November Birthflower: Chrysanthemum

COMMON NAME: chrysanthemum
GENUS: Chrysanthemum
SPECIES, HYBRIDS, CULTIVARS:
The garden chrysanthemum,
C. morifolium, is a hybrid developed from four species native to Asia. Many cultivars have been developed from this one, differing in size, shape, type of flowering head, growth habit, color, and time of bloom.
FAMILY: Compositae
BLOOMS: Fall
TYPE: perennial
DESCRIPTION: The many classes of chrysanthemum include pompon, quill, spider, brush, thistle, single, in-curve, and spoon. These classes are based on the physical characteristics of the flowering head.
CULTIVATION: Small chrysanthemum plants can be purchased in spring, set in the garden or holding bed throughout the summer, and then put on display beginning in early fall. The plants develop very shallow root systems so they can be transplanted easily in late summer with few problems.
Conscientious pruning during early summer will result in bushy plants with numerous flowers. Pinch back new plants when they are 6 inches tall, and continue to pinch back the flowering stems until ninety days before they bloom.
Chrysanthemums are heavy feeders. They will benefit from weekly applications of a liquid manure or biweekly applications of a quickly soluble fertilizer. Continue to fertilize them until the buds begin to show color.
Chrysanthemums are very ancient plants, as supported by the fact that Confucius wrote of them in 500 B.C. The ancient Chinese botanist T’ao Ming-yang developed many new strains of chrysanthemums so beautiful that people came from great distances to view them. Soon his village became known as Chuh-sien, or the city of chrysanthemums.
Chrysanthemums were always great favorites of the noble class, and in China, up until a relatively short time ago, common folk were not allowed to grow them in their gardens.
Records show that chrysanthemum seeds came to Japan by way of Korea in the fourth century. In A.D. 910 Japan held its first Imperial Chrysanthemum Show and declared this the national flower.
Claire Haughton in her book Green Immigrants tells the following legend of how the chrysanthemum came to Japan: The Empire of Japan was born when a shipload of twelve maidens and twelve young men from China set out to find the “herb of youth,” which kept people eternally young. They carried baskets of chrysanthemums to trade for this herb. After many weeks at sea, their shipwrecked near an uninhabited island. They swam to shore, planted the chrysanthemums, and settled down to build an empire. Japan’s imperial coat of arms shows a sixteen-petaled golden chrysanthemum.
Chrysanthemums were first introduced to Europe in 1688, and their reception there was not enthusiastic. They were essentially ignored for many years by most European gardeners, despite the fact that records from the 1700’s indicate the Dutch were growing at least six species. In 1843 the Royal Horticultural Society sent Robert Fortune to China to obtain the hardy autumn-flowering chrysanthemums, and this seems to have triggered great interest. By the mid-1800’s their popularity had been established. Particularly popular in France were the small, rounded varieties, which were called pompons because of their similarity to the small, wool pompons found on soldier’s hats.
Chrysanthemums were introduced to the United States in 1798, and by 1850 many nurseries were carrying as many as forty varieties. In 1900 the Chrysanthemum Society of America was established, and they staged their first exhibit in 1902 in Chicago.
The genus name is from two descriptive Latin words, meaning “yellow” and “flower.” These flowers make a very good dye.
In the Victorian language of flowers, this plant means cheerfulness and optimism. The Chinese consider it a sign of rest and ease, and the Japanese take it as a sign of long life and happiness. According to the Japanese floral calendar, it is the flower of September. The English calendar claims it for November.
Chrysanthemum petals are quite tasty and are particularly good added to cream soups or various salads {including green, fruit, or chicken}. Blanch the petals for several seconds before using them, but don’t cook them too long as this makes them bitter.
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Welcome October: Calendula, October Birth~flower

