Blossom of the Winter Sun

Plant Spotlight: Calendula

By Brennan Courtney
Photographs by Jackie Lee Young

HAOMA Resident Herbalist Brennan Courtney is a teacher specializing in interactive plant identification, ethical foraging, and land management  – as well as medicine making preparations, single plant study, anatomy and physiology, botany, and ethical practices for handling plants. Here, she walks us through one of the key ingredients in HAOMA’s Spiritus Vitae blend.
Affectionately known as the Blossom of Winter Sun, Calendula is a powerful ally for fortifying the body and spirit during the cold, damp winter months. The vibrant golds and oranges offer an opportunity for a sunny disposition, even in the darkest hours.  Its rich colors align with the sacral chakra and solar plexus, igniting creativity and a strong sense of purpose and direction. In astrology, this Mediterranean annual is ruled by the sun.  It gently warms and clears away impurities in our physical and emotional bodies, offering resilience and hope. It is also an herb of protection and magic, known for clearing energetic stagnation and inspiring opportunity for luck and wealth. It is also believed to ward off negative spirits when hung in doorways or grown near the entrance of your home.
When it comes to skincare, Calendula is a terrific ally in more ways than one. The phytochemistry of this powerful yet gentle plant is a combination of beneficial triterpenes, polysaccharides, saponins, flavonoids and carotenoids. Used over time, it softens and smoothes the surface of the skin by metabolizing dead skin cells and encouraging new skin cell growth. It is a gentle anti-inflammatory that assists with skin irritation, itching, redness, burns, scars and so much more.  When taken internally as a tea or steeped in vinegar, Calendula heals the digestive lining, improving the complexion in a holistic way by enhancing nutrient absorption. Used in this way, it can also help with cystic acne and breakouts related to food intolerances and lymphatic congestion. The secret to the health and vitality of any system of the body, especially the skin, is always multi-faceted.  By supporting the lymph system, liver and digestion, lasting results can be seen in the appearance of the skin. Calendula assists with all of these processes and is a true ally for holistic skin health.
3 simple ways to incorporate calendula's benefits into your daily routine:
Calendula Cream
As an active in our Spiritus Vitae blend, this powerful ally is present in all of HAOMA’s skincare offerings. From our Cleansing Balm to our Body Cream, Calendula’s beneficial action builds over time, brightening the complexion and leaving skin feeling soft and supple.
Calendula Tea
A cup of Calendula tea taken before or after a meal improves digestion, is gently detoxifying and warming. Taken regularly, Calendula fortifies the immune system and stimulates the lymphatic system.
Calendula Oil
This is a really simple way to experience the topical benefits of Calendula. This oil can be used as an all over moisturizer from head to toe to brighten complexion, soften and soothe. A more concentrated infusion can be helpful for burns and bug bites for more of a first aid application.  It can also be used with castor oil to minimize the appearance of scars through therapeutic scar massage. Massaging oil into the skin from head to toe also resets the nervous system and can be a very calming practice at the end of the day after bathing.