Considered a weed by many because it spreads easily in gardens and waste areas, calendula ( Calendula officinalis) yields distinctive yellow to orange flower heads. According to an old folk belief, if its flower heads close up after seven in the morning, rain is guaranteed the next day.
The plant is much more popular in Europe than in North America, particularly in a salve or dilute tincture for treating virtually any kind of external skin, muscle, or blood problems-for example, wounds, sores, burns, frostbites, varicose veins, pulled muscles, boils, bruises, sprains, athlete’s foot, etc. In the United States, Calendar Dairy Salve, marketed by Old Amish Herbs, with a base of pure pork lard (one of the most absorbent materials for the skin), is a widely used product adapted from time-tested folk remedies.
The Soviet journal Reservation Boles ti (Volume 20, June 1981, Herman, 1996, p. 112) published the results of two intensive medical studies that confirmed the value of calendar in healing duodenal ulcers, inflammation of both the stomach and duodenum, and intestine- 42 HERBAL MEDICINE AND BOTANICAL MEDICAL FADS
nal colitis. Such findings appear to demonstrate the clinical validity of the herb in treating all types of inflammation.
Anecdotal evidence regarding calendar’s value also abounds. A German herbalist, Maria Trent, relates that a homemade healing salve developed from fresh calendar leaves, flowers, and stems turned legs covered with varicose veins to clear, smooth skin in four weeks.
The herb is also prized in Europe as a flavoring ingredient. John Herman offers an instance where calendar flowers imbue butter beans with a more delicate, creamy flavor, especially when complemented by a rich sauce. General public appreciation of calendar is reflected by its inclusion in Deborah C. Harding’s The Green Guide to Herb Gardening: Featuring the 10 Most Popular Herbs (2000).