There are several varieties of the tagetes plant and the tagetes oil we use is distilled from the flowering stems and leaves of T. minuta, also sometimes called Mexican marigold, Inca marigold or Peruvian black mint.
It grows up to 2 metres tall and produces tiny white or pale yellow flowers. Native to South America, it was introduced to Europe during the Spanish conquests.
Tagetes minuta is a popular companion plant in gardening, because its roots produce a compound, which keeps slugs, pests and weeds at bay.
In Peru, minuta is known as ‘huacatay’ and made into puree and seasoning that give local dishes a unique herbal flavor. It is said to taste like a mixture of mint, coriander and basil. It has been used this way since the ancient Inca civilization.
Tagetes belongs to the same family of plants as the dahlia and daisy (Asteraceae) and shouldn't be confused with Calendula officinalis, which is also commonly referred to as marigold.
Tagetes oil is used to flavour food, tobacco, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, including cola. It is a popular ingredient in perfumery, and we sometimes use it in our fragrances.
The compounds naturally present in the oil have been shown to act as antimicrobial and antifungal agents. This makes tagetes oil not only useful as an aromatic material, but perfect for our low preservative cosmetics and right at home in hand, body and foot lotions.
Our Charity Pot hand and body lotion contain tagetes oil as part of its fresh fragrances.
We use tagetes oil in both our Angels on Bare Skin facial cleanser and Fair Trade Foot Lotion for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties to help keep the skin clear and comfortable.