Calendula officinalis. Garden Marygold.
Nat. Ord. — Asteraceae. Sex. Syst. — Syngenesia Necessaria.
The Leaves and Flowers.
Description. — Calendula Officinalis has a fibrous, annual root, with a stem about a foot high, having many patent dichotomous, or sometimes trichotomous branches, striated, green, succulent, hispido-pubescent. The leaves are alternate, oblong, acute, mucronate, sessile, somewhat succulent, broad, and a little cordate at the base, the margins quite entire, and often scabrous-ciliate. Flower-heads large, terminal, solitary upon each branch, of a rich, full golden yellow, deeper and brighter previous to their full expansion. Involucre of many nearly equal, appressed, linear-subulate, pilose-hispid leaves or scales, not one-third so long as the radiant florets, the apices a little recurved. Achenia carinate, muricate, incurved. Corollas of the ray ligulate, female tridentate, broadly linear, the lower tubular portion hairy. Ovary singularly boat-shaped, curved like a horse-shoe, large, green, downy within, having a thickened margin, more or less tuberculated on the back. Florets of the center all tubular, small, male, and consequently sterile ; the mouth five-cleft, base hairy. Abortive ovaries cylindrical, downy, green. Receptacle dotted.
History. — This is a well-known garden plant, with a feeble, aromatic, not very unpleasant smell, and a bitter, rough, saline taste. The leaves and flowers are generally used, and impart their active properties to alcohol, or boiling water.
Properties and Uses. — Slightly stimulant and diaphoretic. Used for similar purposes with saffron, but less active. Has been reputed antispasmodic, deobstruent, and emmenagogue, and recommended in low forms of fever, scrofula, jaundice, amenorrhea, cancer, etc. Used in infusion, or in the form of extract, from four to six grains, three or four times a day ; also applied locally to cancerous and other ulcers. Probably over-estimated. Dr. Wm. J. Clary of Monroeville, Ohio, writes me as follows, in relation to this plant : "As a local remedy, after surgical operations, it has no equal in the Materia Medica. Its forte is its influence on lacerated wounds, without regard to the general health of the patient, or the weather. If applied constantly, gangrene will not follow, and I might say there will be but little, if any danger of tetanus. When applied to a wound, it is seldom that any suppuration follows, the wound healing by replacement or first intention. It has been tested by several practitioners, and by one, is used after every surgical operation with the happiest effect. You need not fear to use it in wounds, and I would not be without it, for a hundred times its cost. It is to be made into a saturated tincture with whisky diluted with one-third its quantity of water ; lint is saturated with this, applied to the parts, and renewed as often as it becomes dry."