Calendula

calendula blooming

Botanical: Calendula officinalis

Family: Asteraceae

Part Used: Flower

Calendula is related to burdock and chamomile, herbs that are also used for their skin soothing properties. You could say that healing skin is "in the family". It is also called "pot marigold" although it is no relation to the french marigold seen in so many annual gardens. Calendula's chemical composition include compounds that reduce inflammation and combat infection from bacterial, fungal, and viral sources. In addition, compounds in calendula actually help the skin knit itself back together after a tear has occurred.

Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reports that recent findings show calendula ointments are more useful than traditional topical applications for the skin irritation and discomfort of radiation treatments. Most of the Calendula creams on the market contain very little (if any) actual calendula and could be called "calendula" in name only. For this reason, it is best to buy calendula or its tincture, salve or lotion from a reputable grower.

Uses of Calendula

Culinary

Its flowers have been used to give cheese a yellow colour.

Cosmetic

Calendula is an emollient and can help to moisturize dry skin. It also contains carotenoids which nourish the skin.

An interesting benefit of marigold flowers: it is very beneficial in getting rid of an oily complexion naturally. Make an infusion of fresh calendula flowers and applied to the skin at least once a day and allowed to remain for 10 minutes before washing it off.

Using Calendula for Wellness

The most popular medicine use for calendula is in treating irritated membrane conditions. During the Civil War, doctors used calendula leaves were by to treat open wounds on the battlefield. Calendula flower is among the most soothing of herbs for salves. For soothing children's skin, herbalist Aviva Romm, author of Natural Healing for Babies and Children, uses it along with chickweed leaf, plantain leaf, comfrey leaf, and chamomile flower. One study of calendula for wounds showed that it noticeably stimulates physiological regeneration and skin healing.

Calendula has antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it useful for salves and balms, for cuts, wounds, bruises, blisters, and mild burns. Diaper rash and insect bites will benefit from using calendula.

Know this, from abrasions to athlete's foot, calendula salve dabbed on injured skin will hurt less and heal faster.

Dose: 3-6 grams 3x/day in tea; 1.5-3 mL of a 1:5 tincture 3x/day

Safety:

  • Calendula is regarded as safe. However, persons with allergies to other members of the Asteraceae family (such as feverfew, chamomile, or Echinacea species) should exercise caution with calendula, as allergic cross-reactivity to Asteraceae plants is common.
  • Not to be taken internally in pregnancy.

"The Marigold which goes to bed with the sun, And with him rises, weeping."
- Shakespeare, "The Winter's Tale"

Works Cited:

  • Klouchek-Popova E, Popov A, Pavlova N, Krusteva S. Influence of the physiological regeneration and epithelialization using fractions isolated from Calendula officinalis. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg 1982;8(4):63-7 

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