Calendula is our pick for Enneagram Type 7, called the Optimist. This personality type is sunny, bright, positive and a best-case-scenario type of person. The yellow and orange, sunny-petaled calendula is a perfect match for the qualities of The Optimist. Type 7s like to be positive and optimistic above else, and criticize others for being “negative.” Be positive or else! They shy away from pain and problems and only like rosy perspectives on life.
In warm climates, calendula can grow all 12 months and in cooler climates it’s often the last flower to bloom, even through to December. Calendula officinalis has been recognized for centuries as a miracle plant which can cure just about anything. It’s in the Sunflower family (Asteraceae) and is an edible flower. It’s native to southern Europe but resides also in North America and North Africa.
Planted in our climate in mid-spring, it grows easily. It’s a sun lover but can tolerate some partial shade. Besides yellow and orange some calendula petals are russet colored and even multi-petaled. Some varieties are grown to produce extra sticky resin on the sepals, which is where a lot of the medicinal value lies. Pick flowers every few days to brighten up your home, foods, or freeze into ice cubes.
In Roman gardens calendula was a symbol for happiness and was regularly used for cooking and medicine. The Germans used it in soups and stews, as well as a saffron substitute in hearty large pot dishes, thus the nickname “pot marigold.”
Pick the flower petals and dry them in airy containers or baskets in warm dry areas so that you’ll have them available later — especially in winter to brighten up grayer days. Add them to quiches, salads, soups, relishes or any dish. Traditional people put them in breads, syrups or conserves.
Modern herbalists use calendula for a wide range of issues: from treating skin conditions such as eczema, rashes, sunburn and wounds to soothing intestinal inflammation. The flowers are also an important herb for lymphatic health and poor immunity. They can be made into a yellow-hued tea, taken as a tincture, or added to food. 7s love options and want to make sure calendula can be taken in many forms or used simply as a visual brightener.
Another account, written in 1699, states “The yellow leaves of the flowers are dried and kept throughout Dutchland against winter to put into broths, physicall potions and for divers other purposes, in such quantity that in some Grocers or Spicesellers are to be found barrels filled with them and retailed by the penny or less, insomuch that no broths are well made without dried Marigold" (another name for Calendula).
Old time texts used it as an uplifting herb particularly in the winter, along with rose, mimosa, lavender, lemon verbena or lemon balm. The only caution is that some people are allergic to the Asteraceae family.
If you’re down in the dumps, anxious or need cheering up, don’t forgot about calendula!
Herb will be teaching his class, Herbs of the Enneagram, at Herbstalk on Sunday, June 3rd!
View the full class schedule here.