Calendula is a classic remedy for skin ailments, helping heal in a gentle steady way. She's also a classic lymph mover, with the same energy, I feel. She's the draught horse, getting the deep work done. Or a nurse, kind and gentle but firm and inexorable.
I have been using her infused oil topically with internal issues too. On the abdomen during difficult periods or over irritated intestines, on the jaw during my tongue-tie pain, on a joint when there's an -itis going on.
Helping to keep the inflammation fluids (aka the healing process) moving, helping repair, bringing brightness & cheer. She's easy to grow, abundant with flowers, and generously reseeds. Her resinous medicine under the petals dissolves best in an oil, but bath or tea water works well too.
Lymphatic Support and Sunshine
Think of Calendula as bringing sunshine into your lymph system. Did you know your lymph doesn't have a pump? Its movement relies on your movement- muscle contractions. When you don't move so much, or have too much trash (from illness) for lymph to move, things can stagnate and congeal- you've seen it happen in the fridge, or overnight in the kitchen sink.
With Calendula, fluid thins and flows, debris is carried away, congestion eases. Shining light into dark corners chases away monsters. (This is a METAPHOR people! If you want to learn about lymph physically check out @stopchasingpain)
Traditionally Europeans called this herb Pot Marigold. A 'pot herb' was a common ingredient in the dinner pot. Calendula helps prepare the immune system for a winter cold by cleaning out the old stuff, so it was harvested and dried all Summer to prepare for this.
Fresh or dried, flowers and leaves can be made into a tea, or used directly on the skin, or infused into good oil. Dried flowers into tincture, bath mixes, hydrotherapy edema soaks. Also homeopathic creams/gels/tablets.
Topically, Calendula is a healing wonder on all types of cuts, nicks, scratches, burns and other damage. It has some immune stimulants, so it can prevent infection and inflammation. But it also encourages lymph, so any grossness or heat is moved on outta there which also helps healing. Matthew Wood also says it's salty, which helps soften skin and prevent hard wounds and scar tissue (Earthwise Herbal, p155)
My teacher @maiatoll tells a story of a bad kitchen accident. The open wound was packed with Calendula and the wounded was driven a looooong 1.5 hrs to the hospital. By the time they arrived, the wound was closing, healing.
I also use Calendula topically to influence the lymphatics and drainage of inflammation and distress under the skin. Glands, organs, bruises, general internal cranky spots.
Calendula is most often infused in an oil, because its medicine, in the resinous underside of the flower tops, dissolves best in oil. Tea, tincture, and bathwater applications are also possible.