COMMON NAME: calendula
GENUS: Calendula
SPECIES, HYBRIDS, CULTIVARS:
C. Officinalis ‘Golden Gem’- dwarf; double; yellow. ‘Pacific Beauty’- double; yellow, orange, apricot; more heat tolerant than other cultivars. ‘Orange Gem’- double; medium orange. ‘Chrysantha’- double; buttercup yellow.
FAMILY: Compositae
BLOOMS: summer and fall
TYPE: annual
DESCRIPTION: Calendulas have light green aromatic leaves and large {up to 4 inches across}, daisy-like flowers that come in shades of yellow and orange. Plants get to be approximately 2 feet tall with a spread of 12 to 15 inches though dwarf varieties that grow only have that size are also available.
CULTIVATION: Calendula performs best in cool weather and is often used as a fall bedding plant. For fall bloom, the seeds should be sown outdoors in mid-June. The seeds, which should be sown 1/4 inch deep, germinate best at temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They need total darkness, so be sure that all the seeds are covered well. The plants need full sun but can tolerate relatively poor soil.
Calendulas are often planted in the herb bed because of their extensive medicinal and culinary value. An ancient recipe using an infusion of calendula blossoms in wine was supposed to “soothe a cold stomach.” Made into a salve, calendula was used to cure toothaches, jaundice, sore eyes, and skin irritations. The flowers were also thought to be good for measles, varicose veins, and ulcers. Gerard, who wrote an English herbal, suggested that a concoction made from the flowers and sugar, taken in the morning, would keep one from trembling. The plant was also thought to draw “evil humour” out of the head, strengthen eyesight, and protect one from poisoning and angry words. The juice, when mixed with vinegar, was used to relieve swelling.
Calendula was used extensively as a medicine during the Civil War and World War 1, when Gertrude Jekyll instigated a campaign to grow and gather calendulas to be used to dress wounds. They were shipped to first-aid stations in France. Even today, the petals, made into an ointment, are good for oily skin.
Calendula was also used as seasoning. The Romans used both leaves and flowers in salads and preserves and as the seasoning for meats. The Saxons were thought to have used the plant in place of salt and pepper. Since that time, the flowers have been used to season broths, wine, and other drinks. The blossoms have also been pickled and candied.
Today calendula is used to garnish meats, in cream soups, and in stuffed eggs. It is also added to egg dishes and fruit bread {pumpkin, banana, and so on} for color and delicate flavor. A delicious egg salad spread can be made with hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and seasonings, including chopped calendula petals. To eat calendula, however, was supposed to make one feel more amorous, see fairies, or be easily induced to sleep.
The flowers were also popular in nosegays and bouquets. In addition to their beauty, the pungent odor of the flowers was said to have been useful in keeping ladies awake during long sermons.
Calendula played more important roles in a church as well. Early Christians put these flowers by the statue of the Virgin Mary and called them “Mary’s gold.” The bright yellow flowers of calendula have been used as decorations for temples and festivals throughout the centuries. Called “herb of the sun,” calendula was considered the most sacred herb of ancient India. Holy men of that country were said to have strung the blossoms into garlands and placed them around the necks of the gods.
Calendula was sometimes called summer’s bride or husbandman’s dial, for the flower head follows the path of the sun throughout the day. This plant is also called pot marigold because it was commonly planted in big pots or flower beds. “The marigold goes to bed with the sun and with him rises weeping” refers to the fact that the flower heads close up during the night and the ray flowers, curved inward, trap dew inside. The genus name is from the Latin word calendae, which means “throughout the months” and refers to the extremely long blooming season that this plant enjoys in optimum growing conditions.
A native of southern Europe, calendula often escapes cultivation in southern California. This flower is the English floral emblem for the month of October.
Because of their stiff stems and large flowers, calendula makes excellent cut flowers and are often grown in the greenhouse during winter months for this purpose. The brightly colored petals make a good dye.

calendula TM

Calendula officinalis

Also, Known As:

  • Bull Flower
  • Butterwort
  • Calendula
  • Cowbloom
  • Death-flower
  • Garden Marigold
  • Golden Flower of Mary
  • Holigold
  • Marigold
  • Marsh Marigold
  • Mary Bud
  • Mary Golde
  • Mary Gowles
  • Pot Marigold
  • Solis Sponsa
  • Solsequia
  • Water Dragon

Since the dawn of civilization, the ligulate florets of the Calendula officinalis L. plant, which is commonly and falsely believed to be the floral “petals”, have been employed in herbal medicine. The calendula was a commonly used herbal plant in the medical system of many ancient civilizations. Calendula is a member of the plant family Asteraceae. This plant is commonly cultivated in gardens as an ornamental herb, being at times known as the pot marigold or the garden marigold in some places. The calendula herb must not be mistaken for plants belonging to the genus Tagetes – which are the true marigolds and very commonly cultivated as garden ornamentals. A variety of ailments were traditionally treated using the calendula, which has one of the longest histories as a herbal medical plant, calendula has often been consumed to treat many different kinds of illnesses, these problems include muscular spasms, persistent fevers, suppression of the menstrual cycle in women, and even in treating cancer of different tissues. The primary use of the plant, however, has always been in the role of a local topical application to boost healing rate on a wound and to prevent the infection of severe wounds on the body. The calendula is prescribed by most modern herbalists in the form of a herbal tincture, as a herbal infusion, or in ointment form – the remedies are used in healing a variety of skin conditions that range from chapped skin to open wounds on the body.

