This common plant goes by many other names: marigold, golden flower of Mary; Marybud, gold, summer's bride, sun's bride, solsequia, holygold, and pot marigold.
The plain marigold or French marigold (Tagetes species) is the flower we see in such abundance of variety in gardens throughout the United States, while the pot marigold or calendula is a simpler flower that thrives in cool weather. According to legend, this was the flower favored and worn by Mary, the mother of Jesus. The calendula of old was a single flower, probably pale yellow. Today's hybrids have produced a fantastic range of double-flowered and multicolored varieties. In Brittany, it is believed that a girl who walks barefoot over calendula will learn the secret language of the birds.
Calendula tea is rich in phosphorus and vitamin C. It is astringent and induces perspiration. It was believed to be useful in supporting gastrointestinal problems - ulcers, stomach cramps, and colitis - and to bring down fever, avoid vomiting, and rejuvenate boils and abcesses.
Plant Facts and Growing Tips
Plant: Annual. A branched stem supports unstalked pale to deep green leaves that have widely spaced teeth. Large yellow or orange flowers appear on the terminal stems from June to October. In the Tagetes varieties, particularly, both the leaves and flowers give off a bitter scent that wards off many insects. A chemical produced by the roots repels nematodes. Thus, calendula is a favorite border plant around vegetable gardens.
Height: From 6 inches to 3 feet, depending on variety.
Soil: Not too rich or moist.
Exposure: Full sun.
Propagation: By seeds sown in early spring during the first or second lunar phase. For a head start, calendula can be planted in flats indoors; they transplant to the outdoors easily, once danger of frost has passed. Seeds germinate in about 10 days.
Care: Space or thin plants to about 1 foot apart: Crowded seedlings don't flower as well, nor do they make shapely plants. In areas where rabbits eat the foliage, dust the plants with dried blood powder to repel them.
Part Used for Tea: Flowers. Petals can be used alone for a more delicate tea.
Taste: Slightly bitter and saffronlike. Petal tea is not as bitter. Sweeten with honey.
How to Brew
By Infusion: Use 1 teaspoon dried flowers or petals (or 4 teaspoons fresh herb) to 1 cup boiling water. Steep fos 5 to 10 minutes. The tea is bright yellow.
Tummy Gold Tea
Both these herbs can be used to help support gastrointestinal problems:
1 teaspoon dried calendula petals
1 teaspoon dried mint leaves
Mix petals and leaves. Infuse 1 teaspoon mixture in 1 cup boiling water. Steep 5 to 10 minutes, or to taste.
Dosage: Drink 2 to 3 cups of marigold tea daily.
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Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 tea bag for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the pot, cover and let steep for 2-4 minutes. Pour into your cup; add milk and sugar to taste.
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 5 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea itself. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into the serving pitcher straining the tea bags. Add ice and top-up with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste.
More Photographs - Marigold (Calendula) (Certified Organic) Tea
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