In the Grete Herball this plant was called Mary Gowles. Three

varieties of the Marigold exercise medicinal virtues which constitute

them Herbal Simples of a useful nature--the Corn Marigold

(Chrysanthemum segetum), found in our cornfields; the cultivated

garden Marigold (Calendula officinalis); and the Marsh

Marigold (Caltha palustris), growing in moist grass lands, and

popularly known as Mareblobs.

The Corn Marigold, a Composite flower, called also Bigold, and the

Yellow Oxeye, grows freely, though locally, in English cornfields,

its brilliant yellow flowers contrasting handsomely with adjacent

Scarlet-hued Poppies and Bluebottles (Centaurea cyanus). It is

also named Buddle or Boodle, from buidel, a purse, because it

bears gools or goldins, representing gold coins, in the form of

the flat, round, brightly yellow blossoms, which were formerly

known, too, as Ruddes (red flowers). The botanical title of the

species, Chrysanthemum segetum, signifies golden flower.

Hill named this Marigold, the husbandman's dyall. In common

with the larger Oxeye Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) it

has proved of late very successful in checking the night sweats of

pulmonary consumption. A tincture and an infusion of the herb have

been made; from five to ten drops of the former being given for a

dose, and from two to three tablespoonfuls of the latter.

The garden Marigold, often called African Marigold, came

originally from Southern France, and has been cultivated in England

since 1570. It is a Composite plant, and bears the name Calendula

from the Latin calendoe, the first days of each month, because it

flowers all the year round. Whittier styles it the grateful and [327]

obsequious Marigold. The leaves are somewhat thick and sapid;

when chewed, they communicate straightway a viscid sweetness,

which is followed by a sharp, penetrating taste, very persistent in the

mouth, and not of the warm, aromatic kind, but of an acrid, saline

nature. This Marigold has always been grown, chiefly for its

flowers, which were esteemed of old as a cordial to cheer the spirits,

and when dried were put into broths as a condiment: Charles Lamb

(Elia) says, in his Essay on Christ's Hospital: In lieu of our

half-pickled Sundays, or quite fresh boiled beef on Tuesdays (strong as

caro equina), with detestable Marigolds floating in the pail to

poison the broth. The strap-like florets of the rays are the parts of

the flowers used for such a purpose. They should be gathered on a

fine day when the blossoms are fully expanded, which having been

divested of their outer green leaves, should be next spread on a cloth

in an airy room to become dry. After having been turned frequently

for a few days, they may be put by in paper bags or in drawers.

Gerard says: The yellow leaves of the flowers are dried and kept

throughout Dutch-land against winter, to put into broths and

physical potions, and for divers other purposes, in such quantity that

the stores of some grocers or spice-sellers contain barrels filled with

them, and to be retailed by the penny, more or less; insomuch, that

no broths are well made without dried Marigolds; and, The herb

drank after the coming forth from the bath of them that hath the

yellow jaundice doth in short time make them well coloured. (This

is probably conjectured on the doctrine of signatures.)

A decoction of the flowers is employed by country people as a

posset drink in measles and small-pox; and the expressed fresh juice

proves a useful remedy against [328] costiveness, as well as for

jaundice and suppression of the monthly flow--from one to two

tablespoonfuls being taken as a dose.

The plant has been considered also of service for scrofulous

children, when given to them as a salad. One of the flowers if

rubbed on any part recently stung by a bee or wasp, will quickly

relieve it.

Buttercups and Marigolds, when growing close to each other, are

called in Devonshire, publicans and sinners. The active, bitter

principle of the Marigold is callendulin, which is yellow and

tasteless, whilst swelling in water into a transparent jelly. Druggists

now make a medicinal tincture (H.) of the common Marigold, using

four ounces of the dried florets to a pint of proof spirit, the dose

being from half a teaspoonful to two teaspoonfuls in water, twice or

three times in the day. It is advised as a sudorific stimulant in low

fevers, and to relieve spasms. Also, the Marigold has been

employed both as a medicine and externally in treating cancer,

being thought to dispose cancerous sores to heal. A saturated

tincture of the flowers when mixed with water, promotes the cure of

contusions, wounds, and simple sores or ulcers; also the extract will

allay chronic vomiting, if given in doses of two grains, several times

a day. One drop of the tincture with two grains of powdered borax

when sprayed into the ear, is very useful if a discharge has become

established therefrom.

