In medieval Europe calendula was widely available and was known as “poor man’s saffron” as it was used to color and spice various foods, soup in particular. Astrologically associated with the sun and the fire element, calendula was believed to imbue magical powers of protection and clairvoyance, and even to assist in legal matters. Flowers strung above doorposts were said to keep evil out and to protect one while sleeping if put under the bed. It was said that picking the flowers under the noonday sun will strengthen and comfort the heart. Calendula was used in ancient times in India as well, and according to Ayurvedic healing principles is energetically cooling and has a bitter and pungent taste. And, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), calendula (called Jin Zhan Ju) is considered energetically neutral and drying and is used to support healthy skin. Traditionally, in North American indigenous cultures, it has been employed to combat the occasional upset stomach.
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