My first memory of calendula was not in my grandmother’s garden, but in my mom’s. My brother and I were responsible for maintaining the yard. We would take turns mowing, raking leaves, trimming the edges along the sidewalk and pulling weeds.
It was when I pulled the weeds from the flower bed that I would look at this short, plain orange flower and wonder why my mother would bother with it, so I’d pull it out! It just wasn’t as pretty as the dahlias (my favorite flower) or roses and it certainly didn’t smell as good as the carnations or tuberose! Of course, my mom would get upset and tell me to leave them alone, she needed them ‘for things.’
It wasn’t until years later, when my face started breaking out in middle school that I found out about the powerful benefits of this small, plain flower. My mom taught me how to dry the petals, steep them in olive oil and use the mixture to relieve the redness of my breakouts and to help dry them faster. After that, I found myself in love with calendula and use it in as many of our products as I can.
Calendula is so easy to grow, even in our dry region of California with our clay-like soil. It’s drought tolerant and doesn’t require a lot of care. I pick the flowers when in full bloom and let them dry in the sun. When ready, I pull the petals off and throw the seeds back in the yard to create a new crop.
The power of these amazing petals does much more than just soothe acne; calendula also works on rashes and wounds and it helps relieve sore throats, ear aches and inflammation. Plus it makes for a great sleepy-time tea when added to chamomile and honey.