The calendula, pretty and practical, is the Birth Month Flower of October. Calendulas grew their name from blooming at the beginning of each month, hence the Latin "calends" and the English "calendar." The calendula means "throughout the months." This flower is used by many gardeners as an insect repellent and by cooks as a spicy seasoning or coloring for food.
Dried, the calendula can spice up and brighten up a salad. In fact, this flower is referred to as the "pot marigold" because of cooking pots, not flowerpots. As if these weren't enough uses for the calendula, this flower can be used as many herbal medicinal remedies for headaches, toothaches, stomachaches, fever reducers and menstrual cramps. It can reduce swelling in insect bites, sprains, jaundice, sore eyes, wounds and other skin irritations when the calendula is made into an ointment. Lip balms can be made to soothe chapped lips as well. The calendula's bright colors ranging from gold to bright orange have also been boiled to make brilliant dyes for fabrics, cosmetics and food.
The calendula, or marigold (referred to as "Mary's Gold" by early Christians), was considered a sacred flower. Garlands of marigolds were crafted and strung around the necks of the holy saint statues. These brilliant flowers decorated the statue of the Virgin Mary as if they were the sun and stars surrounding her. Its floral meaning is associated with "winning grace." In ancient times, garlands of marigolds protected homes from evil by being strung at doorsteps. It was once thought that placing these garlands under a bed would cause the sleeping person to have prophetic dreams.