How to Grow Calendula At Home, And Why You Should

We first discussed the healing powers of calendula in our blog post on Why Calendula Belongs In Your First Aid Kit and Your Skincare Routine . Calendula is truly a healing powerhouse. Its powerful role in protecting and repairing the skin, including on a DNA level, and soothing irritation and redness, are well known and supported by peer-reviewed scientific research. It is used for everything from dermatitis to acne and from cleaning wounds to healing digestive ailments. But did you know that you can grow this magical ornamental and therapeutic “marigold” yourself in your own home garden to enjoy it for both its beauty and for its healing properties? Here’s what you need to know to grow these glorious golden blooms:

  • Order calendula seeds from a reputable organic seed vendor. Healing calendula is known colloquially as “pot marigold” and scientifically as Calendula officianalis (C. officianalis). This is not to be mistaken for other more common varieties of marigold which are a different genus and more widely available at garden centers.
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  • Plant the large, curved calendula seeds in a deep pot with potting soil. If planting in a garden, it can tolerate even poor soil, although it will thrive in well-worked and fertile soil and produce more blooms. It can be planted in full sun or partial shade and does well even in foggy areas where it stays cool during the day. The seeds germinate easily (germination takes 7 to 14 days) and can grow in almost any climate in the United States, except the very most arid or arctic.
  • Seeds can be started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost or can be direct-seeded outdoors in the spring. Whether planting indoors or out of doors, plant seeds ¼” below the surface of the soil and water regularly. If started indoors, the plants should grow to 4-5 inches and show some leaves before being transplanted 6” from each other. Plants will grow to a height of 2 to 2 ½ feet.
  • Harvest flowers in the hottest part of the day during the summer when the flowers are entirely dry and the healing resins are at their highest level. Harvest throughout the season as flowers bloom by snapping flowers off the plant. Dry flowers them by hanging them in an area with good airflow or placing on a drying screen or in a dehydrator at low temperature. Drying should occur out of direct sunlight. It will generally take 7-10 days to fully dry flowers.
  • Use the dried or fresh flowers in tea or in a tincture. Fresh flowers can be cut for decorative use but are also edible. They can be served raw in a salad, added to soups for color and flavor, or mixed in with goat cheese for a lovely presentation. Dried flowers can also be used to infuse oil for external use as a skin treatment. Keep in mind that some people are allergic to calendula and it is advised that it be avoided internally during pregnancy.

Happy growing!

Why Calendula Belongs in Your First Aid Kit and Your Skincare Routine

Calendula (Calendula officianalis) has long been known as one of the most healing herbs in the herbal apothecary. It has sacred status in India, is known as “Mary’s Gold” in tribute to the Virgin Mary in Catholic tradition, and was used by the ancient Romans and Greeks in many ceremonies. Calendula is often used topically for ailments and irritation of the skin and mucous membranes such as itching, contact dermatitis and heat rash. It is used to reduce swelling and inflammation, including of the mouth and throat, as well as to relieve the pain of hemorrhoids and proctitis and to heal abrasions. It has a history of being used for detoxifying the gallbladder and liver when taken internally as well as to treat fevers and prevent muscle spasms (including menstrual cramps). It has become familiar for its presence in popular homeopathic skin preparations for burns, rashes, and itching. The uses for this plant are amazingly varied.

Calendula is a type of marigold, but it is not of the same genus as the common marigold, that vibrant and ubiquitous flower of orange and yellow and red that shows its fiery colors in front yard gardens. The common garden marigold sadly does not contain the same therapeutic properties as potent calendula does… Yet even if you can’t pick up a calendula plant of your own at any home and garden center, you can grow your own calendula (C. officianalis) to use for therapeutic purposes at home!

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Ora’s Amazing Herbal’s Advanced Nightly Skin Repair Phytonutrient Face Oil Serum and Lightweight Daily Nourish Face Oil Serums are cold-infused with organic calendula because of not only the herbal wisdom of the ancients but also modern scientific research that has verified many of the herb’s benefits in the laboratory. This includes studies that have proven its potency as an antiviral and anti-inflammatory agent and a protector of genetic material, preventing skin mutations that can result in cancer. Our facial skin is the neediest skin on our body, especially as we age. It’s constantly exposed to the sun, environmental toxins and wind. Calendula applied to the skin directly is uniquely able to help soothe irritation, reduce redness, calm breakouts, moisturize, and repair sun damage.

Calendula has an important role to play in your skincare routine for preventing and reversing aging, as well as in your first aid kit for the treatment of rashes, itching, inflammation and abrasions. It can often be used as a replacement for over-the-counter hydrocortisone-based creams (but consult your healthcare professional first). Try keeping a calendula cream, lotion or healing salve in your first aid kit, especially during the summer when many people are most active and prone to irritation and injury. For maximum healing, sun damage protection and calming for your delicate facial skin, try facial serums and other skin care products that list calendula as one of the first ingredients. Let this vibrant golden flower work its soothing magic, just as it has done since ancient times.

Is Tamanu Oil the New Argan Oil? The Story of a Little-Known Miracle Oil That Can Transform Your Skin

Tamanu

One of the key ingredients in our Advanced Nightly Skin Repair Phytonutrient Face Oil Serum is tamanu oil, an oil that is still unknown to many in the Western world. Although the mainstream market has discovered Moroccan argan oil and added it to all kinds of hair and skin products, tamanu oil is just starting to gain attention as the public starts to learn about how this humble little nut can be transformed into an oil with incredible skin-healing and anti-aging properties.

