Asia and Rory’s Homa Herbal Corner – Calendula

(Calendula officinalis)

Calendula is a popular plant found in many herbal and decorative gardens for its joyful orange or yellow flowers and multiple medicinal uses. It is also known as Pot Marigold, but it should not be confused with another Marigold of the Tagetes family, which also has orange flowers and is popular in India and the Americas.

It is an annual that is very easy to grow from seed directly in a garden bed or pot. If allowed to spread its seed it can become quite invasive. Only the flowers are used medicinally, although some people just use the petals in infusions as it seems to taste less bitter. Let’s remember that all herbs grown in Homa atmosphere have enhanced healing properties.

Calendula is an important herb for all skin problems and for this reason it is often used in creams. We often make an Ayurvedic Medicated Ghee with whole Calendula flowers and combine it with Agnihotra Ash powder.

Medicated Ghee (Clarified Butter):
Cow’s ghee is a medicinal substance in its own right and makes an excellent base for herbs and Agnihotra ash, as it carries the active properties deep into the body’s tissues. Only ghee made from cow’s milk is used for Agnihotra and for medicinal preparations.

Ayurvedic Medicated Ghee Preparation:
The traditional method is to add between 30-50 grams dried Calendula flowers to 800 ml of pure water and bring to the boil.

(If only using dried petals, then you only need 15-20 grams). Then simmer until it has reduced to 200 ml (a quarter of its volume). Add 200 grams of organic ghee and continue to simmer gently until all the water has evaporated. Then remove the plant material by passing the mixture through a sieve or muslin cloth into a dark glass container with a tight-fitting lid.

When preparing Homa Medicated Ghee, we also follow Monika Koch’s ratio of nine parts ghee to one part Agnihotra ash by weight, that she recommended for Agnihotra Ash Ointment. If you do not have scales then one level tablespoon of ash to two level tablespoons of cow’s ghee will give you a fairly accurate ratio. Therefore, add 22 grams of Agnihotra ash powder to the Calendula Medicated Ghee and stir. As long as all the water has been evaporated then it does not need to be refrigerated, but keep it out of sunlight to prevent oxidation.

Folk Method:
There is a European folk tradition of making salves and ointments using butter that we prefer to replace with ghee for better results. This method uses fresh herbs. First, heat ghee in an enameled pot to a liquid and then stir in the finely chopped herb. Simmer gently for 30 minutes and then remove the pot from the heat source, cover and leave overnight. The following day again warm the mixture to a liquid and strain into another container. Add Agnihotra ash powder, and pour the medicated ghee into suitable jars.
You can make medicated ghee with many different herbs like, Comfrey, Thyme, and Yarrow, for example.

A teaspoon 1-2 times a day can also be used internally, depending on the herb used.

Calendula Medicated Ghee is an excellent remedy for all kinds of cuts, scrapes, bruises, and minor burns, including sunburn. It can also be used for dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Use Calendula if you suspect scarring, even old scars can improve with this ointment.

A Calendula infusion soothes stomach ulcers and inflamed digestive systems. It aids digestion and gall bladder problems. It is also taken as an infusion to help regulate menstruation and ease painful periods.
For infusions use 2 teaspoons of dried flower petals and a pinch of Agnihotra ash per cup of boiling water. Let steep for 10-15 minutes.

Internally as an infusion, and externally as a wash or ointment, it can help with fungal infections.
A cooled Calendula infusion makes a useful wash or compress for eye infections.

Calendula brings joy to the garden and as you can see, it has many medicinal uses. But
the petals are also edible and they make a colourful addition to salads and can be used as an alternative to Saffron when cooking rice.

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