Herbal Impressions: Calendula

In the last post we talked about Chamomile and its nurturing, sweet, slightly bitter and warming energetics along with the healing properties it provides for whole-plant skincare.

This week, I wanted to share about one of my absolute favorite plants to talk about, write about, and work with whether I'm in the garden or in our formulation studio.

While we tend to think of Calendula as a first aid topical medicine for cuts, burns, and scrapes, which is an element of its brilliance, that's just the beginning of Calendula's magic.

In English folk medicine, Calendula was harvested and dried in the summer to be added to soups and stews in the winter. It was most often used to ward off fever and other illness, which makes sense once we know a bit more about how it affects the immune system.

Calendula clears toxic, damp heat internally, reducing lymph congestion, infection, inflammation, and swelling. In particular, it addresses unresolved lymphatic stagnation in a gentle way, which we could view from a purely physical standpoint as well as explore its association with unresolved emotional experiences that tend to get stuck in our "inner waters" i.e. the lymphatic system. This effect on the lymphatic system is one of the reasons it's so beneficial for the immune system! It not only helps to clear the infection, but it aids in making sure it moves through the body and gotten rid of.

Lastly, while Calendula isn't considered a demulcent (i.e. it moistens dry tissues) in the same way Violet leaf and Irish Moss are, it does contain mucilage as a constituent, which accounts for its wondrous ability to repair tissue. This mucilage, as well as Calendula's resinous essential oil, can be beautifully extracted in a carrier/lipid oil to use to repair, nourish, and revitalize all skin types.

Aromatically soothing, sweet, and mildly floral, the hydrosol of Calendula is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and has incredible skin-healing properties. It clarifies, rejuvenates, and soothes irritated skin conditions like dermatitis and eczema, making it a wonderful facial toner as it hydrates and repairs skin.

Suzanne Catty, author of Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy, recommends using Calendula Hydrosol for treating wounds and cuts, relieve painful acne spots, and even to help ease shingles.

Calendula is ideal for cleansing even the most sensitive skin by encouraging cellular turnover, tissue regeneration, moving stagnant lymph, and improving anti-inflammatory pathways.

This bright, sunny flower is fairly easy to grow outside as long as you get some sun. And homegrown Calendula oil is, without a doubt, the most potent medicine.

Find Calendula in some of our favorite skincare products:

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