Extensive clinical analysis and many chemical studies on the calendula flowers have been done till date, a lot of these studies have been carried out in Europe, however, not much of the unique or active principles that account for the physiological effects have been identified and no outstanding mystery compounds were found in these studies. On chemical analysis, the calendula flowers were found to contain a volatile oil, many bitter chemical principles, different types of carotenoids, a lot of mucilage, plant resin, all kinds of polysaccharides, plant acids and a variety of alcoholic compounds, different compounds such as the saponins and other glycosides, as well as different kinds of sterols. In many of these general groups of compounds, most of the individual constituents have been identified and chemically analyzed in laboratories. Till the middle of the 1980’s, the chemical active principles that were seen to be responsible for calendula’s reputed anti-inflammatory and wound healing actions remained a mystery, these purported beneficial effects were observed when the calendula was applied locally to the skin or mucous membranes. While the anti-inflammatory effects have been attributed to the presence of the compounds such as the saponins and polysaccharides, these two compounds were completely absent in the lipophilic extracts of the calendula. The anti-inflammatory activity displayed by the herb has recently been shown to be heavily influenced by the faradiol monoester present in the purified triterpenoid fraction of calendula flowers – in a CO 2 extract. The freeze-dried extract of calendula flowers were recently studied and the study indicated that the water-soluble pigments called flavonoids – or some other components – tended to increase the rate of neovascularization in the body and caused deposition of hyaluronan – this compound is a major component of the extracellular matrix, it is often associated with the formation, the alignment, and the migration of capillaries inside the human body. The long traditional use of the herb in healing wounds is supported to some degree by the results of this research and thus, some scientific evidence can confirm the herbal medication’s traditional reputation.

Calendula’s carotenoid pigments have some use as coloring agents in many cosmetic products, and the volatile oil found in the flowers is a very useful ingredient in perfumeries, however, not a single one of the many other chemicals identified in the flowers have any medicinal properties that can be said to be better than other remedies. There are no instances of toxicity from the use of the calendula and the herb is believed to be non-toxic. When the calendula is used in the form of a herbal ointment, it is usually colored and one can easily identify where it has been applied on the body, the color delineates the wound or other skin condition affecting the body clearly. When seen in this light, the ointment of calendula may be considered just as useful as Mercurochrome and equally effective.

Calendula is of the extreme value when used either as a herbal salve or in the form of a dilute tincture when treating any type of external skin, muscle or blood vessel disorders – these can include sundry wounds, all kinds of sores, problems like varicose veins, cramped or pulled muscles, problems like boils, slight to heavy bruises, muscle sprains, problems like athlete’s foot, light burns and frostbite, as well as many other topical complaints.

The results from two important medical studies that were published in the Soviet science journal Vatreshni Bolesti in June of 1981, confirms that the herbal calendula remedy can heal duodenal ulcers, the report also states that calendula remedies are useful in the treatment of inflammation affecting both the stomach and the duodenum, as well as being effective in dealing with intestinal colitis. Duodenal ulcers were treated using an equal mixture of the comfrey root and the calendula, this mixture resulted in healing relief for nineteen patients affected by duodenal ulcers and also alleviated the condition of nineteen other patients afflicted by gastroduodenitis. Each of the patients was given a herbal mixture tea prepared using both the herbs, the tea was made using a tbsp. of each herb and this was boiled in one quart of water, the herbal water was allowed to simmer for five minutes, following by forty minutes of steeping. Two cups of this tea were given to every patient daily and very significant success was seen in the treatment.

The report in the journal also cited results obtained from the second study, where twenty-four patients down with chronic non-specific colitis were given a remedy made from a combination of herbs that was made up of equal parts of the root of the dandelion, the St. John’s wort herb, the lemon balm herb, calendula and fennel seeds. This herbal mixture was prepared as a strong herbal tea. The tea was made by using a tsp. of each herb boiled in one and a half quarts. of water, the herbal water was allowed to steep for an hour. Each of the patients was then given a cup of this herbal tea, three times a day. The brief English abstract of the published medical report states; “As a result of the treatment, the spontaneous and palpable pains along the large intestine disappeared in 95.83% of the patients by the 15th day of their admission to the clinic.” The statement above is concrete evidence that shows the real clinical validity of the benefits to be found in this rather wonderful herb, especially of its success in treating different inflammatory conditions.

