Updated: Feb 26, 2019
Spring is truly springing and, like me, you may be thinking about which plants to have in your garden this year. Here are the three herbs I think every woman should have - all easy to grow, easy to use and a pleasure to behold. You can also grow them in pots!
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Calendula is easy peasy to grow from seed, does well in shade as well as sun and, if harvested regularly, will continue to bloom all through summer, into the autumn and beyond.
This herb is like an infusion of sunshine, and one of the most versatile and useful medicines you can have in your garden.
The bright orange and yellow flowers, along with the resinous ‘bracts’ that make up the green base of the flower head, have been used for centuries for their innumerable healing properties - from skin healing to supporting immunity to lifting the spirits.
Perhaps the most indispensable use of calendula for women’s health is its stimulating effect on the lymphatic system, which helps to clear congestion and inflammation in the pelvic area. This helps with congestive period pain and endometriosis, and also to clear ovarian cysts and polyps.
Calendula resin is also extremely anti-bacterial and anti-fungal - combined with its regenerative properties on connective tissue, it heals wounds, clears infection and prevents scarring, making it my go-to remedy for uterine and vaginal infections, healing post-surgery or after traumatic deliveries or Caesarean sections.
It can be very useful in the treatment of intestinal candidiasis as well, which has a knock-on effect on liver function and therefore hormone balance.
Speaking of liver function - calendula also helps with PMS, since often this can be a result of insufficient breakdown of oestrogen in the liver, causing a build up over time. Calendula promotes liver detoxification and heals inflammatory conditions like ulcerative colitis, contributing to a healthier digestion.
Calendula is safe to use during pregnancy and can be taken as a tincture, tea, oil, salve, pessary, medicinal bath or steam.
Dry the flower heads thoroughly before using as tea, and simply infuse in olive or almond oil for a few weeks on a windowsill or heat over a bain marie for a few hours to make a medicinal oil.
You can then add beeswax to make a salve, or make into pessaries to effectively treat thrush and post-menopausal dryness.