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Marigold Growing Guide

Marigold Growing Guide

SHORTCUTS: Ideal Environment, How to Plant, How to Water, Companion Planting, How to Propagate, How to Harvest, Parts Used, Preparations, Uses, Key Constituents, Key Actions, Research.

Information

Calendula officinalis
FAMILY ASTERACEAE
Marigold is an aromatic seasonal flower that grows around 60cm tall. The flowers are vibrant yellow and orange. Marigolds are now grown in most temperate areas around the world and is said to be native to southern Europe (1). There are numerous cultivars with different color and size flowers. There is some record of the flowers being used since ancient times as a medicinal herb and a dye.

Growing Environment

Ideal Environment 

Marigolds are ideal for a sunny (or partially shady) spot and are quite tolerant of average to slightly poor soils but you will get healthier plants and better flowers with rich, well draining soil.  You can add compost and organic fertiliser.

How to Plant

How to Plant 

Marigolds grow easily from seeds and can be planted during the spring and summer.  Plant the seeds 1cm deep and about 20cm apart or thin them out.

Watering

How to Water

Water immediately after sowing the seeds, keep the small plants reasonably moist but not wet.  After that you can water Marigolds one or twice a week during dry periods or if it has rained less than 30mm.

Companion Plants

Companion Planting 

Marigolds are really great to have in the garden (especially a vegetable garden) because the odour repels many unwanted insects and attract bees.  It is said to enhance the growth of basil, cucumbers, eggplants, potatoes, squash and tomatoes.  At least one or two sources say one should avoid planting them close to beans, cabbage and broccoli.

Here are the Companion Plants by group: Herbs, Flowers, Trees, Vegetables, Berries, Fruit and Mushrooms

How to Propagate

How to Propagate 

Marigolds are best planted from seeds.  You can start indoors in trays if you live in a colder area, but Marigolds grow pretty quickly and can be sown directly outside as long as there is no risk of frost. Let some flowers dry on the plant, remove the dried petals and break open to remove the seeds and save them for next season.

Harvest

How to Harvest

Harvest the flowers during the summer on a warm dry day and dry the whole flower heads in the shade on a rack or use immediately.

Medicinal Plants Parts Used

Parts Used

The flowers are used primarily, but I have seen some books that include stems in ointment recipes, but from research it appears that the most important constituents are in the flower heads.  The flowers petals are also edible.

Medicinal Preparations

Preparations

Make an infusion for infections, infused oil (with coconut oil worked great) for inflamed skin and eczema, a tincture for internal use, an ointment or cream for cuts, burns and varicose veins.

Plant Uses

Uses

Marigold preparations are used for athele’s foot, bites and stings, breast tenderness, digestive infections, inflamed skin or rashes, excema, varicose veins and wounds or bruises (1). Use the flower petals in salads or garnish in vegetable, fish and egg dishes. You can also make an insect repellent spray from Marigold by using an infusion.

Constituents

Key Constituents

Flavonoids, triterpenoid saponins, carotenoids, resin, volatile oil (1, 3).

Key Actions

Key Actions

Anti-inflammatory, relieves muscle spasms, astringent, heals wounds, antiseptic, detoxifying, antiviral, antiprotozoal, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, lymphatic, phytoestrogenic (1, 3).

Research

Research

There have been quite a few studies on Marigolds that suggest that Marigold extracts may have anti-viral, anti-genotoxic and anti-inflammatory properties in vitro (13).


USEFUL LINKS: About the Growing Guides, The Medicine Garden, Companion Plants, Basic Preparations and Plant Constituents. Disclaimer. References.

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Echinacea Growing Guide

Echinacea Growing Guide

SHORTCUTS: Ideal Environment, How to Plant, How to Water, Companion Planting, How to Propagate, How to Harvest, Parts Used, Preparations, Uses, Key Constituents, Key Actions, Research.

Information

Echinacea purpurea
FAMILY ASTERACEAE
Echinacea, also known as coneflowers, are herbaceous perennial plants that grow up to 140cm high and grow from a short basal stem with fibrous roots. Echinacea produces beautiful composite flower heads during the summer. Other species used as medicine include E. angustifolia and E. pallida.

Growing Environment

Ideal Environment 

Echinacea will grow best in a sunny spot and even in lightly shaded areas.  Provide average loamy soil with some organic matter, about a neutral pH.

How to Plant

How to Plant 

Plants should be at least 40cm apart.  When growing from seed you will get better germination rates with 4 to 6 weeks of cold stratification. Sow seeds and cover lightly with soil.

Watering

How to Water

Keep the plants moist until they have a few sets of leaves then water once a week when there is no rain.  Echinacea is drought tolerant so do not over water.

Companion Plants

Companion Planting 

Grow Echinacea with other flowers, herbs and vegetables including eggplant, broccoli, brussell sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chillies, peppers and tomatoes.

Here are the Companion Plants by group: Herbs, Flowers, Trees, Vegetables, Berries, Fruit and Mushrooms

How to Propagate

How to Propagate 

Echinacea can be grown by root division, basal cuttings and clumps can be divided, usually in the autumn or spring.

