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The Marvellous Marigold - Part 2

Colourful calendulas and rosemary display,  Madeleine Giddens of Mad About Herbs.
Marigold, Calendula officinalis, is one of the most useful and adaptable herbs. We've shown you how to make ointments & infused oil & how to use an infusion for a compress or the herb for a poultice. There are many different ways to use this universal healer. This month, as promised, we're going to make marigold cream.

It is particularly good for most inflamed and itchy conditions of the skin or mucus membrane. Making a cream can be a very satisfying project because you can supply almost all the ingredients -- personally. Firstly you can grow the flowers. Then you can harvest them and make the infused oil (as shown last month) & the tincture (recipe below). And then you can indulge yourself by using it on your own skin. But make enough for a special gift for a special person or for a special problem.
Valued by the Romans for its medicinal and culinary properties, calendula was also prized by the Egyptians for its properties of rejuvenation and healing. The Greeks revered its culinary aspects and in the medieval period it was thought to cure just about everything.

Calendula has been a popular garden flower since the time of Shakespeare, the flowers were used to colour and flavour cakes, soups, stews and pot based meals, which, it is said, is how calendula got the name Pot Marigold!

Marigold Cream


30gm (1oz) emollient cream
8ml (1 tsp) marigold infused oil
16ml (2 tsp) marigold tincture
4 drops of lavender, essential oil (optional).


Put the cream into a small pot. Add the oil slowly, stirring all the time. Then slowly add the tincture, stirring all the time. Lastly add the lavender oil and stir it in. Transfer to a clean pot, label and date.


Buy the emollient cream from your local pharmacist. It may be called emulsifying cream. If in doubt tell your pharmacist what you want it for. Check that the cream doesn't have any added ingredients that you may be allergic to. Use a cream based on vegetable oil, if you can find one. Marigold cream keeps well in a cool place, unused, but may go off after you have used it for a while. It is best to keep it in small jars.

Pot Marigold Flower
Pot Marigold
(Calendula officinalis)
A collection of calendula products
Marigold Tincture

Commercial marigold tincture is often made in 90% alcohol. This will irritate sensitive skins. If you can't find a low alcohol tincture make your own.

Ingredients: Two handsful of Marigold flowers fresh or dried. Select vibrant, orange coloured flowers if you have the choice. A really bright orange indicates a high level of active ingredients. Sufficient 25% alcohol to cover.

Method: Take a clean preserve jar and fill it with the marigold flowers. Pour the alcohol on and leave in a cool place for two weeks. Make sure the alcohol covers the flowers. Shake from time to time. After two weeks strain off the liquid, pressing out the flowers as well as you can, & pour it into a clean, dark glass bottle. Label and store in a cool place.

If you live in a country where you can't buy pure alcohol use a mixture of 3 parts of vodka to 2 parts of water. If you can obtain proof spirits dilute 3 parts with one part of water to give 25% alcohol. If you have other strengths of alcohol available you need to do a quick calculation to work out the dilution- you have a computer in front of you and computers are good at things like that !

The recipes above are courtesy of Christopher Hedley, AHG and Non Shaw. The Herbmonger first appeared on the Herb Society website in 1998 and continued until about 2002. It is the creation of Christopher Hedley AHG and Non Shaw and reappears on the Herb Society website with the kind permission of Chris and Non.

Both are practising medical herbalists in London and have co-authored Herbal Remedies: A Practical Beginner's Guide to Making Effective Remedies in the Kitchen. Parragon Press, 1996 ISBN-10: 0752577514

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