Calendula: My First Friend in Herbalism

When we listen with intention, we learn. When we open our hearts to teaching moments, we receive glad tidings in the form of wisdom and growth. Sometimes the teacher is Nature herself, abundantly packaged as a cheerful orange-yellow flower.

My first friend in Herbalism was Calendula (Calendula officinalis).  Such a sunny disposition, I immediately felt all-smiles and relief just investigating all her wondrous properties of self-healing. At first meeting, we were not reserved or formal; it was an immediate and close embrace, like we’d known each other for decades, related even. The reality is that we indeed were already acquainted; we met previously on many occasions during my childhood in California. I knew her then as Pot Marigold. How I’d missed her!

As an artist, color is ever-present in outlook. The radiant hue of the sun has been a recurring one throughout my life. I’ve found myself drawn to it energetically on numerous occasions, so it was no surprise that a vital, comprehensive color in my personal palette enveloped my first foray into Herbalism. Love was the motivation. Calendula led the way.

When a loved one is in need, it’s such a wonderful blessing to be able to serve them with the kindness of enriching, supportive herbs. One particular opportunity came through nourishing, self-healing salves.

My first batch of salve was made using solar-infused, organic extra virgin olive oil with organic Calendula flowers (Calendula officinalis), natural beeswax, and organic Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia). I turned to Rosemary Gladstar’s tried and true recipe from her book, Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide (page 115) to get me started.

As Rosemary often says in her media that she does, and that she also encourages, I made the recipe my own. Since this initial batch I have continued to expand on different herb, oil, and essential oil combinations, as well as methods of preparation and presentation, so that the world of salve-making has become an important lesson in following intuition.

Interesting thing, intuition is.  As soon I began this inaugural voyage in Calendula salve making, I felt prompted to contact Rosemary Gladstar and thank her for all of her pioneering contributions to Herbalism and Herbalism Education. I was (and am) truly grateful and felt compelled to write her a note via email. A week or so later I received a personal reply from the Mother of Modern Herbalism herself. As one would imagine, this happy surprise made my day an even brighter shade of marigold!

The heart of Botaniscape™ and budding Herbalist, Lori McClellan sees the Art of Herbalism as her lifelong connection to Nature manifested most fully—another exciting medium and source of abundant joy. An Author, Artist and Poet, creating as Loretta Boyer McClellan, her works as a writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; conscious PR, brand, graphic design, and communications; and as an Arts instructor, journalist and artist, “sized the canvas,” so to speak, for a fruitful life of expression, connection and inspiration. Author of The Nature of BEing: A Healing Journey, The Misthaven of Maine Series, and Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing, Lori creates from a place of pure love and devotion. Writing, meditating, painting, and her relationship with Nature and all beings, most tangibly through Herbalism, are her connection to the Infinite. 

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