Calendula, Calendula Officinalis
First named Calendula by the Ancient Romans, observing that the flowers were in bloom on the first day of calends, of every month.
Believed to possess a powerful magic, a 16th century concoction was made with Calendula to assist one to see fairies.
A woman who could not choose between suitors would grind calendula & other flowers to a powder, simmer with honey & wine, cover her body in it, lie down, and repeat 3 times 'St Luke, St Luke, be kind to me. In my dreams let me my true love see'. And in her dreams she would see the man she was to marry.
Calendula is my favorite herb/flowers for skincare use. For starters I've always been drawn to using what grows around me. Much like eating local, I prefer to gather & use the herbs & wild plants that are already happily thriving on my doorstep. Calendula is one of those.
While not exactly 'wild' or 'native' to New Zealand, once you plant Calendula in your garden you will have a never ending supply due to the easily self seeding seed heads. I have Calendula everywhere, and I use it in almost all of my skincare range. It is stunning at this time of year, and even if I pick 100 flowers today, in 2 days there will be 100 more!
Calendula is an awesome skin healer, which promotes wound healing and skin cell regeneration. It's an antiseptic which keeps infection from occurring in injuries. It has astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, and its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activity helps to fight infections. It's used externally to treat bruises, burns, sores and skin ulcers, along with cuts & scrapes.
I have numerous baskets of freshly picked Calendula drying in my herb caravan, to later be infused into organic oils, and hand blended into my botanical skincare.
Of course you can eat Calendula too and the petals are a colorful addition to salads, or makes a lovely infusion, with it's internal anti inflammatory properties.
Note that Calendula is very different to 'Marigold' (Tagetes). The confusion lies in the misuse of common names. Calendula has been called 'Pot Marigold', however it is not a Marigold at all, but a totally different plant.