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Our drunken Bride of the Sun, Calendula Officinalis.

Whether we’re picking garnish at Trolley’d HQ in the city, or harvesting from our edible garden in the countryside, Calendula is one gorgeous fiery flower that we grow and cultivate all year round. When these optimistic flowers turn their pretty heads to max out on delicious sun rays, we can’t help but humanise them and liken them to a flower character from a tripped out scene in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carol. Opening their petals up at dawn when the soil begins to warm, and closing their floral curtains when night sets in. We love the way they follow the sun in the sky, even in the depths of Winter when the icy frosts are snapping off the blades of grass under your feet.

Speaking of tripped out, in the 16th Century, those who drank a potion of Marigolds were reputed to see fairies of an evening [9]. Which poses the question - who needs Absinthe when you have Calendula?..  At Trolley'd we like to use the fresh petals to garnish our tasty drinks, and infuse booze, teas and tinctures with the dehydrated petals.  Our Calendula tincture is a combination of a Calendula tisane & infused high proof spirit. It is then added to our ‘Intercontinental Elixir of Love’, or taken whenever we simply wish to see fairies.

Community and connection is the medicine that our souls desire, and a lot of the plants we work with are also quite literally medicine. We are lucky that we get to work with both, and combine these two incredible elements when we host parties and serve up our delicious cocktails and mocktails.

One of the best parts of the Trolley'd mobile bar experience is educating and empowering our guests with knowledge. We love to chat about way we produce our drinks, and tell the story of where our ingredients comes from and why we choose to work the way we do. 
Working with seasonal and local ingredients helps the planet by reducing carbon emissions and keeping ingredients fresh.  There is a re empowerment that comes from connecting people with the ancient wisdom of their ancestors and combining this with all of the innovative tools that we have handy in the present day. We are facilitators helping to bridge the gap in lost knowledge - information gathered over thousands of years of foraging, healing and experimenting. 
Through the industrialisation of our society we have become disconnected from nature and a lot of this knowledge has been lost, yet it is rightfully ours. It doesn’t belong to a pharmaceutical company or a brand. It’s what mother nature has gifted to us, and can enhance our lives and our connection to earth if we harness and use these ingredients in an ethical way.
Utilising our extensive library of books on the herbal and medicinal wonders of edible plants, we’ve compiled some info below on this incredible plant. Happy reading! If you come across any of these plants in your travels please tag us on social media (links below). You can also sign up to our newsletter if you'd like to stay in the loop of seasonal edible goodness.

Calendula Officinalis - Latin officinalis refers to plants associated with medicine, herbalism & cookery. Florets and leaves are edible, although the leaves aren’t very tasty.

Common names Pot Marigold,  Common Marigold, Riddles, Scotch Marigold, African Marigold, Garden Marigold, Chin Chan Ts'ao (Chinese), Galbinele (Romanian) & Ringblomma (Swedish).

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Folk Names: Bride of the Sun, Drunkard, Goldes, Holigolde, Husbandman’s Dial, Marybud, Mary Gowles, Ruddes, Riddles, Spouse Solis, Summer’s Bride, Marygold.

Botanical Family: Asteraceae.

Native Habitat: Central and Southern Europe, Western Asia and the US.

Toxicity & Allergens: No toxic compounds have been identified. Allergies consistent for people allergic to the Asteraceae or ‘Daisy’ family. Traditional uses: Calendula is one of the most versatile herbs in Western Medicine. The flowers are an excellent remedy for inflamed and angry skin, their antiseptic and healing properties help to prevent the spread of infection and speed up the repair. Calendula is also detoxifying and can assist in the treatment of chronic infections [4]. In Europe the leaves were used to sweat out toxins, while the flowers were used as a stimulant, antispasmodic and to stimulate menstrual flow [1]. 

In England, the flowers were used in a posset drink for the treatment of measles and smallpox, the fresh juice was used for jaundice, constipation and the softening of Menstrual Flow [2]. In India, the florets are used in ointments for treating wounds, herpes, ulcers, frostbite, skin damage, scars and blood purification. The leaves are used in infusions for treating varicose veins externally [1,2]. 

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The orange pigment, known as Carotenoids or Tetraterpenoids, have been used in Ancient Greek, Roman, Middle Eastern & Indian history as dyes for fabrics, foods and cosmetics. In traditional medicine it has been used for wound healing, jaundice, blood purification, and as an antispasmodic. The flowers are considered to be anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants. It is a useful remedy for dry skin, eczema, haemorrhoids, and gastrointestinal inflammation, specifically in the treatment of Crohn’s disease, colitis and gastritis [5].

