Herb of the Week: Marigold
Marigolds (Targetes Erecta) are used as offerings and a plant for opening up gateways for the dead to make contact easier. They're fluffy, vivid orange / yellow hues for their pedals which are said to represent the Sun, dark green leaves, and have a floral aroma that fills the air oh so gently. They are mainly used as the flower for Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations in Latin America. They are said to "guide the way" for the dead to those who are trying to reach them and make contact as well as an invitation for them to join the celebration.
Aztecs not only used the sacred flower for decorative purposes, but for medicinal ones as well. The flowers are edible and thought by the Aztecs to cure hiccups and heal those struck by lightening.
Marigolds grow extremely well here in Southern California, as you can see by the enormous marigold sections in some of our plant nurseries. The Marigold most commonly used in Dia de los Muertos celebrations is the Targetes erecta or African Marigold, otherwise known as "cempasÃºchil" or Flower of the Dead.