The Magic of Marigolds

Red and yellow Marigolds

Marigolds are a great addition to a colourful bouquet of flowers. They have bright yellow and red hues, have a distinctive fresh smell and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The benefits don’t end there however, as we turn our focus over to the magic of marigolds and find out just what these unassuming but enchanting flowers can do.

Exotic and historical

Marigolds red and orange

Marigolds are part of the Asteraceae plant family and have the scientific name Calendula Officinalis, which believe it or not means they are actually a distant relative of the mighty sunflower. They are native to the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa but can now be found everywhere. These colourful flowers have unsurprisingly carried a special significance for centuries. They started to be used more noticeably in the 11th and 12th centuries as flowers for religious ceremonies and medicinal purposes. In fact, the Roman calendar states that when marigolds bloom a new lunar cycle begins so these were flowers with some clout in the ancient world.

Mary’s gold

Dia de los Muertos Marigolds

The flowers were marked for special attention by early Christian worshippers as they were said to be a literal manifestation of ‘Mary’s Gold’ in nature. For this reason, they were highly popular amongst the priesthood to decorate and adorn sacred places like churches and shrines. Today they’re still used in some major celebrations like Dia de Los Muertos (day of the dead) in Mexico when people adorn the graves of family members with marigolds. The idea for this being that it would help to guide the spirits of the departed souls to find their alters. Of course, now they are good in all situations, spiritual or otherwise. For us, they seem like the perfect flower for Autumn with their bright and warm yellows and reds.

Powerful petals

Marigold petals

The real magic of the marigold comes from its delicate almost fluffy petals that can be dried and then used to treat many different ailments as they help to reduce inflammation and boast natural antiseptic properties. In addition to that, the bright yellows and reds found in the petal pigment can be synthesised to make a potent food dye. Perhaps you’ve already eaten something that’s been coloured with marigold food dye (we doubt however that the rubber gloves of the same name are coloured this way).

Good for what ails you

Pestle mortar and flowers

With their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, the extracts of marigold can be used to treat a whole host of nasty illnesses and infections. Chief amongst them are eye and skin infections where an ointment made from its extracts proves very effective. Burns and rashes especially are highly treatable with marigold ointment as well as insect bites and varicose veins. If the plant is prepared as a liquid it can also be taken (sparingly) by mouth to treat coughs and sore throats.

Tasty and edible?

Marigold tea

Aside from the food dye mentioned before Marigold petals can be used to make a soothing digestive tea. This can be used to treat stomach discomfort and also to help boost your immunity when you’re feeling under the weather with a cold or flu.

Pest Control

bug spray

Not only can marigolds treat insect bites, they can also keep insects away from you altogether. The plants have a distinctive and strong scent which has almost evolved as a defence mechanism to keep pests and bugs away from its sensitive petals. This is good for us too as growing the plants can help keep them out of your garden or home and once again the plant can be processed to create an organic bug spray to keep your home free from flying annoyances. As if they weren’t perfect enough the flowers themselves have a magical way of attracting the sort of insects you might want, as they are popular with bees due to their bright colours.

So as we have seen marigolds certainly pack a punch despite their dainty appearance. There are so many things you can do with them, from tea to insect repellent.

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