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A Portrait of Calendula by Blair Butterfield




Botanical Name: Calendula officinalis 

Calendula officinalis is derived from the Latin word "calendae," which means "first day of the month" or "calendar." The specific epithet "officinalis" indicates that the plant has been recognized for its medicinal properties and has been traditionally used in herbal medicine. The name Calendula officinalis was given to the plant by Carl Linnaeus, a renowned Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist who is considered the father of modern taxonomy. Linnaeus classified and named numerous plant species, including Calendula officinalis, based on their characteristics and medicinal uses.



Common names:

Calendula

Pot marigold

English marigold

Garden marigold

Mary's gold

Holligold

Solis sponsa



Origin (native to):

Calendula officinalis, commonly known as the pot marigold, is native to the Mediterranean region. It thrives in the sun-drenched landscapes and mild climates characteristic of this geographical area.


However, due to its adaptability and cultivation by humans over the centuries, calendula has transcended its original boundaries. Today, its range extends far beyond the Mediterranean, and it can be found growing in various parts of the world. The plant has naturalized in numerous regions where it has been introduced, showcasing its resilience and capacity to adapt to diverse environmental conditions.


Calendula is now a familiar sight in gardens, both for its aesthetic appeal and its utility in herbalism and culinary practices. Its global presence attests to its widespread cultivation and popularity as a versatile and beneficial plant. Whether in Mediterranean landscapes or gardens across continents, calendula continues to thrive, leaving its mark on diverse ecosystems.




Elements: Fire

Chakra: Calendula is often associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra.


The Solar Plexus Chakra, also known as Manipura, is believed to be located in the upper abdomen, in the area of the solar plexus. It is associated with personal power, confidence, self-esteem, and the transformative energy of fire. The association of calendula with the Solar Plexus Chakra may be attributed to the following considerations:


Yellow Color: The vibrant yellow and orange colors of calendula flowers align with the color associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra. Yellow is often linked to qualities like confidence, self-worth, and personal empowerment.


Energetic Properties: Calendula is often regarded as a plant with energetic and uplifting properties. These qualities resonate with the transformative and empowering aspects associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra.


Digestive Benefits: The Solar Plexus Chakra is associated with the digestive system, and calendula has historical uses in traditional medicine for addressing digestive issues. This alignment with digestive health further connects calendula to the Solar Plexus Chakra.


Planetary associations: Sun


In the realm of Astro-herbalism, Calendula officinalis is often associated with the radiant energy of the Sun. The bright and sunny hues of calendula's petals, ranging from warm yellows to deep oranges, resonate with the solar vitality and warmth.  As a symbol of life, vitality, and divine energy, the Sun imbues calendula with qualities associated with illumination and positive life force. In astro-herbalism, this plant is considered a solar ally, drawing upon the Sun's energy to provide healing and uplifting properties. It's believed that the influence of the Sun aligns with calendula's historical use in promoting overall well-being and supporting the body's natural healing processes.


As the Sun governs matters of vitality, creativity, and spiritual illumination in astrological and herbal traditions, calendula becomes a conduit for these energies. The plant's connection to the Sun may enhance its therapeutic effects, especially in promoting a sense of joy, positivity, and resilience.


In the cosmic narrative of astro herbalism, Calendula officinalis, with its solar affiliation, becomes not just a botanical entity but a celestial emissary, carrying the energetic blessings of the Sun. As individuals engage with calendula in herbal practices, they may tap into the harmonious dance between this vibrant plant and the celestial energies, experiencing a deeper connection to the cosmic rhythms that weave through the tapestry of nature and human experience.




Spiritual uses:

Calendula is associated with Psychic dreams and can be used in aromatherapy before bed to strengthen health and induce clairvoyant dreaming. 

Pagan and Wiccan Traditions:

  • In some Pagan and Wiccan traditions, calendula is associated with rituals and spells related to love, protection, and enhancing psychic abilities. It is sometimes used in magical practices for these purposes.


