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Pot Marigold , Calendula Officionalis
Fam: Compositae

This is one of the most versatile herbs, with culinary, cosmetic and healing properties.

The cheerful yellow petals can be used to add colour to salds, cheese and rice dishes, and to add flavour to almost anything - fish and meat soups, cheese, cakes and bread.

The highest concentration of active ingredients is found in the petals, which is used to make a healing and antiseptic ointment which soothes cracked skin and reduces inflammation - as well as smelling good!

Dry the petals in the summer - you probably can never dry too many, for the more you have, the more you will find you use! Use the petals as a tea, in a hair rinse, or in a lotion for conjunctivitis.

Boil the flowers for a yellow dye.

In the garden, remember to remove the dead heads (the ones you haven't harvested for drying) to encourage more flowers to form, but leave enough to produce seeds for next year.

Country folk say that the flowers don't open if rain is on the way, but if they open before 7, you can be sure of fine weather that day.

There are many more 'medicinal' uses for this wonderful plant, from varicose veins to athletes foot, and it would take up too much space here to discuss them all. May I point you in the direction of a very good book which deals with the marigold and quite a few more equally beneficial herbs? It is called 'Health Through God's Pharmacy' by Maria Treben.

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