The calendula's genus name, wor calendae, means "throughout the months."
A member of the marigold family, calendula was valued historically for its medicinal and culinary uses. An ancient beverage made from a mixture of calendula blossoms in wine was said to soothe indigestion. Calendula petals were used in ointments that cured skin irritations, jaundice, sore eyes, and toothaches. The Romans used calendula mixed with vinegar to season their meat and salad dishes.
Early Christians called calendula "Mary's Gold," and placed it by the statues of the Virgin Mary. The most sacred flower of ancient India, calendula stems and flower heads were strung into garlands and placed around the necks of holy statues.
Since the calendula's flower head follows the sun, it is sometimes called "summer's bride" or "husbandman's dial." The calendula flower means "winning grace" in the language of flowers.