Just this week the meadows around are colored orange for flowering expanses of Calendula … and it’s the perfect time to stock up on flowers and seeds for teas of Sassetta Spa and other preparations to be to take advantage of the many properties of this medicinal plant.
It is an annual plant with characteristic golds yellow-orange color. The name comes from the Latin Calendae, the first day of the month: in fact reaches the maximum of flowering on the first day of each month of the floral period. The Romans called the Marigold “Solsequium” that follows the sun: the flowers open at sunrise, follow him and close again at sunset.
This behavior is reminiscent of what happens with sunflower and passionflower. They too are flowers “eliotrofi” because the sun conditions its behavior.
The Egyptians, who used it against fevers, while the Greeks used it in the treatment of wounds and burns, already knew the plant. Hippocrates and Dioscorides the administered to pregnant women in order to alleviate the pain of childbirth.
However, citations in the use and preparation of recipes based on calendula appear the n all periods of history, emphasizing its effects for the treatment of disorders digestive, such as cancer and as an antidote to the plague. In this regard, Henry VII consumed an infusion of calendula, sorrel, and pimpernel which infection quote.
We find in the wild species arvensis and suffruticosa while officialism is cultivated and is used in herbal medicine and as an ornamental plant. However, given its spread it is not at all strange to find the species officialism feral.
Present in almost all the Mediterranean area, it is located in the wheat fields, the country lanes and vineyards. It prefers clay soils, but also grows in swampy areas long sunny. It survives well in poor soil nutrients.
Cultivation: It is easily cultivable also in geographical areas with rainy and rigid winter temperature. Also resistant to long periods of drought. They ‘an annual plant and seeds are easily available. It is sown in April and May.
How to recognize it
It is a herbaceous plant with stem angular structure, covered with fluff for a good part of its height that the base becomes woody. Its height varies from 20 to 50 cm.
The leaves are sessile, alternate opposite, simple, with smooth edges and are covered with light down. The upper leaves are oblong with a spatula and pale green, while the lower ones are lanceolate.
The inflorescences, yellow-orange and with a diameter between 4 and 7 cm, are collected in solitary heads and terminals. Each capitulum, surrounded by green bracts, consists of tubular flowers placed on a receptacle and surrounded by modified flowers, ligule, which are erroneously considered to be of the petals. Flowering begins in April and May and lasts until late October; however in some areas it can last until late November.
What do you use?
It uses the whole plant: the leaves, the stem, rhizome and roots.
The flowers, in addition to herbal use, are used in the kitchen. Roots and leaves were used in the past to dye fabrics; the roots for a color yellow, leaves for green.
What active ingredients contains?
The chemical compounds that are of importance for its action are located mainly in the flower heads. They are: triterpene glycosides, triterpene alcohols, caroteneidi, flavonoids, coumarins, polysaccharides, calendulosidi, taraxasterolo, chlorogenic acid, resins, mucilage, phenols and essential oil. In the oil, they are found essential chamazulene, quercetin, apigenin and ß-bisabolol. The yellow pigment of the flowers contain lycopene, violaxantine, xanthophylls, beta-carotene.
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Use the healthy
Wound healing, anti-inflammatory (triterpene alcohols and glycosides; these are the real culprits of the calendula to treat.dermatitis), softening, soothing, refreshing, riepitelizzante (carotenoids), antiseptic (phenol) and antimicrobial (favonoidi, saponins), protective and immunostimulant (polysaccharides). Flavonoids also help to maintain blood flow decreasing, thus, the risk of occlusion of the vessels or the onset of inflammation of the vascular tissue. A support to the cardiovascular system is also from saponins that, by absorbing the fats (cholesterol and fatty acids), diminish the availability and therefore the vascular risks. The presence of carotenes and xanthophylls (precursors of vitamin A) have activities antioxidant, i.e. reduce the risks associated with the formation of free radicals. The latter are one of the main causes of destruction of cell structures and tissue and enter into the process of tumor genesis. Precisely for this reason, even if they do not perfectly know the mechanism of action, calendula in the past it has been widely used as a preventive / curative of tumors.
The essential oils contained in the composite flowers have effect on the human; In fact, they regulate the function cardiovascular reducing the heart rate, modulate sweating and act as relaxing the muscles. Also important is the effect of antimicrobial and antifungal.
Cute – On the basis of its properties, calendula is used, topically, in the treatment of eczema, the dermatitis, the itching, the erythema (especially after prolonged exposure to sunlight), minor burns, boils, stings d ‘bugs, contusions, bruises, ulcers and slow-healing wounds, in the treatment of dry skin easily screpolabile or reddening.
Mouth and oral cavity – To use it, always topical and more limited, is in the treatment of stomatitis, mouth ulcers, gingivitis, periodontal disease, parodontitis, tonsillitis and pharyngitis.
systemic activity (or as oral intake) – The calendula shows emmenagogue activities, antispasmodic, choleretic, hypotensive and vasodilator.
In veterinary – It is used for bruises, skin wounds, atopic eczema, sebaceous gland adenomas, insect bites, ulcers, sores, hyperkeratosis of the fingertips.
Working in the kitchen
In the past, calendula has been used as a substitute for saffron; In fact, it gives the food the classic yellowish tint. It is used in dishes cooked in the oven, rice and sauces. Fresh petals can be added to salads, to creams and egg-based dishes.
Honey Calendula – It is an original method to provide the body with significant amounts of both natural substances that stimulate the immune system of both vitamins. To prepare the honey marigold should be paid on 6 tablespoons of flowers a glass (about 200-250 mL) of honey filtrate brought to a temperature of 40 ° C (it is important not to exceed this temperature in order to preserve the function of the active principles contained both in honey is in the flowers). The amalgam, thus obtained, must be poured into a tightly closed vessel that will be stored in a location protected from light. It will leave to rest for 3-4 weeks. After this period of time the amalgam is passed through a sieve and the compound thus filtered is kept in an airtight glass jar. It uses both inland, taking a teaspoon a day, and for skin treatment. In the latter case, it mixes with oils (olive, almond, jojoba) or with a mild soap before treating the affected part.
Use in Agriculture
Calendula is used as ecological fertilizer in that, having roots, which penetrate deeply into the soil, breaks up clods of earth, allowing ventilation of the soil itself. In addition, the plant absorbs the nutrients in depth (thanks to the deep roots), and a dead time, it acts itself as fertilizer. The plant can also be used as pesticide organic to be used in preserving, for example, the cultivation of strawberries and potatoes. This action is due to the presence of essential oils. And it reported in the literature also the use of extracts of calendula to combat the invasion of crops by the spiral Limnea cailliandi.
The plant is not toxic.
Any prepared marigold is well tolerated even in subjects who may have allergies.
Prolonged use has shown no side effects. It ‘still preferable to use both topical and systemic treatment limiting for short periods, as the persistence of symptoms should alert physicians to the overlapping of complications or comorbidities.
From the literature no particular incompatibility with other drugs or homeopathic products.
The use of products containing calendula should be avoided during pregnancy and the lactation period.
In a recent publication it highlights Sarrell as a preparation of natural compounds, also containing calendula, to be effective, in the same way as a composition containing two synthetic anesthetics (Amethocaine and phenazone), in the otitis media in children pain therapy.