Marigold or tagetes (Tagetes minuta) is in the daisy family of botanical plants. The oil is obtained through distillation of the fresh flowering plant. An absolute is also made from the flowering herb. Known in Africa as ‘Khaki bush’, it is now also grown in France and North America and is a weed with deeply divided deep-green feathery leaves and numerous yellowish-orange carnation-like flowers. Tagetes oil is extracted from the leaves, stalks and flowers, picked when the seeds are just starting to form. This oil is not to be confused with Calendula officinalis which has very different properties.
Marigold is a strongly scented annual herb about 12 inches in height with bright orange, daisy-like flowers and soft green oval leaves. Tagetes oil has a wild, sweet, fruity almost citrus-like smell and is yellow to reddish-amber in color. It is of medium viscosity that can turn thick and even gel-like if exposed to the air for a long time.
Traditionally in China the flowers of the African marigold are used for whooping cough, colds, colic, mumps, sore eyes and mastitis. The leaves and flowers are a good insect repellent and are often seen hanging from native huts to deter swarms of flies and mosquitoes. After the Boer war in South Africa, Australian troops brought plants to their native land where it grew profusely. It is an ingredient of many foot treatment preparations and is also used in some perfumes.
How Can We Benefit from Tagetes Oil Today?
In a 5% dilution, tagetes oil has been used to kill maggots in open wounds, while the roots and seeds have been found to help rid the body of poisons. Tagetes oil is valuable in keeping insects at bay, and can help with parasitic and fungal infestation. It is used for chest infections, coughs and catarrh, dilating the bronchi, facilitating the flow of mucus and dislodging congestion and can be used in cases of skin infections. It has a healing effect on wounds, cuts, calluses and bunions. Tagetes oil can be diluted 50-50 and applied on location; it can be inhaled and diffused. Tagetes blends particularly well with clary sage, jasmine, lavender, lemon, myrrh, and tangerine. There are some reports of dermatitis with tagetes so it should be used with care and in moderation.
Want to know more about essential oils and how they can help us stay healthy? Consider becoming a certified clinical aromatherapist. The Institute of Spiritual Healing and Aromatherapy teaches classes throughout the United States on aromatherapy and energy healing.