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Calendula

What it’s good for
Also known as marigold, Calendula is native to Mediterranean countries where it has been used for medicinal purpose since the 12th century. Its flower petals contain a high percentage of flavonoids (or plant-based anti-oxidants) and anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties.

This herb is traditionally used to treat stomach problems such as ulcer, to speed up the healing of wounds. The dried petals of the calendula plant in tinctures, ointments and washes are used to heal burns, bruises, cuts and minor infections.

Where to find it
In any major health food store.

How to take it
Taken in tea or infusion, 5 to 10 g of dried petals in 8 ounces of water that should be steeped for 10 to 15 minutes, can be drunk two to three times a day. As a fluid extract (1:1 in 40 % alcohol), 0.5 to 1 ml three times a day. In tincture (1:5 in 90 % alcohol) form, 5 to 10 drops three times a day is sufficient.

Safety
As a gentle herb, Calendula is considered fairly safe as a topical application, but should not be applied to an open wound unless directed by a certified herbalist or doctor. If you are allergic to the daisy or aster flower families, which include, chrysanthemums and ragweed, you should avoid this herb. Calendula also affects women’s menstrual cycles and should not be taken when pregnant and breastfeeding.