8 Household Uses for Calendula

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Photo by iStock; belchonock
Tinctures made with fresh or dried calendula blossoms can reduce inflammation and help digestion.

Calendula officinalisalso known as poet’s marigold or pot marigold, is an herb that delights several senses. Its bright orange flower not only brightens gardens, but has a pleasantly mild flavor that lends itself well to cooking. Its natural antimicrobial, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties also make it excellent for healing wounds, rashes, bee stings and other skin ailments. Here are a few ways this wonder flower lends its powers to your garden, kitchen and medicine cabinet.

1. Bright Broth

One of the earliest uses for calendula was to toss the flower into a soup pot for color and flavor — hence the plant’s common name “pot marigold.” Combine fresh or dried calendula petals with carrots, onion, potato, turnip, celery, mushrooms and tomato with water and salt to create your own colorful and delicious homemade soup base. Visit Broth with Calendula Recipe to get the full recipe.

2. Heal Bruises

Dried calendula can be paired with dried comfrey leaves to make a topical herbal oil and a useful salve that relieves pain from bruises, sprains and strains. Visit Healing Calendula and Comfrey Salve for the recipe.

3. Bye-Bye Big Bites

Herbal lotions and creams that contain calendula have been shown to reduce inflammation and ease itching, making them a great match for chigger bites, bee stings and other common bites. Because of the flower’s mild properties, calendula cream is ideal to use on children. We recommend products such as California Baby or Boiron calendula creams.

4. Gentle Baby Soap

Calendula’s mild, gentle action makes it excellent for soaps and lotions for babies, such as this unscented soap made with calendula-infused olive oil. Get the recipe at Unscented Baby Soap.

5. Lighter Locks

A simple calendula tea can be applied to blonde hair to brighten it. Steep 1/4 cup calendula flowers in 1 cup boiling water overnight; strain, then use directly on your scalp as a final post-shampoo rinse in the shower.

6. Calendula Cornbread

Calendula’s mildly sweet flavor and bright color matches well with several kinds of dishes, including this cornbread recipe. For the best flavor, gather calendula flowers at their peak bloom, separate the petals from the center part of the flower, and use them either fresh or dried. Visit Calendula Cornbread for the recipe.

7. Athlete’s Foot Bath

Calendula’s antifungal properties come to the forefront in this topical powder application for athlete’s foot. Steep 1/4 calendula flowers in 1 quart water for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into a shallow basin large enough to hold both feet. Add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and warm water to cover feet. Let your feet soak in the basin for 15 minutes. Repeat twice daily until symptoms go away.

8. Calendula Tincture

Tinctures made with either fresh or dried calendula blossoms can be added to teas to aid digestion and reduce inflammation, or healing baths to help skin. Fresh calendula flowers should be extracted using 95 percent alcohol (190-proof). Dried flowers can be tinctured using 60 to 80 percent alcohol, which can be achieved by diluting 190-proof alcohol in distilled water. Visit Calendula Tincture for full instructions on making your own extract.