The Green Goo Herbalist: on Sunshine Incarnate (aka the Benefits of Calendula)
Green Goo Head Herbalist Jen Scott On The Wonders of One of Her Favorite Herbs
Green Goo Co-Founder and Head Herbalist Jen Scott has been studying and growing herbs for 14 years. She’s not only a certified doula and professional midwife, but she also a graduate from the Blue Otter School of Herbal Studies. She attended the Herb PharmInternship program in Williams, Ore. Using the wisdom of traditional herbal medicine, Jen has designed each recipe for Green Goo’s healing salves, soaps, and other products. In this post she talks about the benefits of calendula.
Calendula is one of my most favorite herbs for so many reasons. The color is so vibrant and it is a flower that just keeps on giving. One of my favorite Herbalist’s calls it: “Sunshine Incarnate!” It will flower from spring to frost. Once in our garden there was a storm that covered the ground in snow; and there was Calendula just blooming away. Beautiful!
Plus, the more you pick the flowers of this special plant, the more it keeps on producing—“the forever giving flowers.” I use to grow it 100 percent for all our formulas when we were a smaller company. I still dream of a Calendula field in front of our cabin one day, where we might grow 100 percent of all the flowers we use again.
Back in the day we would all go out in the garden at the peak of the heat (this is when the flowers have the highest medicinal content) and harvest away. Sweat would be dripping from our foreheads and our backs would be hurting from bending over for hours, but the vibrant bursting color of orange would keep our minds happy. We would always leave some flowers for the bugs and butterflies on each plant.
But our most favorite part of harvesting Calendula was that our hands would be covered in the resin (a very medicinal part of the plant) from picking the flowers, and it would smell of the sweet earth. We would then lay them out in baskets and on old screens to dry. We would toss them daily to make sure they evenly dry.
Jen's Favorite Herb Facts...
It has various medicinal uses:
- Topical: heals wounds, burns, rashes, stings, sunburns, abrasions, eczema, acne, psoriasis, chicken pox, yeast infections. Anti-inflammatory to skin, promotes healing of damaged tissues, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial;
- Internal: supports the immune system (immune tonic), tea is good for peptic, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) IBS, swollen lymph nodes, respiratory infection, gargle for sore throats, canker sores, periodontal disease, thrush, sore and bleeding gums. Sluggish menses. Take as a daily tea if you are prone to fungal skin infections.
It’s easy to grow—plant in spring or fall, 10-14 days to germinate, thin to 12 inches apart, will thrive in any soil, full sun or partial shade, pick flowers every two days. It’s an annual, but will keep reseeding itself and will often spread its joy all over your garden.
If you’re buying Calendula, make sure the dried flowers are a bright orange/yellow, as this is an indicator of its freshness and medicinal quality.
Its flower is edible—use it in salads, teas, scrambled eggs, garnish on any dish, whole flowers-soups and stews.
This sweet flower is an energizer—it’s warming and drying, and lifts the spirits.
Calendula is an anti-depressant; it helps relieve grief and sadness, and it helps to promote cheerfulness (especially in the winter with the long dark nights). It’s great mixed with lemon balm and lemon verbena.
Just be careful! Contra-indications: pregnancy and some people have a rare allergic reaction who are sensitive to the Asteracea family.
Currently we use calendula in the following products: First Aid, Animal First Aid, Foot Care, Hand Goo, Baby Balm, Nursing Cream, Face wash, Dry Skin Care, Tattoo Care, Poison Ivy Care, all Southern Butter products, Lip Balms, and Solar Goo.