Botanical Name: Calendula officinalis L.
These bright flowers color our fields with blankets of orange each year. Historically used ceremonially, topically, culinarily, and as a natural dye for hundreds of years. The calendula genus is made up of 20 different species native to the northern Mediterranean, and gets its name from kalendae, or the first day of the month, when flora tends to be in bloom. During Medieval times and still today, this herb was known as “poor man’s saffron” and is used as a saffron replacement.
We plant the herb in multiple successions. The resinous blossoms are harvested by hand with gloves in the heat of the Summer, and they just keep popping through October! The best time to harvest is when the sun is out and any dew has evaporated from the petals. At this time, the resins are high. Picking the flowers under the warm sun is believed to strengthen and comfort the heart, as the herb is strongly associated with solar energy. We dry the blossoms in our greenhouse on racks at low temps - with a light fan for airflow - to retain vibrancy and vitality.
We love to incorporate this blossom internally via soups and tea blends, and topically into oil, hydrosols, facial steams and salves. Calendula petals can also be used as a food coloring or brightening agent in cheesemaking and baked goods, as well as for dyeing fabrics.
Enjoy this blossom in our Stress Adapt tea blend!