The plant, especially its flowers, was used on a large scale by the

American surgeons, to treat wounds and injuries sustained during

the last civil war; and obtained their warmest commendation. It

quite prevented all exhausting suppurative discharges and drainings.

Succus Calenduloe (the fresh juice) is the best form--say

American surgeons--in which the Calendula [329] is obtainable

for ready practice. Just sufficient alcohol should be added to the

juice as will prevent fermentation. For these purposes as a

vulnerary, the Calendula owes its introduction and first use

altogether to homoeopathic methods, as signally valuable for

healing wounds, ulcers, burns, and other breaches of the skin

surface. Dr. Hughes (Brighton) says: The Marigold is a precious

vulnerary. You will find it invaluable in surgical practice.

On exposure to the sun the yellow colour of the garden Marigold

becomes bleached. Some writers spell the name Marygold, as if it,

and its synonyms bore reference to the Virgin Mary; but this is a

mistake, though there is a fancied resemblance of the disc's florets

to rays of glory. It comes into blossom about March 25th (the

Annunciation of the Virgin Mary).

What flower is this which bears the Virgin's name,

And richest metal joined with the same?

In the chancel of Burynarbon Church, Devonshire, is an epitaph

containing a quaint allusion to this old idea respecting the

Marigold:--To the pretious memory of Mary, ye dear, and only

daughter of George Westwood. January 31st, 1648.

This Mary Gold, lo! here doth show

Mari's worth gold lies here below;

The Marigold in sunshine spread,

When cloudie closed doth bow the head.

Margaret of Orleans had for her device a Marigold turning towards

the sun, with the motto, je ne veux suivre que lui seul.

Dairy women used to churn the petals of the Marigold with their

cream for giving to their butter a yellow colour.

The Marsh Marigold (Caltha poetarum) or the Marsh [330]

Horsegowl of old writers, grows commonly in our wet meadows,

and resembles a gigantic buttercup, being of the same order of

plants (Ranunculaceoe). The term, Marsh Marigold, is a

pleonasm for Marigold, which means of itself the Marsh Gowl or

Marsh Golden Flower, being an abbreviation of the old Saxon

mear-gealla. So that the term Marsh has become prefixed

unnecessarily. Presently, the name Marigold, Marsh Gowl, was

passed on to the Calendula of the corn fields of Southern Europe,

and to the garden Marigold. Furthermore, the botanical title, Caltha,

of the Mare Blob, is got from calathus, a small round basket of

twigs or osiers made two thousand years and more ago, which the

concave golden bowl of the Marsh Marigold was thought to

resemble. Persephone was collecting wild flowers in a Calathus

when carried off by the admiring Pluto. The earliest use of the floral

name Caltha occurs in Virgil's second Pastoral, Mollia luteola

pingit vaccinia Caltha. The title Mare Blob comes from the

Anglo-Saxon, mere (a marsh), and bleb or blob (a

bladder). These flowers were the flaventia lumina Calthoe of

Columella, described by Shakespeare in the Winter's Tale. They

are also known as Bublicans, Meadowbrights, Crazies,

Christ's Eyes, Bull's Eyes, May Blobs, Drunkards, Water

Caltrops, and wild Batchelor's Buttons. A tincture is made (H.)

from the whole plant when in flower, and may be given with

success for that form of bloodlessness with great impairment of the

whole health, known as pernicious anaemia. In toxic quantities the

marsh Marigold has produced in its provers, a pallid, yellow,

swollen state of the face, constant headache and giddiness, a

thickly-coated tongue, diarrhoea, a small rapid pulse sometimes

intermittent, heaviness of the limbs, and an [331] unhealthy,

eruptive state of the skin; so that the tincture of the plant in small,

well-diluted doses will slowly overcome this totality of symptoms,

and serve to establish a sound state of restored health. Five drops of

the tincture diluted to the third strength should be given three times

a day with water. Dr. Withering tells that on a large quantity of the

flowers being put in the bed-room of a girl subject to fits, the

attacks ceased; and an infusion of the flowers has been since given

with success for similar fits.

The Marsh Marigold has been called Verrucaria, because

efficacious in curing warts; also Solsequia, or Solsequium; and

Sponsa Solis, since the flower opens at the rising, and shuts at the

setting of the sun.