The main identified chemical compounds from phytochemical studies are terpenoids*, flavonoids**, coumarins***, quinones^, volatile oil^^, carotenoids^^^ & amino acids`. The plant extracts, as well as the pure compounds isolated from it, have been demonstrated to possess multiple pharmacological activities, such as anti-HIV, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective (great for the liver!) amongst other beneficial properties [3].

History: The word calendula is derived from the Latin calens meaning the first day of each month because the Romans claimed they bloomed the first of each month. Calendae in Latin refers to ‘Little Calendar’, ‘Little Clock’ or possibly ‘Little Weather Glass’. Christians called it "Marygold" and "Marybud" because it bloomed at all the festivals celebrating the Virgin Mary, also because people believed by constant association with the flowers they could ward off evil. It should not be confused with Tagetes, also called "marigold". Known as the "herb of the sun" because the flowers open in the morning and close in the evening. 


Calendula flowers freshly foraged and ready to be plucked into delicate petal cocktail garnish for delicious cocktails at one of our mobile bar events. 


A Trolley'd Lemon Myrtle Daiquiri garnished with Calendula Officinalis, dehydrated orange rind and Rambling Dock on our Copper Mobile Bar Trolley.

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Mentioned as such in Shakespeare's ‘A Winter's Tale’, the culinary use of calendula dates back to ancient Rome. Common people couldn't afford to buy saffron and they discovered that powdered calendula petals were an excellent substitute which is why it has been called "poor man's saffron".

In Greek Mythology, four wood nymphs who fell in love with Apollo, the sun god, became so jealous of one another they began neglecting their duties to Apollo's sister, the goddess Artemis. She turned them into four dull-white marigolds, which distressed Apollo, but his only recourse was to send down his most brilliant rays to color them gold. In German folklore, rain was predicted if the flowers remained closed after 7 am. In India, Buddhists held pot marigolds sacred to the goddess Mahadevi, who carried a trident emblem adorned with the flowers, while her followers crowned themselves with marigolds at her festival.

Marigold was commonly used as an aphrodisiac, and thought to have great significance in love. Planting marigold in the footsteps of a loved one was supposed to tie them to their beloved. In the Middle Ages in Europe it was believed that those who wore marigolds would have a vision of anyone who had robbed them.

Spanish sorcerers were said to wear it as a talisman. Traditionally it was picked when the Sun entered the sign of Virgo and the picker had to carry a wolf’s tooth wrapped in a bay leaf. In Mexico it is thought to be a flower of death and is believed to have sprung from the blood of the Indians killed by the Spanish invaders.

Xochiquetzal, the Aztec love goddess, taught her people the message of the marigold, the petalled book of the cycles of life, of seed to leafy stem, of leafy stem to bud, of bud to flower open to the Sun, of flowers to drying petals that were the womb for the seed – to complete the cycle. Offerings of marigold petals were made to her. The pigmentation of ornamental fish in captivity can be intensified by adding Calendula to regular fish food [9].

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The 17th Century herbalist and astrologer Nicholas Culpeper, described the Marigold in The English Physician as, ‘herb of the sun, and under Leo’, recommending the leaves be mixed with vinegar to bathe ‘hot swellings’ [6]. 

Powers & Magical Uses: Pick noon when the Sun is hot and strong and the flowers are open, the flowers will then strengthen the comfort of the heart.

 Stringing garlands on doorposts stop evil from entering the house, scattered petals under the bed will protect you while you sleep and make your dreams come true. Adding the flowers to your bath water helps to win the respect and admiration of everyone you meet.

Looking at the bright flowers strengthens the sight, and carried in the pocket, marigold helps justice to smile favorably upon you while in court.

If a girl touches the petals with her bare feet, she will understand the language of the birds [7]. Dr. Johannes Hartlieb (ca 1400-1468), described a witches ointment in his 1456 book Das Buch aller verbotenen Künste (The Book of All Forbidden Arts). The calendula would be picked or dug up on a Sunday and was referred to as solsequin, meaning “following the Sun”. It would then be combined with 6 other herbs picked on their corresponding days, combined with bird’s blood and animal lard, then when appropriate smeared benches, chairs, rakes or pitchforks, so they could then fly away on their desired aircraft. It was considered nothing but Black Divination and strictly prohibited [8].

