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Pot marigold - flowers are a lovely rest for the sore eye, but that is just the beginning

Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) graces flower and vegetable gardens with its golden or orange flowers that reach 4-7cm (1.6-3 inches) in diameter. Belonging to a small genus of 15 to 20 species of herbaceous plants in the Asteraceae family, pot marigold grows to 20-50cm (8-20 inches) in height, and golden flowers sit elegantly on the hairy stem. Since it belongs to the same family as daisies and chrysanthemums, pot marigold has a cute daisy-like appearance. The color of the flower and its charming petals is the reason behind its common name – marigold. The plant bloomed during the festivals of the Virgin Mary in Renaissance times, and its flowers were used in cooking. The combination of Mary and gold (the color of the flowers) resulted in the posh name we use today.

Although at first glance, pot marigold seems elegant and delicate, it thrives in different places such as roadsides, lawns, flower beds, waste grounds, among others. The period between June and October is the flowering time, i.e. when we get to see pot marigold in all its glory as if it has been dipped in gold and planted for us to rest our eyes on its beauty.

Native to Southern Europe, more precisely the Mediterranean area, pot marigold is now found across the globe. Since they tolerate a wide range of soils, pot marigolds are among the most versatile plants you can grow in the garden. The golden-flowered plant grows in light or sandy, medium or loamy, and heavy or clay soils. That would explain why this magnificent plant can thrive in areas that are different than the natural habitat.

Throughout history, people from Europe and later in the New World have been using pot marigold for medicinal purposes. Not only are the flowers a lovely rest for the sore eyes, but they also have some health benefits alongside the leaves.

Pot marigold flowers shot from above
The ointment made from pot marigold could address many problems affecting the skin such as burns, rashes, sunburns, warts, acne, bites, chapped lips.* Flowers could also serve in making tea to help improve digestion.* Drinking tea could lower symptoms induced by inflammatory bowel diseases, gastritis, acid reflux, and even menstrual cramps.* Extract or drops made from calendula have the potential to relieve cough, fever, and sore throat.* Additionally, marigold salves may address fungal infections of feet, genitals, eyes, and skin.*
Pot marigold macro shot The health potential of pot marigold has a lot to do with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.* The extract obtained from marigold may alleviate conjunctivitis and other inflammatory problems affecting the eyes.* The antiseptic properties of pot marigold could make it effective enough to decrease pain associated with ear infections.*
In addition to its health potential, pot marigold has culinary uses. Flowers can add color to salads and other dishes, similarly to saffron. Back in time, people used marigold flowers to dye fabric or for beauty purposes.

Nowadays, creams, ointments, salves, and other products containing pot marigold are widely available. Since the plant itself doesn't require too much maintenance, many people grow it in their gardens and make ointments in their kitchens.


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