Tamanu nuts (Calophyllum inophyllum) are typically grown in Southeast Asia, East Africa and Australia. They are dried for several months until the nut secretes its precious oil that is cold-pressed to create a skin-healing oil that has anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. It is noted for its ability to heal scars and wounds and reduce stretch marks as well as its effectiveness in the treatment of mild abrasions and rashes. It is strongly anti-inflammatory and also full of antioxidants that can help prevent or reverse signs of aging. Tamanu oil has been used by traditional cultures to protect the skin from extreme weather. Preliminary research has indicated that tamanu oil contains an anti-inflammatory compound called calophyllolide as well as a form of vitamin E and other anti-oxidants.

Tamanu oil is strongly regenerative for the skin thanks to its free-radical-neutralizing polyphenol content, which is why Ora’s Amazing Herbals uses it as a key ingredient in our Night Serum. But it is also used for psoriasis, acne, athlete’s foot, rheumatism, scabies, eczema, sunburn and to prevent wrinkles. It is also used for topical pain relief, as it can relieve some of the symptoms of shingles, joint pain and other conditions. It is known in Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands for its ability to heal chapped or burned skin. Peer-reviewed research studies have shown tamanu oil’s efficacy in healing scars.

Tamanu oil, in combination with other phytonutrient-rich oils such as carrot seed oil and pomegranate oil, is a critical ingredient in our popular new Advanced Nightly Skin Repair Phytonutrient Face Oil Serum. Our restorative serums use only gluten-free, all-natural ingredients to protect and repair your skin and keep your face glowing all year long.

Alternatives to Steroids for Eczema in Kids & Adults

Natural Eczema Treatment

Anyone with eczema can testify to the quick speed with which most doctors are ready to dispense prescriptions for steroid creams. However, an increasing number of people are turning a skeptical eye towards this conventional approach to treatment and questioning steroids’ safety. These creams are absorbed into the body through the skin. There are strict maximums on steroid dosages due to potential side effects, which children are particularly prone to. Although regarded by many as a benign medication, steroid creams can actually cause growth restriction for children, thinning of the skin, depigmentation, contact dermatitis, stretchmarks, and more. Although there are cases where eczema requires medical treatment, there are safer alternatives to steroid creams that can be tried first.

The first “treatment” to try for eczema is not a treatment at all but rather prevention via the identification of eczema triggers. Take a look at what some factors might be in causing the appearance or worsening of eczema. This includes infections; very hot or very cold weather; environmental allergens such as pollen, mold, dust, or pets; skin exposure to substances that can irritate the skin, such as many soaps and laundry detergents, body care products, and cleaning products. Even emotional stress can cause an eczema flare. Changing hormone levels may also trigger it, as can certain foods (whether or not you have a truly allergy to them).

The second natural approach that can be taken to treat eczema is the use of chemical-free moisturizers, emollients and oils to sooth the skin and deeply moisturize it, as well as protecting it from weather changes and irritants. When Ora’s Amazing Herbal was first launched, two of our first products were our All-Purpose Salve and Touchy Skin Salve. These were initially created by founder Ora Assayag to treat her own child’s severe eczema in order to avoid resorting to the antibiotics and corticosteroids suggested by doctors. Ora quickly discovered these salves were effective for the treatment of eczema and extremely dry skin, didn’t cause stinging for people with irritated and sensitive skin, and provided a protective barrier for people engaging in work or play that can irritate and dry out the skin, in addition to having many healing properties. They can be applied to a child’s exposed skin before going out into the cold or heat, used to treat rough, dry or irritated patches of skin, and can even be effective for cradle cap. Consider giving safe salves and healing oils a try before resorting to medical treatments that may cause as many problems as they solve.

5 Things You Need to Know About Gluten-Free Skincare Products

You have no doubt noticed an astounding array of new gluten-free offerings popping up on grocery store shelves and at restaurants as awareness of celiac disease and gluten intolerance have grown. But did you know that there’s another gluten-free trend that goes hand and hand with gluten-free diets? It’s important for anyone with celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, gluten-reactive eczema or gluten intolerance to keep the following things in mind:

  1. You eat more shampoo and face wash than you realize!
    These products frequently drip down your face and into your mouth along with water. Many shampoos and face washes include various wheat proteins, barley and oat extracts, and other gluten-containing ingredients.
  2. Use soap and bodywash that is clean for your insides and your outsides.
    Soap and bodywash residue remains on your hands, which you then use to eat and wipe your mouth. It is only natural that one would want to make sure these products, too, are free of any ingredients that compromise your body’s wellness.
  3. Your mom told you not to eat that delicious flavored Chapstick™, but you still do.
    Lip balms and lipsticks frequently contain gluten. As you go about your day you consume more of it than you might realize. One study that found that lipstick use was corrollated with rates of systemic lupus erythematosus found that lipstick wearers consume an average of 60 milligrams of it a day. Lip balm wearers likely consume a similar quantity. Make sure any lip product you choose is as gluten-free as your food!
  4. Gluten can cause eczema flare-ups and rashes.
    Ingestion is not the only way that gluten can irritate the body. There are some people who find that applying skin creams that are not gluten-free cause skin problems… Whether it causes you or your child’s eczema to flare up or leads to an itchy contact rash, you may find that gluten-free lotions and oils help moisturize without irritating.
  5. Gluten hides in skincare products under a lot of sneaky pseudonyms.
    Ingredients sometimes found in skincare products that should be avoided by gluten-free individuals include avena sateva (oat) extract, hordeum vulgare (barley) extract, wheat germ oil, wheat amino acids, hydrolized wheat starch, triticum aestivum, triticum carthlicum, triticum durum, and triticum vulgare. You can avoid these ingredients by purchasing your skincare products from a company that is 100% gluten-free such as Ora’s Amazing Herbals.

Breina Gidseg is a mother of five and is a nutritionist, health and wellness writer, recipe developer and cooking teacher based in New Jersey.