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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MARIGOLD: MARIGOLD FLOWER: MARIGOLD TISANE: MARIGOLD AND CHIVES EGG SANDWICHES RECIPE

MARIGOLDS, CALENDULA OFFICINALIS
Marigolds are fairly common in gardens all over the world, and the petals can be eaten. You can grow marigolds in window boxes and pots if you don’t have a garden, and dry the flower heads by spreading them on paper in the shade on sunny days, turning them several times a day. When they are dried store them in plastic bags and/or glass jars for use in the winter when you need cheering up. There is a superstition that you should only gather the leaves in fine weather after the dew has been dried on them by the sun.
    Even if you don’t use them as a medicine, they can make good additions to some dishes and can be added to pot pourris along with dried lavender flowers, rose petals and jasmine. The petals have long been added to soups for their heart-warming qualities as the marigold is said to heal the spirit and comfort the heart.
  You can make a tisane with 1 ounce of dried flowers to 1 pint of boiling water. Let the flowers steep for 5-10 minutes the strain and reheat if you like. Add some honey to taste. This tisane will help if you have a sore throat or gastric ulcers. This tisane taken three times a day will start the delayed menstrual flow too as it stimulates the uterus, so should not be taken if you are pregnant. This infusion will also help you perspire if you have a fever.
   You can also use this cold to soothe sprains and wounds and tired eyes or as eyewash if you have conjunctivitis (red-eye).
  The fresh juice squeezed from the flowers and leaves can be used to treat skin diseases such as eczema and there is a saying “Where marigold is, no pus will form.” This alludes to the its antiseptic healing qualities, as it is traditionally used to treat rough or chapped skin and lips, skin infections, cuts and grazes. If you are outside and have a bee sting, chew marigold leaves and put the pulp on the sting to take away the pain. If you are indoors you can blend the flowers with a little water. You can put this paste on a skin disorder or wound.
   Marigolds were mentioned by Shakespeare in his “Winter’s Tale”
     “The marigold that goes to bed wi’th’sun
       And with him rises weeping…”
In the 17th century marigolds were used for headaches, jaundice, conjunctivitis, toothache and fevers; a conserve of the flowers and sugar, taken every morning with breakfast was believed to stop palpitations of the heart. Because of their colour the flowers were also used as a food dye for cheese. You van make a yellow dye by boiling the flowers to Gerard the 17th century British herbalist writes of the marigold in this way: -  'The fruitful or much-bearing marigold, . . . is likewise called Jackanapes-on-horsebacke: it hath leaves stalkes and roots like the common sort of marigold, differing in the shape of his floures; for this plant doth bring forth at the top of the stalke one floure like the other marigolds, from which start forth sundry other small floures, yellow likewise and of the same fashion as the first; which if I be not deceived commeth to pass per accidens, or by chance, as Nature often times liketh to play with other flowers; or as children are borne with two thumbes on one hande or such like; which living to be men do get children like unto others: even so is the seed of this Marigold, which if it be sowen it brings forth not one floure in a thousand like the plant from whence it was taken.'
            Culpepper writes that it is a:
'herb of the Sun, and under Leo. They strengthen the heart exceedingly, and are very expulsive, and a little less effectual in the smallpox and measles than saffron. The juice of Marigold leaves mixed with vinegar, and any hot swelling bathed with it, instantly gives ease, and assuages it. The flowers, either green or dried, are much used in possets, broths, and drink, as a comforter of the heart and spirits, and to expel any malignant or pestilential quality which might annoy them. A plaister made with the dry flowers in powder, hog's-grease, turpentine, and rosin, applied to the breast, strengthens and succours the heart infinitely in fevers, whether pestilential or not.'

    The leaves can be used as a salad green and the juice from them is also said to be good for getting rid of warts.
    In Ayurvedic medicine marigolds are used for their antifungal properties to get rid of fungal infections such as ringworm, and to treat candida, conjunctivitis, eczema and minor burns, cleansing the system and stimulating circulation, as well as being used on cancer-type growths on the skin.
    In South East Asia it is believed to be lucky for attracting money so is well–liked by gamblers.
    If you are allergic to other members of the Asteraceae or Compositae family (daisies for example) then you might be allergic to marigolds, so before you use them test them on a small patch of skin before applying them to large tracts of skin.
    You can add dried marigold flowers to any other herbal tea or tisane for flavour and women going through the menopause can use the tisane as a uterotonic.
     It is wrongly believed that the marigold got its name because of associations with the Virgin Mary. Actually the name derives from the Old English, mersa-meargealla or marsh marigold.
    Add the petals to soups, as they are good with dried beans, lentils and meat based soups or chicken broth. Use the blanched leaves and fresh petals in salads and for garnishes and make tisanes with your sun-dried petals. Try the recipe below for a new twist on the ubiquitous egg sandwich.


MARIGOLD AND CHIVES EGG SANDWICHES
Ingredients
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and mashed
3-4 tbsps mayonnaise
2 tsps Dijon mustard (or green peppercorn or wholegrain mustard)
1 handful fresh chives, shipped into ¼ inch lengths
3-4 spring onions finely chopped
small bunch of watercress trimmed and shredded
1 handful of marigold petals
salt and freshly ground pepper
butter or spread
slices of bread or pitta bread


Method
Spread the butter on the bread if you are not using pitta bread. If you are then you won’t need butter.
Mix all the other ingredients together but leave some watercress to one side to scatter over the mixture when it’s in the pitta packets or on the bread slices.
Make sandwiches or pitta packets and you have a meal on the hoof.
This has Taste and is a Treat.

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