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!

5 Ways to Cross That Road Without Chicken Skin

Herbal Skin Care - Chicken Skin - Ora's Amazing Herbal

How to deal with Keratosis Pilaris (not so affectionately referred to as “chicken skin”)

Unfortunately, I have yet to find one single thing that gets rid of chicken skin, but I have found a number of things that work well together to completely and totally get rid of it… um, mostly. But you have to do it all the time, as a maintenance thing.

1. Cod liver oil. When I take cod liver oil daily, with the essential fatty acids and the vitamin A that naturally comes with it, it reduces my dry and/or irritated skin all around, and in particular my chicken skin. The amount of vitamin A naturally occurring is safe, but if you are taking any other supplements with vitamin A in them, make sure to consult with your trusted healthcare provider. I like Carlson’s lemon flavor liquid. It’s good quality and affordable enough to give daily to the whole family. Keep it in the fridge. We take a tablespoon (more like a soup spoon fished out of the silverware drawer) every day or every other day. It helps with all sorts of stuff but we are discussing chicken skin right now…

2. Drink lots of water. Duh.

3. Don’t eat things you have sensitivity to. You know, those foods that you are kind of allergic to, but you eat them anyway just because you love them? Like cheese, melon, avocado, or maybe eggplant? It’s no big deal because you just get a little itchy for a minute, or a little bloated in the tummy, and then it goes away. It is also likely that it contributes to general inflammation in your body. Red itchy bumps on your skin, well that’s inflammation so.. I’m not telling you what to do, I’m not even telling you what I do, (as she spreads avocado on her gluten-free flatbread) but, be aware that it is likely to contribute to the bumpy skin. Often when people do elimination diets, the bumps go away. Just sayin’.

4. Anti-inflammatory stuff. There is much discussion about keratosis pilaris and how it is genetic and a nutrient deficiency (particularly vitamin A) and it is an allergy. The truth is, I think it is partly all of these things. Regardless, it is clearly an inflammatory condition. It follows that whatever anti-inflammation practices you have up your sleeve will help with your skin, and also most likely your hair, digestion, breathing, sleep, and emotions, behavior and general outlook as well. Ok, I will add this to my list of future posts.

5. Exfoliate and then shmear. When I take a shower, I wait till after I’ve dealt with my hair and all so that my skin has softened a bit. Then I scrub that chicken with a nylon brush. (OK, I can hear you peanut gallery! ) After the shower I dry off, do my powder and essential oil blend in the armpit thing, and then before my skin gets a chance to really dry out again I shmear it with my Touchy Skin salve. I do have to wait a minute for it to absorb before I get dressed, but this is the thing that really works for me. In the meantime I deal with my hair…I see another post from me in your future.

So there you have it: five ways to chase that chicken across the road.

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