Thursday, February 7, 2008
Calendula - Herb of the Year
The herb of the year for 2008 is Calendula officinalis. Sometimes called Pot Marigold these cheery plants are not to be confused with French or African Marigolds (Tagetes). My hubby took this photo of the old fashioned single Calendula blossoms. I love it because it shows the differences in the shades of oranges and yellows the plant comes in. This variety of Calendula is the "officinal" variety and the best to use for medicinal purposes. Calendula is probably best known for its skin healing qualities. It is ideal to use in salves or in creams to help with any skin affliction: rash, scrapes, burns, wounds, diaper rash, etc. I simply infuse the dried calendula blossoms in olive oil for 2 weeks and then add a small amount of beeswax to thicken the oil and make a salve. It is also an edible flower that can be used in tea breads or to make pot marigold muffins. When the flowers are dried they maintain that beautiful orange/yellow color and are a colorful addition to pot pourri. The International Herb Association is the organization who selects the herb of the year. The herb chosen needs to have many facets of use such as culinary, medicinal, attractive to bees and butterflies, fragrant and/or insect repelling. Calendula certainly fills the bill.