In the 16th Century, those who drank a potion of Marigolds were reputed to see fairies of an evening [9].   

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We would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continued connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We also pay our respects to our teachers, those who stepped out on their own quest for knowledge prior to us, and who have generously shared their wisdom with us. 

This article and the information contained within is intended as a guide to incite curiosity and gain a deeper undertanding of our ethos. While we believe is everyone's right to choose their own health journey, the information provided above is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a qualified helath care provider for medical treatment.

#calendulaoffficinalis #wildfood #edibleflowers #garnish #plantbasedcocktails #brideofthesun #drunkard #goldes #holigolde #husbandmansdial #marybud #marygowles #ruddes #riddles #spousesolis #summersbride #marygold #asteraceae #knowledgeispower

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Glossary: *Terpenoids contribute to the flavour, scents, and color of plant's leaves, flowers, and fruits. The terpenoids produced by plants do not only protect them against insects and herbivores but also provide protection from fungal diseases and infestations. Different Terpenoids have been found to have anticancer, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antihyperglycemic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antiparasitic properties [11]. **Flavonoids, a group of natural substances with variable phenolic structures, are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, bark, roots, stems, flowers, tea and wine. ...They have been found to have anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties coupled with their capacity to modulate key cellular enzyme function [10]. ***Coumarins, are a white crystalline solid. Its odor has been described both as vanilla-like and as having a note of 'freshly mowed hay’. It is known for its pharmacological properties such as anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anticancer, antihypertensive, antitubercular, anticonvulsant, anti-adipogenic, antihyperglycemic, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties [12]. ^Quinones, are plant-derived secondary metabolites that present some anti-proliferation and anti-metastasis effects in various cancer types both in vitro and in vivo [13]. ^^Volatile oil, A substance of oily consistency and feel especially one that is derived from a plant tissue that are characterised by their volatility and failure to saponify. They evaporate when they are exposed to the air and thus are capable of distillation. Often referred to as ‘essential oils’ as they are considered the essence of the plants fragrance. ^^^Carotenoids, are a class of more than 750 naturally occurring pigments synthesized by plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. These richly colored molecules are the sources of the yellow, orange, and red colors of many plants [14]. `Amino Acids, used by plants for the formation of vegetable tissue and chlorophyll synthesis. They are often referred to as the ‘building blocks of life’ and are vital in the building of proteins, and synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters.
Acknowledgments: Lt. Colonel Kirtikar KR, Major Basu BD. Indian Medicinal Plants. Vol II, Dehradun, India, International Book Distributor, 1993, pp 1413-1414. Khare CP. Encyclopedia of Indian Medicinal Plants. Germany, Springer-Verlag Publisher, 2004, pp 116-117 BP Muley, SS Khadabadi & NB Banarese. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, Benin City, Nigeria, Pharmacotherapy Group, 2009, pp 455-465 Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London, UK, Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1996, p 73 Thomas Easley & Steven Horne. The Modern Herbal Dispensatory, A Medicine making Guide. Berkeley, California, USA, North Atlantic Books, 2016, pp 200-201 Monique Simmonds, Melanie-Jayne Howes & Jason Irving. The Gardener’s Companion to Medicinal Plants, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, UK, Frances Lincoln Publishing, 2016, pp 42-43. Scott Cunningham. Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Woodbury, Minnesota, USA, Llewellyn Publications, 1985, p 169 Christian Rätsch. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants. Verlag Aarau, Switzerland, Park Street Press, 1998, p 801 Herbalpedia. The Herb Growing & Marketing Network, PA, USA, 2016,p Calendula A.N. Panche, A.D.Diwan, S.R. Chandra. Journal of Nutritional Science, v5 2016, PMC5465813 Chhandak Basu, Department of Biology, California State University. Medicinal Plants Journal. CA, USA, Springer Nature Switzerland AG, 2019, pp 333-359 K. N. Venugopala, V. Rashmi, B. Odhav, "Review on Natural Coumarin Lead Compounds for Their Pharmacological Activity", BioMed Research International, vol. 2013, Article ID 963248, 14 pages, 2013. Lu JJ, Bao JL, Wu GS, Xu WS, Huang MQ, Chen XP, Wang YT. Quinones derived from plant secondary metabolites as anti-cancer agents. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Macao, China. 2013, PMD 22931417 Wang XD. Carotenoids. In: Ross CA, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler TR, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 11th ed: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2014:427-439