The antiseptic and astringent effects of the calendula come in handy in the treatment of many conditions affecting the human body. The herb helps in stimulating the functioning of the immune system and also actively aids the body fight off all kinds of infections including the flu and the herpes viruses among others. Calendula reduces lymphatic congestion and swollen lymph glands. The bactericidal and fungicidal properties of the calendula come in handy in treating infections; the herb is one of the best herbal remedies for the treatment of fungal infections like the thrush. Pelvic and bowel infections have also been treated using the calendula, these include disorders such as enteritis, persistent dysentery, intestinal worms and amoebic infections. The calendula has also been used in the treatment of viral hepatitis. When used as a hot herbal infusion, the calendula herb can stimulate the circulation and bring on increased perspiration, this effect of the herb aids the body in dealing with accumulated toxins and the eruptions in diseases such as measles and chickenpox – the sweating detoxifies the body. The remedies made from the calendula herb are very effective in dealing with disorders affecting the female reproductive system, the herbal remedy aids in regulating the menstruation and helps bring relief from menstrual cramps that affect some women. The calendula also possesses estrogenic effects that aid women during the time of menopause and the same property of the herb also reduces breast congestion in women. The potent astringent property of the calendula aids the body by reducing excessive bleeding and uterine congestion in women. The calendula herb has a long-standing reputation as being beneficial for the treatment of tumors and cysts in the body – though this has not been scientifically proven nor has it been documented. The calendula herb also actively promotes uterine contractions and aids in the delivery of the placenta during the birth of a child. The calendula also makes for a wonderful healing remedy with regard to disorders affecting the digestive tract, in the case of disorders such as gastritis and peptic ulcers, as well as in the treatment of inflammation and irritations along the lining of the stomach and the bowels. The herbal remedies made from the calendula also stops diarrhea and halts bleeding in the body. The calendula also helps the body to rapidly eliminate toxins as it boosts the functioning of the liver. As a herbal remedy, the calendula has a great reputation as a first aid herbal remedy for treating all kinds of cuts and bruises, as well as abrasions on the skin. It is also considered to be an ideal herbal antiseptic healer for treating all kinds of sores and ulcers affecting a person.

Plant Part Used:

Flower head.

Antiseptic Herbal Use:

The calendula is a potent antiseptic herb. Several of the active chemical constituents found in the herb are fungicidal or mycotic toxins – especially the resins, in addition, these compounds are also bactericidal and anti-viral agents. The astringent quality of the herb also has a beneficial effect on the functioning of the capillaries, this property of the herb accounts for the effectiveness of the herb in the treatment of cuts, physical wounds, varicose veins, and various other inflammatory disorders that affect the human body.
The most beneficial actions of the calendula herb are for its positive effects on the skin, the herb is a very good remedy for all types of skin complaints. Calendula is a very effective herb for the treatment of most minor skin problems induced by different factors. The remedy made from the calendula can be employed to treat cuts, scrapes, and different kinds of minor wounds; it is excellent for alleviating reddened and inflamed skin. It is an excellent remedy for minor burns and for problems such as sunburn. It is a good remedy for acne and for the treatment of rashes. All types of infections caused by fungi including ringworm, the athlete’s foot, and thrush can be treated using the calendula. In addition, the calendula is excellent for treating diaper rash and cradle cap in infants. The herb also soothes nipples that are sore from prolonged breastfeeding sessions.
When the calendula remedy is consumed as the herbal infusion or in tincture form, the herb helps fight off all sorts of inflammatory problems affecting the digestive system, including problems such as gastritis, chronic peptic ulcers, regional ileitis, and colitis. The herb brings relief from these problems when used therapeutically over the long term.
The detoxification power of the calendula has been recognized for a long time in the herbal community. Calendula helps in treating the toxicity in the body, which is the reason for so many fevers and infections; it actively aids in the detoxification of the body and is a good remedy for the treatment of systemic skin disorders, including chronic problems such as eczema and acne. Due to its ability to detoxify the body, the calendula helps cleanse the liver and gallbladder of accumulated toxins, and a remedy made from the calendula can be employed for the treatment of problems affecting these two vital organs in the body. The mild estrogen-like action possesses by the calendula is often employed in treatment strategies that are directed at lowering menstrual pain and in order to help in the regulation of bleeding during normal menstruation in women. Calendula infusion can be used as an effective douche for treating yeast infections in the vaginal cavity.