Ancient Greek and Roman Traditions:

  • Association with the Sun: Calendula was often associated with the sun, and its radiant yellow and orange petals were seen as symbols of the sun's energy and vitality.

  • Offerings to Gods: In ancient Greek and Roman ceremonies, calendula flowers were offered to gods, signifying their connection to divine energies and the sacred.

  • Symbol of Mary: Calendula earned the nickname "Mary's gold" in medieval Europe, suggesting a connection to the Virgin Mary. The flower was considered sacred and was used in religious ceremonies and rituals.

  • Mexican Folklore:

  • Ritualistic Uses: In Mexican traditions, calendula held significant spiritual value. It was used as an offering in rituals honoring ancestors, symbolizing luck, protection, and healing.

  • Cleansing and Purification: Calendula's petals were used in rituals for spiritual purification, believed to cleanse negative energies and invite positivity and happiness. This extended to bath or tea rituals for spiritual cleansing.

  • Symbol of Healing: Calendula has been considered a symbol of healing, not just on a physical level but also spiritually. Its association with skin healing and soothing qualities contributed to its spiritual significance as a plant of restoration and well-being.

  • Representation of the Divine Feminine: In various mythologies, calendula was associated with the divine feminine. Its nicknames like "marigold" or "Mary's gold" point to connections with female deities and the nurturing aspects of femininity.

  • Cosmic Signature: According to the Doctrine of Signatures, which suggests that plants bear visual clues to their purpose, calendula's vibrant hues are considered a cosmic signature. The radiant colors reflect solar vitality and divine principles, aligning with its spiritual symbolism.

  • Resilience and Adaptability: Calendula's ability to thrive in various conditions and adapt to different environments contributed to its symbolism of resilience. This quality resonates spiritually, symbolizing the ability to overcome challenges and flourish.




Medicine and chemical constituents: 

The plant's flowers, leaves, and extracts have been employed for various therapeutic purposes, and its historical uses provide insights into its diverse medicinal properties.


Historical Medicinal Uses:

  • Ancient Greece and Rome: In ancient Greek and Roman medicine, calendula was highly esteemed for its versatile healing properties. It found applications in addressing a spectrum of health issues, including skin irritations, digestive problems, and menstrual disorders. The ancient healers recognized its potential to soothe and promote well-being.


  • Medieval Europe:During medieval times in Europe, calendula gained popularity as a remedy known for its reputed anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It was often applied topically to wounds and skin irritations. Additionally, it was utilized internally to address digestive complaints, contributing to its status as a versatile herbal remedy.


Modern Herbal Medicine:

  • Skin Conditions: Calendula is widely used in modern herbal medicine, particularly in skincare. Creams, ointments, and salves containing calendula extracts are applied to minor cuts, burns, rashes, and dermatitis. The plant's soothing properties make it a popular choice for promoting skin health and addressing various skin conditions.


  • Anti-Inflammatory and Antimicrobial Effects: Calendula exhibits anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. This makes it a valuable ingredient in herbal preparations designed to manage conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Its ability to reduce inflammation and combat microbial growth contributes to its efficacy in addressing skin-related issues.


  • Wound Healing: Due to its historical association with wound healing, calendula remains a key component in formulations aimed at aiding the recovery of cuts, bruises, and minor injuries. Its properties contribute to the acceleration of the healing process and the prevention of infection.


Bioactive Compounds:

Calendula extracts contain various bioactive compounds, including:

  • Flavonoids: These compounds have antioxidant properties, helping to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.

  • Triterpenoids: Known for their anti-inflammatory effects, triterpenoids contribute to the plant's ability to soothe inflammation and promote healing.




Food

Throughout history and across continents, Calendula officinalis, or the pot marigold, has woven its vibrant petals into a rich tapestry of culinary traditions. Its sunny blossoms and mild flavor have made it a versatile ingredient in various dishes, offering both aesthetic appeal and a touch of herbal essence. Here's a glimpse into the culinary uses of calendula around the world:


Ancient Greece and Rome: In ancient Mediterranean cultures, calendula petals were infused into oils and vinegars, adding a subtle floral and earthy flavor to salads and marinades. The blooms were also used to garnish dishes, creating visually appealing and appetizing presentations.


