It was well known to the old herbalists as a garden-flower and for use in cookery and medicine. Marigold is a genus of 51 species of annual and perennial herbaceous plants in the daisy family (Asteraceae or Compositae). They are native to the area stretching from the southwestern United States into Mexico and south throughout South America.

What to look for:
Marigolds produce globe-shaped blossoms that consist of lacy foliage. Their size depends on their type. Signet marigolds grow single-stemmed small blossoms, while American marigolds are quite large. The different species vary in size from 0.05-2.2 m tall. They have pinnate green leaves, and white, golden, orange, yellow, to an almost red floral heads typically (0.1-) to 4-6 cm diameter, generally with both ray florets and disc florets.

Yellow and orange are the most popular color of marigolds for gardeners to plant. They also come in white, maroon and red blossoms. Their green feather-like leaves grow quite dense in flower beds. If you press the leaves with your fingers, they produce a pungent smell. African and Aztec marigolds are the tallest of the species. They can reach up to 3 feet in height. Triploids are the smallest and grow up to 2 inches.

How Mother Nature loves it:
The Marigold is a native of south Europe, but perfectly hardy in this country, and easy to grow. Seeds sown in April, in any soil, in sunny, or half-sunny places germinate freely. They require no other cultivation but to keep them clean from weeds and to thin out where too close, leaving them 9 to 10 inches apart, so that their branches may have room to spread. The plants will begin to flower in June, and continue flowering until the frost kills them. They will increase from year to year, if allowed to seed themselves. The seeds ripen in August and September, and if permitted to scatter will furnish a supply of young plants in the spring.  Only the common deep orange-flowered variety is of medicinal value.

How to use it:
Marigold is chiefly used as a local remedy. Its action is stimulant and diaphoretic. Given internally, it assists local action and prevents suppuration. The infusion of 1 ounce to a pint of boiling water is given internally, in doses of a tablespoonful, and externally as a local application. It is useful in chronic ulcer, varicose veins, etc. Was considered formerly to have much value as an aperient and detergent in visceral obstructions and jaundice.

Marigold comes as an ointment of 5% flower extract, an infusion, and a mouthwash. Some experts recommend the following doses:

  • As an ointment, apply to the skin.
  • As a tincture or tea, take 1 to 4 milliliters orally daily

It has been asserted that a Marigold flower, rubbed on the affected part, is an admirable remedy for the pain and swelling caused by the sting of a wasp or bee. A lotion made from the flowers is most useful for sprains and wounds, and a water distilled from them is good for inflamed and sore eyes. Marigold has been used for centuries to aid skin healing apparently without causing problems. Although some animal tests support its healing and anti-inflammatory effects, the herb hasn’t been tested on people. More research must be done to confirm other claims for marigold’s medicinal uses.

Sonya Lee

Since a child, Sonya has been traveling from the corners of Canada to the far east Asia. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she led a normal family life with her brother, mother and dad. A well received job opportunity in Hong Kong for her father put the compass in action from a young age. Sonya loves good food, and I mean GOOD simple food. She loves an occasional drink, be merry and enjoy the good times. Having recently healed herself from a large ruptured cyst, her favorite foods include fresh carrot juice, grilled vegetables, sauteed portabello mushrooms and truffle french fries. Her philosophy? Healthy food makes a healthy body. Read more on the Editor page. When she's not fretting over WAFT, she runs a small design agency called mowie media and shares the good times with her dog, Monster and 3 cats Sabi, Kaeli & Misty.

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