OTHER MEDICAL USES
  • Homeopathy
  • Abscess
  • Breast tenderness
  • Wrinkles
CULINARY USES

The calendula is used in the preparation of many culinary dishes. The addition of fresh and tender calendula leaves to salads and raw vegetable mixtures is an excellent idea. The chopped or whole petals of freshly plucked calendula flowers can also be added to tossed salads to improve the taste.
Calendula floral petals can be used in fresh, dried, or powdered form to impart color and to bring a subtle bittersweet flavor to different foods, including different kinds of seafoods, to chowders and soups, to flavor stews and rice, to add flavor to roast meats and vegetable dishes, or to spice up chicken dishes.
The floral petals of the calendula can be prepared into a flavoring liquid. To make this, the petals of freshly plucked flowers can be chopped and bruised; these should then be soaked in milk or water and left for some time. Once they have been soaked for some time, the gold colored liquid can be strained and used as required in any dish.
The calendula can act as a substitute in any recipe requiring the use of saffron flowers. Calendula is cheap compared to saffron, the color imparted to the food is of a similar vibrant hue, and however, the flavor imparted to the food is different and equally delicious.
At a commercial level, the flowers of the calendula are employed in coloring poultry products, to color butter and cheese, and as a flavor for ice creams, different soft drinks, baked goods, as well as candy and other condiments.

CRAFT USES

Calendula is also used in floral displays, the pretty calendula flowers can be included in fresh floral bouquets and arrangements during the summer. The fragrant smelling calendula floral heads and the dried aromatic petals can be included in potpourris and incenses.

Habitat Of Calendula:

calendula tall

The calendula is an indigenous plant species of the southern European region. These days, it is cultivated in many temperate regions of the world for use in many processes and is naturalized in temperate North America and Asia.
Ideal soil profiles for the growth of the calendula are light to sandy and moderately rich soils. The soil must be fairly moist with a good drainage without waterlogging. The calendula tolerates a pH range from an acidic 4.5 to a very alkaline 8.3.
For best growth, the calendula prefers sites with full exposure to sunlight, though the plant will tolerate light shade.
The calendula is very easily grown from stored seed. The seeds of the calendula can be sown in the garden on the advent of spring, only when all danger of late frost has disappeared. The calendula seeds can be planted to a depth of six mm or a quarter inch deep in the soil. The seedlings of the calendula normally emerge from the soil in eight to twelve days time.

Once they germinate, calendula seedlings must not be subjected to transplantation, as this procedure mostly results in the wilting and death of the large succulent leaves. When the seedlings emerge, they can be thinned out so that forty to fifty cm-16 to 20 inches of space exist between each of the plants. This spacing will result in optimum utilization of space by the growing plants. When the calendula plants are growing, the side branches must be pruned away from time to time to encourage taller growth and to induce larger blooms in the plants. To keep the plants in full bloom throughout the summer, the dead flower heads must be removed from each plant from time to time. These measures will ensure that the plants grow at an optimal rate and produce the best flowers. Calendula plants will self-sow if they are left undisturbed at a site where they are growing. The calendula is normally free of plant pests and resistant to disease.
The calendula can be placed in pots for keeping inside the house in midsummer. Plants must be brought indoors several days in advance before the estimated coming off the first frosts in the fall. When calendula plants are placed indoors, the plants will need a minimum of five hours exposure to direct sunlight daily, which can be substituted by twelve hours of exposure to strong artificial light a day. As root rot can result from excess water, plants must not be watered too often. Ideally, the soil in the pot must be kept moderately moist at all times.

Constituents:

Calendula contains saponins, flavonoids mucilage, essential oil, bitter principle, resin, steroidal compounds.