Medieval Europe: During medieval times, calendula petals found their way into an array of dishes. They were often incorporated into soups, stews, and broths to enhance both the flavor and color of the culinary creations. The petals were also used to impart a gentle aroma to various dishes.


Middle Eastern Cuisine: Calendula has been embraced in Middle Eastern cuisines, where it is utilized to add a pop of color and flavor to salads, rice dishes, and desserts. The petals are sometimes steeped in hot water to create a fragrant infusion for tea or added to sweet pastries.


Indian and South Asian Cooking: In Indian and South Asian culinary traditions, calendula may be used as a garnish for curries or mixed into rice dishes. The petals are valued not only for their subtle flavor but also for their ability to add a vivid golden hue to the cuisine.


Contemporary Global Cuisine: In modern times, calendula continues to be a favorite among chefs exploring diverse culinary landscapes. Its petals are used fresh or dried in salads, soups, and desserts, contributing both a mild herbal flavor and a burst of color. Calendula-infused oils are also popular for drizzling over dishes, providing a unique and aromatic finishing touch.




Economy:

Calendula officinalis has played various economic roles for communities around the world throughout history. Its economic significance spans different regions and time periods, reflecting its versatility and value in diverse contexts:


Medieval Europe: During medieval times, calendula was not only prized for its medicinal properties but also had economic importance. Monasteries and herbalists cultivated calendula for use in herbal remedies, contributing to the economic sustainability of these institutions.


Culinary and Medicinal Trade: As calendula gained popularity for both culinary and medicinal uses, it became a traded commodity. Its vibrant petals were sought after for culinary applications, and dried calendula flowers were traded as an important ingredient for herbal medicine.


Herbal Markets: In regions where herbalism has been integral to traditional healthcare, calendula became a staple in local markets. It was harvested, dried, and sold for various purposes, contributing to the livelihoods of herbalists and communities engaged in the cultivation of medicinal plants.


Crafts and Dyes: Calendula petals, with their vivid colors, were historically used as a natural dye for fabrics. This utilization contributed to local economies involved in textile production and dyeing.


Modern Herbal Products: In contemporary times, calendula is a key ingredient in a wide range of herbal products, including creams, ointments, teas, and essential oils. The production and sale of these products contribute to the herbal supplement and natural health product industries, supporting businesses and livelihoods.


Cultivation and Farming: Calendula cultivation has been a source of income for farmers, especially those involved in organic and herbal farming practices. The demand for calendula in various industries has created economic opportunities for agricultural communities.


Global Trade: As interest in herbal remedies and natural products has grown globally, the demand for calendula has expanded. The plant is traded internationally, contributing to global commerce and economic interactions.


Calendula has played a multifaceted economic role, from local markets in medieval times to its integration into contemporary herbal and natural product industries. Its cultivation, trade, and utilization in various economic sectors have contributed to the economic well-being of communities throughout history and across diverse geographic regions.




Biodiversity support role:

Calendula officinalis, beyond its human-centric roles, serves as a benevolent supporter of various forms of life within the ecological tapestry. This vibrant pot marigold acts as a hub for biodiversity, offering support to several key players in the natural world:


Pollinators: The sunny blooms of calendula attract a multitude of pollinators, including bees and butterflies. These insects play a crucial role in the pollination of plants, fostering biodiversity and supporting the reproduction of numerous flowering species.


Beneficial Insects: Calendula's presence in the garden acts as a magnet for beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and hoverflies. These insects are natural predators of common garden pests, helping to maintain a balanced ecosystem and reduce the need for chemical pesticides.


Soil Health: The deep taproot of calendula contributes to soil health by loosening compacted soil and improving overall soil structure. This enhances water infiltration and nutrient circulation, benefiting neighboring plants and microorganisms in the soil.


