the standard 'herbal' Calendula with the rich golden flowers. The plant hybridists have capitalised upon its easy-to-grow nature and dependability, to produce a wide range of hybrids and assortments.
The English Marigold is also available in fully double or semi double flower types. as well as the daintier single flowered daisy flowers of days gone by.
The English Marigold has a natural habitat in the old English Cottage Garden, where it is happy to give a golden glow, year after year and even more happy to be allowed to seed itself wherever.
Today's more formal approach to garden layout, does not allow for such freedom. It is also to be seen in organic gardens - including vegetable gardens, where the open version of the single blooms attract all manner of beneficial pollinating flying insects.
The Pot English Marigold - Calendula - is so easy to grow that there is little to be said about its cultivation. However........
English Marigold can be grown in either sunny or dappled shade conditions, and preferably in poor soils rather than rich loams. The richer soils will persuade it to grow lush foliage at the expense of flower. I could almost say 'treat it as a weed' but that would be an insult to this who cherish this colourful hardy annual.
Propagation of Calendulas is easy from seed (There is no other way!) It can be sown outdoors in its flowering position either in mid Autumn or early spring. The Autumn sown seed will soon emerge as small plants which are happy to see all but the severest of winters through. It can also be sown in a cool glasshouse in early spring, with a light covering of the rough, curled seeds.
Problems with Pot Marigolds - There are a few problems with these plants. Pests are restricted to Aphids. Diseases include Powdery Mildew and rarely Cucumber Mosiac virus. Powdery Mildew can be treated with a preventative spraying or so of general fungicide.
Traditionally, Calendula - the herb - has been used to treat conjunctivitis, eczema, gastritis, minor burns including sunburns, warts, and minor injuries such as sprains and wounds. It has also been used to treat cramps, coughs, and snake bites. Research continues into the healing properties of herbal Calendula.
Calendula flowers have been considered beneficial in reducing inflammation, promoting wound healing, and used as an antiseptic.
As a herb, it has been used to treat a variety of skin diseases, and has been effective in treatment of skin ulcerations. Taken internally as a tea, it has been used for treatment of stomach ulcers, and inflammation.
In the medicinal world, Calendula is now being investigated for its anti-cancer properties. In conjunction with other herbs there has been evidence of success in treating certain cancers, according to the Fedkovich Chernivtsi State University in the Ukraine..
According to the Universitatea de Medicina si Farmacie, Calendula has been effective in treating juvenile acne and dry phthiriasis. Improvement has been seen in as little as 3-4 days of treatment .
As well as being grown as a herb, in Western Australia they have been investigating Calendula for control of the Red-legged earth mite ( Halotydeus destructor). The mite is a major pest of pastures and crops in Australia. In some cases, the crops had better growth and production when Calendulas were planted as a decoy crop. The Calendulas were heavily attacked whilst the damage to crops was less.
A herbal can be made from the flowers growing in the garden. Dry the flower petals and use 1 -2 teaspoons of the petals per 200 ml of water. Pour the boiling water over the petals and allow to steep for 10 - 15 minutes. Strain and drink. It is claimed that 3 cups of tea a day is beneficial.
Unless you are allergic to Calendula, there has been no reported side effects or interactions, but always talk to your doctor before considering using Calendula internally.
Do not use Calendula whilst Pregnant