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Wyrtig - In early sources
Many thanks to the
Library for providing this image from
c. 1300 CE.
calendula in your garden
Calendula has been used over the centuries for a variety of
medicinal purposes. Its leaves and flowers were used as a mild
stimulant, to prevent or treat fever, for skin diseases, to cause
sweating, and to ease muscle cramps.
Just looking at the flower helped heal eye disorders.
The Romans called the first day of
a month the calendae. Calendula flowered so abundantly
in Roman gardens that it seemed to be in bloom on
of every month, thus meriting the name calendula.
of calendula's other names in the old herbals are poetic in
As the sponsa solis,
calendula is the spouse of the sun, and solaris
herba means the sun's herb.
the advent of Christianity, calendula was associated with another divine spouse, the Virgin Mary, and came to be called Mary's
marigold. Another of
its names, vertamnus, is the name of a shapeshifting Etruscan
Roman god of gardens and orchards, seasons, change, and plant growth.
ruddy gold color of the flowers is recalled in such names as
rodelwort, ruddos, rodes, rodewort,
ruddis, and, simply,
open in sunshine, and so it was also called sun (sigel, sol) follower or turner (hweorf) -- in Old English,
sensigle, solsecle, solwherf,
sigilhweorfa; in Latin,
solsequium, heliotrope or
glide together, may also refer to this trait.
Capitulare de Villis
Be þe grecas heliotrophus 7 romane uertamnum
nemnaþ 7 eac angle sigelhweorfa hataþ
ƀ is sigelhweorfa
ƀ is sigilhweorfa
Man solate 7 oþrum naman solosece nemneþ
ƀ is solosece
þa smalan unwæscene
Calendula in medieval works|
sight upon that semly,
to bliss he is broght;
To sauve is forsought.
"Annot and Iohon,"
One who seemly
to bliss he is brought;
She is calendula,
for salvation sought..
"Annot and Iohon,"
lilie of largesse,
parwenke of prowesse,
solsecle of swetnesse,
and lady of lealte.
"Blou northerne wynd,"
She is the lily
She is the
periwinkle of prowess,
She is the
solsequium of sweetness,
lady of loyalty.
"Blow, Northern Wind" Harley 2253
Eliotropia, sive Solissequa
claudor, sic orto
Unde prudentes posuerunt
LI. Heliotrope, or solsequium
Spontaneously my fertile land
brings forth spring
Shining flowers turn the summit
Lesser settings fade, plants
Why your Greek name is wisely given.
Aldhelm, Riddle LI
golde flour is good to sene,
makyÞ Þe syht bryt and clene;
wyscely to lokyn on his flowres,
owt of Þe heed
The calendula flower is good to see,
it makes the sight bright and clear;
wisely to look on its flowers
draws out of the head
the wicked humours.
On the Strengths
Rodewort... Þis flour hauyÞ a gret vertue, for what day Þou seist
it, in Þat day shal nat Þe feuere take Þe, Þe whiche is clepid
febris acuta. ...Who Þat hauyÞ Þis feuere on him, Þis si3t wole nat
helpe him, but he shal take to him a lef an half lef of Þis herbe
and soke hem in wyne and Þan drynke Þat wyn and Þe leues also.
Calendula ...This flower has
great virtue, for on the day you see it, in that day the fever that
is called febris acuta shall not affect you... Whoever has this
fever already, the sight of calendula will not help him, but he
shall take to him one and one-half leaves of this herb and soak them
in wine, and then drink that wine and the leaves also.
On the Strengths
Gif mon mið
treowe geslegen sie oððe
mid stane oððe
byle on men gebersted . to
dolh sealf . gytÞrife
. ontre . geloðwyrt
. sigelhweorfa . gecnuwa
gemeng wel wið
buteran y on
ilcan wisan gerena the ic aer cweÞ.
If one be
wounded by wood or by stone or if a boil bursts in one * for
this wound a salve * corn cockle * silverweed * potentilla *
calendula * pound the worts smooth mix well with butter as I
Sealf wiÞ cancre . genim cu meoluc
butan wætere læt weorÞan to fletum geÞwer to buteran ne wærc on
wætre. Nim sigelhweorfan Þa smalan unwærcene do cleane cnuca
smooth gemeng wel wið Þære buteran do on Þannan ofer fyr awyl swiðe
aseoh wel Þurh clað lacna mid Þy.
A salve for
take cow's milk without
waterchurn it to creamto make butter do not wash in water.
Take the small calendula unwashed make it clean pound it
thoroughly mix it well with the butter in a pan over the fire seethe it
smooth strain well through a clothcure therewith.
Many plants have
been used in past and present times for medicinal purposes, and as
one of the focuses of Wyrtig is the history of gardening, these uses
are discussed here. However, common sense
requires that you consult your family physician or other
health care provider before using any plant materials for medicinal
purposes. The old saying that "A doctor who treats him- (or her-)
self has a fool for a patient" is no less true in herbal medicine
than in any other branch of the healing sciences. Herbal remedies
should not be used by the uninformed; medical advice should be
sought before using any herbal remedy.