Companion Plants: Calendula is renowned for its role as a companion plant in gardens. Its scent can help repel certain pests, protecting neighboring plants from potential harm. This symbiotic relationship promotes a healthier and more resilient garden ecosystem.


In its multifaceted support of pollinators, beneficial insects, soil health, companion plants, and economic ecosystems, calendula stands as a testament to the interconnectedness of life within the natural world.



Endangered Status

Calendula officinalis is not considered endangered or threatened. It is a widely cultivated and popular garden plant known for its bright and vibrant flowers. Calendula is a resilient plant that is easily grown and has naturalized in many regions. It is not currently at risk of extinction or facing significant threats to its population.


Physical description: Encountering the flower is like stumbling upon a burst of sunshine in the natural world. The sight of its vibrant blooms, ranging from warm yellows to deep oranges, has an immediate uplifting effect. A sense of joy and positivity emanates from the cheery blossoms reminiscent of a sunny day. The emotional experience is akin to discovering a small, natural treasure—a momentary respite that invites feelings of warmth, hope, and connection to the simple beauty of nature.


Calendula's petals, arranged delicately in layers, evoke a visual poetry that resonates with the heart. The sheer abundance of blossoms, often clustered together, creates a visual spectacle that can brighten the dullest of moods. The emotional encounter with calendula is like a visual hymn to the wonders of the natural world, where vibrant colors become a language of optimism and life.


Tactile Experience

Running fingers over the velvety softness of its petals offers a gentle, soothing touch. The petals are delicate yet resilient, creating a tactile, comforting, invigorating experience. A certain plushness to the petals invites exploration as if nature extends an invitation to connect intimately. Handling calendula becomes a moment of mindfulness, where the fingers trace the contours of each petal, feeling the subtle textures and appreciating the intricacies of its design. The flower glows up into the ethers and provides illumination, fostering a sense of connection and grounding.


Handling the plant creates a sticky resin all over the fingers, leaving an earthy and bright herbaceous aromatic note. In our wide calendula beds, a coolness of soil underfoot creates a reprieve from the summer heat, and in the fall, the flowers are the sleeping beds of many pollinators. Fuzzy little bumble bee butts peak out of closing flower buds.


Doctrine of signatures

The Doctrine of Signatures, a concept rooted in herbalism, suggests that the appearance of a plant provides clues about its potential uses and properties. Applying this doctrine to Calendula officinalis, reveals confirmation between its visual characteristics and traditional uses:


Radiant Petals and Solar Vitality: The bright and sunny hues of calendula's petals, ranging from yellow to orange, evoke the vibrant colors of the sun. According to the Doctrine of Signatures, this radiant appearance signifies an affinity with solar energy and vitality. In herbal traditions, calendula has indeed been associated with promoting overall well-being, reflecting the solar influence on health and vitality.


Symbolic of Healing and Resilience: Calendula's vibrant blooms often symbolize positivity, joy, and resilience. In the Doctrine of Signatures, the plant's robust and colorful appearance could be interpreted as a signature of its healing potential. Historically, calendula has been used in herbal medicine for its skin-soothing and wound-healing properties, aligning with the idea that its visual characteristics point to its therapeutic qualities.


Floral Resemblance to the Sun: The arrangement of calendula's petals, radiating outward like the rays of the sun, reinforces the connection to solar symbolism. In the Doctrine of Signatures, this arrangement might suggest that calendula holds properties associated with the energy and warmth of the sun. This resonates with its historical uses in promoting skin health and supporting the body's natural healing processes.


Resilient Growth and Adaptability: Calendula's ability to thrive in various environments and climates may be seen as a signature of resilience. In the Doctrine of Signatures, the plant's capacity to adapt and flourish could be interpreted as a clue to its potential to support resilience and adaptation within the human body.






Where to find it


Find it in our plantLust collection of offerings or schedule a consultation, and we will custom formulate a product to meet your needs. Some current offerings with Calendula:








Be well! ~Blair Butterfield

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