The calendula is an annual flower native to the northern Mediterranean countries. Its name refers to its tendency to bloom with the calendar, usually once a month or every new moon. The term "marigold" refers to the Virgin Mary, and marigolds are used in Catholic events honoring the Virgin Mary.
The calendula was originally used as food rather than as an herb. It adds flavor and color to cereals, rice, and soups. The petals can be added to salads.
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Calendula, more commonly know as Marigold, is one of the most common herbs and can be found growing in people's homes throughout North America and Europe.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to calendula,especially those who are allergic to other members of the aster family, such as ragweed.
Use calendula tinctures, an extract of the herb, to treat many different ailments. Applications for calendula tinctures include aiding digesting, increasing urination, reducing fever by inducing sweating and relieving stomach aches. Calendula tinctures can be found in health food and herbal remedy stores.
Dry calendula flowers grown in the garden for later use. Remove the flowers from the stem and then remove the pedals. Set them out to dry on a sheet of paper. Store the dried pedals in an air-tight container.
Apply a calendula ointment to treat skin ailments such as cuts, burns, acne and rashes. Crush fresh calendula flowers and combine with olive oil to make a thick liquid. A powder can also be made by combining dried and ground calendula flowers with talc or cornstarch. These ointments and powders can reduce the pain from bee stings.
Try making calendula tea for a spicy drink to aid digestion after large meals. Bring a cup of water to a boil and steep 2 teaspoons of dried calendula flowers in the water. You also can add calendula tinctures to black tea.
Calendula can be used as a cheap substitute for saffron, which is one of the most expensive spices. Dry the flowers and grind them to form a powder. Use the powder in soup, stew and poultry. Ground calendula flowers also offer a yellow or orange color that can color food as well as spice it.
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