CALENDULAS AND SKINCARE
The striking appearance of calendulas would captivate you if you should come across them in a garden. For one thing, they usually stand out from all the other plants. Moreover, they glow like gold in the sunshine as if they have been touched by King Midas.
Popularly known as ‘pot marigold’ or ‘poor man’s saffron’, calendula is a member of the Asteraceae family. As a matter of fact, Calendula officinalis is the scientific name. The Romans gave this plant its name. Of course, the Latin word, kalends or kalendae is the source of the word calendula. This word means the first day of every month in the Roman calendar. So, calendulas blossom at the beginning of most months; you can even see calendulas throughout the year. They also hail from the Mediterranean but now the gardens of most homes all over the world are full of them. Truly, this flower is as old as Methuselah and dates back to Third Century BC. Calendulas usually grow to about two feet in height or three inches in diameter. When they are in bloom, they display beautiful sunny gold flowers almost like small sunflowers.
Calendulas have a rich history. Many early civilisations; namely the Romans, Egyptians, Hindus, Aztecs, Greeks and Persians have had their own experiences with this plant. Some fascinating parts of this history are that ancient Hindus decorated the altars in their temples with calendulas. Besides, during the American Civil War, physicians used calendulas to treat the wounds of soldiers.
‘A jack of all trades’, calendulas are arguably the most versatile plants you can find in the world. They are even more versatile than chamomile.
Most cultures cook with calendulas, using it as a colouring or flavouring for dishes.
In addition, other cultures use it as medicine to treat many ailments like period pain, excessive menstrual bleeding, haemorrhoids, digestive disorders among many.
Furthermore, most people use it for their skin to heal wounds such as minor burns, scrapes and cuts; treat fungal infections on the skin such as diaper rash, thrush, athlete’s foot and eczema; soothe sunburns; help make dry skin smooth and supple and clear up acne, psoriasis, cellulite and varicose veins.
Benefits for the Skin
Indeed, the potency of calendulas lies in their flower heads and petals and the richness of the colours of these. Hence, the more vibrant the colour of their flower heads and petals the more potent they are. Within these parts of this amazing plant is a gold mine of powerful ingredients. These are flavonoids, essential oils, sterols, resins, glycosides and carotenes. Essentially, they are responsible for its antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, astringent, antioxidant and antiviral properties.
In fact, we use calendulas in various forms on our skin and this adds to their versatility. They can be infused into oils such as sunflower, hemp and olive oil and this is good for dry, irritated skin. In an infused oil form, calendulas can be used to make salves, creams, lotions, astringents, after-shaves, scrubs and soaps which are perfect for the skin. In addition, one can apply a cloth compress dipped in tea brewed from calendulas or spray the tea from a container to a wound on the skin to soothe it.
The powder made from ground dried calendula flowers is a key ingredient in many beauty products. Our very own, Soothing Clay Face Mask which contains calendula powder, offers great relief for dry skin and other related conditions.