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Calendula officinalis

Calendula's character can be described as slightly bitter, pungent, drying and neither too cooling nor warming but neutral. The part used most often is the yellow or orange petals however; you can utilize the whole flower head.

          Calendula's golden flowers are a favorite amongst herbalist and gardeners alike. In a 12th century materia medica, it states that by simply looking at the plant it will improve eyesight, clear the head, and encourage cheerfulness. In the 16th century herbal by Culpepper, he states that calendula will "strengthen the heart." We don't know if any of this is true, but calendula's bright continence certainly does bring a sense of cheerfulness to the spirit which may in turn affect our heart, head and eyes.

          Calendula's herbal actions are many. It is astringent, which means that it will tighten the skin and organs so that they heal better. It is antiseptic and anti-fungal so you can use it on wounds to keep them clean and heal properly. It can be used as a vulnerary. A vulnerary helps promote tissue rejuvenation where there have been operations, accidents and other causes of wounds.
          You can use calendula for a wide range of skin problems and inflammations such as dry skin, wounds, dry eczema, scalds, and sunburn. Many commercial beauty products are available such as calendula soap, creams, and salves to help with these skin conditions.
          Calendula is known to help ease chicken pox and measles. For this purpose, make a strong infusion by steeping about two ounces of calendula flowers in two quarts of boiling water for 15 minutes. Strain it and then pour the "herbal tea" in the bath water. The ill person can then soak in the healing waters as often as needed.

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