Herbal Teas, Tincture:

calendula tea

Herbal calendula tea can be prepared by steeping one to two teaspoons of the flowers in two hundred ml of boiling water; the pot must be covered for ten to fifteen minutes to allow the herb to infuse into the water. Once this is done, the decoction can be strained, cooled and then drunk as and when needed. Generally, a minimum of three cups of the herbal calendula tea must be consumed every day to get the beneficial effects. Calendula herbal tincture must be used thrice a day in a similar manner to the tea, a single dose of the tincture can be one to two ml. Calendula herbal tincture can be consumed mixed in water or in ordinary tea. Skin complaints of all kinds can be treated using the prepared ointments of the calendula; these remedies are often effective in treating disorders affecting the skin. Skin complaints can also be treated using wet dressings made by dipping a cloth into the cooled herbal calendula tea. Due to the necessity of maintaining an absolutely sterile condition, using the infusion of calendula as a home remedy for treating eye conditions is not recommended.

Possible Side Effects and Precautions:

As a culinary herb, the calendula is considered to be one of the safest herbs around. At the same time, a person can react badly to the calendula, for example, a person who has an allergic reaction to pollen of any plant species belonging to the daisy family of plants, like the ragweed, may experience an allergic reaction to the calendula as well, though the chances of this occurring are rare.
Being considered safe and moderately therapeutic, the calendula herb is very often used in preparing homemade skin remedies, which are used in treating a variety of skin complaints. Though quite rare, there are occasions when some individuals develop an allergic reaction to the calendula as a result of frequent use of the herbal calendula skin remedy.
The menstrual cycle is traditionally believed to be influenced by calendula herb. Due to these concerns, some authorities on herbs suggest that calendula must not be consumed by pregnant women and nursing mothers, however, no evidence of harm from the use of calendula in these women exist.

How Calendula Works:

A major property possessed by the calendula is an antiseptic action. Due to this strong antiseptic effect, the calendula is particularly valuable for external complaints and is used as a herbal healer of wounds to heal problems like cuts and scrapes, and minor wounds on the body. When consumed, the calendula acts from the inside and has a beneficial effect leading to the alleviation of many external skin disorders including chronic eczema, acne, and psoriasis. The fungicidal action of the calendula is also well known, and the herb helps in dealing with external problems like athlete’s foot and is a good remedy for fungal-induced disorders inside the body including problems like Candida – thrush, it is also helpful in dealing with diaper rash that affects infants. Calendula remedies are also useful in treating problems affecting the cardiovascular system internally and externally, it makes an excellent remedy for dealing with problems like the varicose veins. The calendula herb is also excellent for treating problem affecting the digestive system, especially in treating all kinds of ulcerative conditions and various digestion related disorders. The herb is also an excellent liver tonic, promoting the functioning of the liver. The beneficial effects of the calendula also extend to the functioning of the human reproductive system in women; the herb brings relief from menstrual symptoms and alleviates pain related to menstrual disorders. The potent bactericidal and antiviral properties of the herb come in handy when dealing with all types of infections in the human body.

calendula-oil-760x428Applications:

Petals:
INFUSION – The herbal infusion of calendula can be used in the treatment of complaints associated with menopause, it can be used to bring relief from pain during the menstrual cycle, and it can also be used to treat gastritis and to alleviate the inflammation affecting the oesophagal region.
TINCTURE – The herbal calendula tincture can be used in the treatment of stagnant liver problems, such disorders include a sluggish digestion. This remedy can be employed for treating all types of menstrual disorders affecting women, especially those connected to irregular or painful menstruation.
COMPRESS – The infusion of the calendula can be used in an herbal compress, where an application of a pad soaked in the infusion on the skin can treat wounds that are slow in healing. This herbal compress can also be used to treat varicose ulcers on the body.
MOUTHWASH – The herbal calendula infusion is also an excellent remedy for the treatment of mouth ulcers and to treat chronic gum disease.
CREAM – The herbal cream of the calendula can be applied on the skin for any disorder that involves inflammation of the skin or the drying out of the skin. This calendula cream can be used in the treatment of wounds, to treat dry eczema, to treat sore nipples in breastfeeding women, as well as to treat scalds, and sunburnt skin.
INFUSED OIL – The infused herbal oil of the calendula can be used in the treatment of problems such as chilblains, to treat hemorrhoids, and to treat broken capillaries inside the body.
Essential oil:
SUPPOSITORIES – The essential oil of the calendula is employed in vaginal suppositories, these can have about two to five drops each of the calendula and the tea tree oils. The suppository must be used once or twice daily, for the treatment of vaginal yeast infections and related problems affecting the vaginal cavity.
OIL – To alleviate nervous anxiety or depression, add five to ten drops of the oil in bath water and bathe daily or as long as necessary.

