If we could only grow one plant for skincare manufacture, it would have to be the humble calendula. It's a multi tasking plant, beloved by bees and hoverflies so an excellent companion plant in the border.
Originally from the Mediterranean, Calendula officinalis, or English pot marigold, is a herbaceous plant frequently used in herbal and skincare products.
Its name originates from the Latin word “kalendae” which means “little calendar”, a reference to the plant’s flowering. Calendula flowers are orange, yellow or a combination of both with a strong, fresh aroma.
Calendula is known to have been traditionally used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. Calendula oil has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial properties that make it effective in healing wounds, soothing eczema and relieving nappy rash.
The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in Calendula have been found to protect the skin against oxidative stress which advances the aging process as well as the development of several degenerative diseases.
The plant can be grown from seed in well drained, composted soil – we sow after the last frost in late spring and the first flowers appear in early June. The petals can be used in salads, macerated in oil to make a moisturiser, added to bath salts or made into a herbal infusion to drink. They also make an attractive and long lasting cut flower.