The Power Flower

Calendula oficinalis is not just another pretty face in your garden. This brilliant golden orange flower is an annual herb in the Asteraceae family and has a daisy-like appearance. It is one of our favorite herbs and we could go on and on because it is AMAZING! Here’s just a bit about why it’s at the top of our list of awesome herbs.

Calendula officinalis has been known around the world since ancient times and was very popular with Europeans for its healing abilities. It was the beloved go-to choice for helping with digestive complaints such as aches and ulcers, and for helping to heal everyday skin disorders such as burns, insect bites, bruises, and cuts. It was also used as a yellow/orange dye for food, hair and butter.

If you inquire into your favorite research sites, you will see that today calendula is still a favorite for supporting the healing of a wide range of maladies such as a weak immune system, inflammation, and for inducing menses (therefore avoid ingesting calendula during pregnancy). It possesses antifungal and antimicrobial properties, along with a high amount of antioxidant components. These attributes are why calendula is such a powerhouse for skin and tissue ailments. It is considered a very safe herb (despite some reports of allergies to it) and often used in children’s remedies.

How does calendula do what it does? When we first started learning about herbs, we usually started with, “what is it good for?” But, those of us with a nerdy mind want to dig a little deeper to find how and why.  As we explore the qualities in the herbs, we begin to understand the science and the magic of what they do.

If you make yourself a cup of calendula tea (using both the petals and the underbelly that supports them), you may be reluctant to take more than a few sips as it is quite bitter. Did you know that discerning the tastes of foods and herbs is a clue to the attributes they possess?  When I taste bitter, I know that this herb is likely detoxifying – promoting cleansing of the body by moving out impurities and waste -and is drying and cooling (so indulging in calendula may not be best for cold, dry people. We’ll elaborate on that in a future post). This bitter taste leads me to think it is an herb that supports digestion and liver and gallbladder health. Of course, there is so much more about calendula tea to notice and discover, but this is a very good start!

I like to peruse the list of components of an herb, so for all you science lovers out there, this is for you. Calendula has triterpenes. Triterpenes give it its bitterness and help balance inflammation. Calendula has flavonoids, which are known for inflammation modulating and antioxidant properties to support healthy wound healing. The polysaccharide aspect of calendula assists in immune system support and is soothing to tissues of the body.

At Leelo Rose we are most interested in what herbs do for the skin. We use a lot of calendula in our products because of its skin support properties. Where there is an insult to the skin, calendula comes to the rescue! We blend it with other favorite organic herbs and oils and warm them up over time to create our herb infused oil blends. Then, we adjust our recipes to accommodate everyday booboos, baby bottoms, and irritated skin- and pack them up for you! You will find calendula in our baby products (Bum Butter, Sleepy Butter, Dry Bums Baby Powder) and salves (Better Butter, Lemon Cream Cuticle Butter, Cooling Butter) and our lip balms. We put it in almost everything because it is such an incredible herb.

We hope you enjoy learning about calendula as much as we enjoy sharing our knowledge about it.  Are calendula skin products good for everybody? For most people, yes. They are a safe and wonderful addition to your everyday skin care. Please use common sense and discontinue use and consult your health care provider if you have a significant injury, signs of allergic reaction or infection, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.