Harvesting Calendula:

Only the tender and young leaves must be picked and only freshly plucked leaves must be used to prepare remedies.
As for the calendula flowers to be used fresh or dried for later use, the floral petals must be collected only from flowers that have just opened. When fresh flowers are to be used in culinary or medical preparations, the first thing to do is to pluck the petals from the flowers in one clean action, the white or pale green “heels,” on the flowers that have a somewhat bitter taste must then be cut off, the freed petals can then be washed gently in water, and then dried well using tissues. One more way to do this is to wash the collected flowers initially; followed by the plucking out of individual petals, and lastly, a drying session using paper towels to pat dry the wet petals. Once the petals have been washed, they can be stored wrapped in plastic bags in the refrigerator for use as and when they are needed.
After harvesting, the calendula flowers that need to be dried can be spread thinly on screens inside a dark, warm and well-ventilated site. If the air flow is poor while the petals are being dried, they tend to lose their color and flavor, therefore, proper ventilation in the site is a must for drying the flowers. While they are being dried, the flowers must frequently be turned till they become crisp to the touch. Separate the petals from the flowers once they become dry and then store these in an airtight container for use as and when needed. Due to the fact that the dried calendula petals tend to absorb moisture, they must be absolutely dry before storage – moisture can destroy the dried flowers. When preparing remedies from the dried petals, one way to use them is to ground them well and to use the powder to make the herbal remedy.

Aster: September Birthflower

COMMON NAME: aster
GENUS: Aster
SPECIES, HYBRIDS, CULTIVARS:
Most hybrids were developed from A. Novae-belgii and A. Novae-angliae.
‘Eventide’- purple; 4 to 5 feet tall; from A. Novae-belgii, ‘Harrington’s Pink’- light pink; 5 feet tall; from A. Novae-angliae. Dwarf forms also available.
FAMILY: Compositae
BLOOMS: Fall
TYPE: annuals and perennials
DESCRIPTION: Small daisy-like flowers come in shades of pink, purple, and red. Yellow centers contrast beautifully with the colored ray flowers. Taller varieties grow to be 36 to 56 inches tall. Dwarf varieties grow as short as 8 inches.
CULTIVATION: Plants should be divided in very early spring and replanted immediately. Native species come very easily from seed but might not stay true to the color of the parent plant. Asters are adaptable to varying environmental conditions but perform best with full sun and ample moisture.
Asters are ancient wildflowers that were considered sacred to Greek and Roman deities. Two myths told of the origin of the aster. The first said that Virgo scattered stardust on the earth, and fields bloomed with asters. The second said that the Goddess Asterea looked down upon the earth and saw no stars. The sight saddened her so that she began to cry, and where her tears fell, there the asters bloomed.
Known as starwort in England and Germany and as an eye of Christ in France, asters have always been thought to carry magical powers. In ancient Greece, aster leaves were burned to keep away evil spirits and drive off serpents. An ointment made from asters was supposed to cure the bite of a mad dog.
Virgil wrote that asters boiled in wine and placed near a beehive would improve the flavor of the honey.
In 1637 John Tradescant, Jr., took native asters from America and introduced them to Europe. Europeans liked this wild member of the daisy family and it soon became a favorite garden flower. Two of the most popular asters the New England aster {A. Novae-angliae} and New York aster {A. Novae-belgii}. The species name for New York aster is “New Belgium” because New York was originally called New Amsterdam; the Dutch were the first to settle that area, and Holland was at one time included in a Roman province called Belgica.
Purple asters were often used to dye wool a greenish gold color.
Aster is the flower chosen as the floral emblem for September.
The Chinese asters are not true asters but are in the genus Callistephus. Jesuit missionaries found these plants growing wild near Peking. They sent plants back to Europe and since they resembled asters from America, they were nicknamed Chinese asters. Seeds from these plants were sent to Paris in 1728, and the first plants were grown in Versailles. They were soon hybridized to produce double and even quadruple florets. So enthusiastic were the Germans about hybridizing this plant they were sometimes known as German asters. By 1750, it was said that Chinese asters grew from Scotland to the Rhine. They were introduced to America in 1806.
Chinese aster comes in so many subtle shades that it is a symbol of variety. It was planted in Chinese gardens in pots with one shade blending into another and was said to look like a rainbow. The genus name is from two Latin words, kallistos, meaning “most beautiful,” and stephos, meaning “crown.”