Since I started studying and teaching medieval medicine a couple of years ago, I’ve been determined to grow my own calendula. It is a wondrous little plant, full of so many good things that are healing inside and outside the body.
It is particularly high in flavinoids which work as anti-oxidants in the body, and is highly effective in treating skin and eye conditions. If you’re making homemade lotions, be sure to fold in dried calendula petals to make the cream especially nourishing. It is anti-septic and anti-inflammatory making it wonderful as a mouthwash and gargle for soothing painful gums and throats.
My favorite way to use it is as a tea since it is such a boon to digestion and soothing to any internal issues. I add the dried calendula petals to a mixture of green tea leaves, dried hibiscus flowers, and dried lavender buds to make a calming, fragrant, and delicious Flower Tea.
I’ve got ripper of a calendula patch growing now, with so many blossoms I’m gathering bowls full every couple of days. Thankfully calendula is very easy to grow and doesn’t seem susceptible to any of the insects that often devour my other flowers.
If you would like to make your own Flower Tea, follow these simple steps:
Wait until the blossoms are fully open, then gather them into a clean bowl before they start to wilt. (If you wait until the day after a good rain or watering to gather them, you won’t need to wash them.)
My part of the world is very dry and warm so I just scatter the calendula heads in a flat bottomed bowl and let them dry naturally for 3-4 days. If you have flies or a lot of dust, just cover the bowl loosely with cheesecloth to keep the blossoms clean.
You’ll know the petals are ready to separate when they feel crinkly to the touch, like tissue paper. Simply pull the petals off the flower head – the drier they are, the more easily they come off.
Fluff up the petals in a shallow bowl, allowing any lingering bits of fluff, leaf or dust to fall to the bottom.
Store dried calendula petals in a clean glass or pottery jar with a tight-fitting lid. If you use glass (I like to because the petals are such a gorgeous color), be sure to store the jar in a dark place to prevent fading.
Select the ingredients you like best for your Flower Tea. I use equal parts calendula petals and hibiscus petals, and two parts green or black tea leaves with just a pinch of lavender buds because they’re so strong. If you add too much lavender you feel like you’re drinking perfume instead of tea. Shudder.
Place your mix into a teapot or pottery jug and cover with just boiled water (bring to boil then let sit a minute until it stops bubbling). I like my tea strong so I let it brew for about ten minutes, then strain. Add real maple syrup or honey if you like it sweet, or drink it straight since the hibiscus adds some natural sweetness.
Do you have a favorite tea blend?
Flower Tea Recipe
Makes one pot
1 tsp dried calendula petals
1 tsp dried hibiscus petals
1 Tbsp organic black, white, red or green tea leaves
1/4 tsp dried lavender buds
real maple syrup to taste
- Combine ingredients in teapot and cover with hot water.
- Let steep 5-10 minutes according to your preferred strength.
- Strain, sweeten to taste, and serve.