Calendula arvensis

Field Marigold – Souci des champs

Calendula arvensis (field Marigold)

Calendula arvensis (field Marigold)

When I was walking the dog a few days ago, I came across several patches of Calendula arvensis (Field Marigold).  The Field Marigold usually flowers in early spring, beginning of January is very early.  It must be the exceptionally mild weather we are having. 
Calendula arvensis is a native to the Mediterranean area.  It is an annual.  It grows on cultivated, fallow or waste ground, roadsides, olive groves, vineyards and open garrigue.  Not more than 20 cm in height, it has oblong to oval leaves, finely toothed.  The flower heads are small, yellow/orange, the disk is of the same colour but can be brown or violet purple.  It is thinly hairy all over.  The flowers are 3 to 4 x smaller than those of their robust cultivated cousin Calendula officinalis (Marigold). 
Oil made with the flower heads of Calendula officinalis (Marigold) as well as Calendula arvensis have been used to treat wounds and skin irritations in the Mediterranean region since the ancient Greeks.

 Calendula oil:

calendula oil

500 ml sunflower or almond oil;  a large handful of fresh flowers.

Leave it standing in the sun for 1 week.  Strain, bottle and label the oil.  The oil can be applied directly on to the skin around the wound, never on the wound itself.   It accelerates the healing process and is anti-inflammatory.
Calendula tea has a soothing effect on an irritated stomach or intestines. The tea is made by pouring 500ml (1 pint) of hot, boiled water (let it cool of for 3 mins after boiling) over 30 grams of dried flowers or 75 grams of fresh flowers.  Let it stand in a covered teapot for 10 minutes.  Strain, drink one cup 3 x a day.

Calendula tea:

marigold petals

500 ml hot, but not boiling water (let it cool for 3 minutes after boiling);  30 grams of dried flowers or 75 grams of fresh flowers.

Put the flowers in a teapot.  Let the boiled water cool for 3 minutes then pour over the flowers.  Leave it for 10 minutes.  Strain, drink one cup 3 x a day.
The flower petals can be used as a substitute for saffron in rice and soup, and infused to give a colour to cheese, butter, milk desserts and cakes.   It is quite attractive to add the petals to salads, they have a slight camphorous flavour.
Calendula should not be taken internally during pregnancy!
Bibliography:  Web – Wikipedia; Encyclopedia of Herbs & their uses –  Deni Bown;  The Herb Society’s Complete Medicinal Herbal –  Penelope Ody;  Thuis in eigen tuin  –  Tilly Van Dijck;  Sauvages et comestible – Marie-Claude Paume;  Mediterranean Wild Flowers – Marjorie Blamey and Christopher Grey-Wilson;  Herbal and Herbalism – Michael Stuart

 

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About seasonalforaging

We are a group of friends who enjoy walking in the countryside in Provence searching for plants and herbs to identify and use.
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