Harvest

How to Harvest

Flowers are gathered in full bloom and roots of 3 to 4 year old plants are harvested in the late summer or early autumn.

Medicinal Plants Parts Used

Parts Used

Fresh and dried root is used primarily, the flowers are used occasionally.

Medicinal Preparations

Preparations

A tincture of the root (dosage is about 1.5ml in water 3 times a day), Decoction of the root (as a gargle for example) and you can make capsules with powdered root.(1)

Plant Uses

Uses

Stimulates the immune system and improves resistance to infections. (3) Other uses include Acne and boils, allergic rhinitis, bites and stings, chilblains, cold sores, coughs and bronchitis, earache, flu, sore throat, tonsillitis, mind asthma, mouth ulcers, urinary and fungal infections.

Constituents

Key Constituents

Glycosides (caffeic acid derivatives: echinacoside, isochlorogenic acid, chlorogenic acid, cichoric acid), polysaccharides (inulin), glycoproteins, aminds (alkamides), volatile oils, polyacetylenes, flavonoids, alkaloids. (3)

Key Actions

Key Actions

General tonic, immune stimulator, lymphatic, antimicobial (antibacterial & antiviral), anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, diaphoretic, anti-catarrhal, detoxifer, bitter. (3)

Research

Research

Echinacea decreased the odds of developing the common cold by 58% and the duration of a cold by 1·4 days on average. Published evidence supports echinacea’s benefit in decreasing the incidence and duration of the common cold. (24)


USEFUL LINKS: About the Growing Guides, The Medicine Garden, Companion Plants, Basic Preparations and Plant Constituents. Disclaimer. References.

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Dandelion Growing Guide

Dandelion Growing Guide

SHORTCUTS: Ideal Environment, How to Plant, How to Water, Companion Planting, How to Propagate, How to Harvest, Parts Used, Preparations, Uses, Key Constituents, Key Actions, Research.

Information

Taraxacum officinale
FAMILY ASTERACEAE
Dandelion is found worldwide and unfortunately mostly seen as a weed. Every part of the plant is edible and it contains notable amounts of vitamins (more vitamin A than raw carrots!) and minerals including calcium, potassium, iron and manganese. Dandelion is s very old plant, it has many medicinal uses and makes a good companion plant. Related species is T. erythrospermum.

Growing Environment

Ideal Environment 

Dandelion can grow almost anywhere, including pavement cracks, but it thrives in rich moist soil.  It is interesting to see how the plant looks completely different depending on the type of soil and environment it is growing in. Dandelion can grow in full sun or partial shade and in hot summers and cold winters.

How to Plant

How to Plant 

Scatter the seeds on the surface, cover lightly with soil and keep moist.  Dandelion has a habit of coming up where you did not intend it to, it self sows very easily and once you have it in the garden it is likely you will see them coming up everywhere.

Watering

How to Water

Water Dandelion regularly, once a week and up to 4 times a week if it has not been raining.

Companion Plants

Companion Planting 

Dandelion makes a good companion plant because it is said that the taproom brings up nutrients for the shallower rooting plants, and it adds minerals and nitrogen into the soil.  Dandelion also attracts beneficial  insects to the garden.

Here are the Companion Plants by group: Herbs, Flowers, Trees, Vegetables, Berries, Fruit and Mushrooms

How to Propagate

How to Propagate 

Dandelion is a perennial plant and self sows easily so propagation is usually just through seeds, which you can also gather and save for the following season.

Harvest

How to Harvest

You can harvest Dandelion greens and florets throughout the season, all parts can be eaten and roots can be harvested in the autumn of the second year of growth.

Medicinal Plants Parts Used

Parts Used

All parts of the plant is used, roots, young leaves and the florets.

Medicinal Preparations

Preparations

Dandelion leaves are used in salads, sandwiches and teas. The roots are used in some coffee substitutes and the flowers can be used to make wines.  You can also make a root decoction (seen recipes for both hot and cold decoctions), leaf decoction, root and/or leaf tincture.

Plant Uses

Uses

Dandelion is used for disorders of liver and gall bladder, diabetics, skin rashes, eczema, gallstones, metabolic disorders, blood purification, gout and rheumatism, disorders of the spleen, face and eyes and acne.

Constituents

Key Constituents

Sesquiterpene lactones, triterpene steroids, phenolic acids, polysaccharides, carotenoids, protein, sugars, pectin, choline, vitamins, minerals, bitter principle (taraxacin, taraxacerin), inulin.

Key Actions

Key Actions

Leaf: diuretic, choleretic, anti-inflammatory. Root: choleretic, cholagogue, tonic, antirheumatic, bitter, alterative, depurative (3).

Research

Research

In 2012 some researchers in Canada received a grant for studying the cancer fighting properties of Dandelion root tea and it is said to be very effective.


USEFUL LINKS: About the Growing Guides, The Medicine Garden, Companion Plants, Basic Preparations and Plant Constituents. Disclaimer. References.