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All about Calendula

Calendula Officinalis (Calendula)

Calendula Officinalis L.

 

Introduction

Calendula is an ornamental plant that thrives in gardens throughout most of the United States. Depending on the variety, it grows from 8 to 24 inches tall, tolerates full sun and partial shade, and produces yellow and orange flowers from early summer through the first frost. Harvest the flowers when they’re at full bloom to keep the plant blooming until the season is over. You can use the flowers and leaves for culinary and medicinal purposes, and consume them fresh or dried.

Calendula originated in southern Europe, Mediterranean areas and parts of Asia.  It is now cultivated all over the world.  It is an annual and blooms profusely wherever it is grown.  Calendula has been hybridized to highlight specific characteristics, but the wild and open-pollinated versions of this garden favorite are found everywhere.

The ancient Romans named this plant Calendula because the noticed that it was blooming on the first day of every month (calends).  It was a symbol of joy and happiness in their gardens, and because it provided them with a continuous supply of flowers and tender leaves, it was used regularly for cooking and medicine.  Romans and Greeks used the golden Calendula in many rituals and ceremonies, sometimes wearing crowns or garlands made from the flowers.  One of Calendula’s nicknames is “Mary’s Gold,” referring to the flower’s use in early Catholic events in some countries.  Calendula flowers are sacred flowers in India and have been used to decorate the statues of Hindu deities since early times.  Aztecs and Mayans used the flowers in their ancient ceremonies, and the flowers are still used on home altars on the Day of the Dead in Mexico and Central America.

Calendula contains many effective compounds.  Ancient cultures recognized and used the healing properties of this plant.  In some of the earliest medical writings, Calendula was recommended for treating ailments of the digestive tract.  It was used to detoxify the liver and gall bladder.  The flowers were applied to cuts and wounds to stop bleeding, prevent infection and speed healing.  During the Civil War and during World War 1 Calendula flowers were used on the battlefields in open wounds as antihemorrhagic and antiseptic, and they were used in dressing wounds to promote healing.  Calendula has been historically significant in medicine in many cultures, and it is highly regarded and used in alternative medicine today.

 

What’s in Calendula?

Calendula’s primary constituents are terpenoids, flavonoids, coumarins, quinones, volatile oil, carotenoids, amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids.  For medical and culinary uses the whole flower heads and petals are used.  Calendula can be prepared in infusions, tinctures, capsules, teas and used in oils, creams, compresses and many other applications.

 

Benefits of Applying Calendula Oil to Skin

The most beneficial actions of Calendula is it’s positive effects on the skin, the herb is a very good remedy for several types of skin ailments.

Here are some of the many benefits Calendula Oil provides for your skin:

  • Aids healing of minor skin wounds, cuts and scrapes.
  • Excellent remedy for acne and the treatment of rashes.
  • Applied topically helps fight fugal infections including ringworm, athlete’s foot and thrush.
  • Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
  • Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
  • Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
  • Helps clear diaper rash and cradle cap in infants.
  • Protects the skin from premature aging, thinning of skin and crow’s feet.
  • Aids in relieving insect bites and other mild skin irritations.

calendula oil

 

Calendula in Traditional Medicine

It is a remedy long used throughout Europe for wound healing and ulcer treatments. Part of its healing power appears to be based on the presence of terpenes. A triterpene glycoside called calendulozide B exerts a marked anti-ulcerous and sedative action. In a broad spectrum check of physiological impact it did not have any negative effect on the cardiovascular system, the tone of intestinal smooth muscles, kidney function or on the biligenic function of the liver. The researchers say the drug is devoid of locally irritating properties and an insignificant toxicity. If this is the case with an extracted constituent, much more can be claimed for the whole plant!

 

Benefits of Calendula in Your Diet

In April 2012, the “Chemistry Central Journal” published an analysis of the flower’s active components; calendula contains antioxidants in the form of flavonoids and carotenoids. The leaves contain lutein and beta-carotene, which are vitamin A carotenoids that work as antioxidants. Your body can also convert beta-carotene into the form of vitamin A it needs to maintain vision and healthy skin.

Here are some of the benefits of taking Calendula Tea (Dosage is no more than 2-3 cups per day):

  • Use as a gargle for sore throat.
  • Relieves blisters, inflamed gums or thrush as a mouth rinse.
  • Helps heal gastric ulcers.
  • Can alleviate congested lymph nodes.
  • Useful in helping break a fever.
  • Relieves pain associated with abdominal cramps.
  • Lessens the incidence of menopausal flashes, headaches and nausea.
  • Reduces inflammation throughout the body.
  • Can stop the oxidation as well as abnormal development of cells.
  • Limits impact related to gastritis, stomach cancer and peptic ulcers.
  • Functions as a protective antioxidant.
  • Works as a fantastic body cleanser for detoxing.
  • Protects liver, gall bladder and other internal organs from longterm failure and damage.

To make a tea using Calendula use 1-2 teaspoons of the flowers and cover with boiling water.  Allow to steep 3-5 minutes before drinking.  DO NOT TAKE IF PREGNANT.

 

Medical Conditions that Benefit from the use of Calendula:

Herpes
Gingivitis
Mouth Ulcers
Sore Throat
Oral Thrush
Psoriasis
Burns
Inflamed Lymph Glands
Chronic and Acute Skin Inflammation
Varicose Veins
Thrombophlebitis
Boils
Dermatitis
Conjuctivitis
Gastrointestinal Ulcers
Genitourinary Inflammation
Hepatitis
Stomach Ulcers
Dry Skin
Immune Deficiency
HIV Virus
Premenstrual Symptoms
Poor Circulation
Cancer
Acne
Eczema
Athlete’s Foot
Candida
Hemorrhoids
Menopausal Symptoms
Ringworm
Sunburns
Warts
Cold Sores

Facts at a Glance:

100% Natural
Improves Immune System
Antimicrobial / Antifungal / Antibacterial
Soothes Skin Ailments
Contains Important Vitamins, Minerals & Antioxidants
Easily Absorbed by the Skin
Antiphlogistic
Antitumor
Beneficial for Topical Use
Choleretic

Calendula Contains:
Antioxidants
Carotenoids
Mucilage
Polysaccharides
Sterols
Saponins
Flavonoids

 

calendula drawing

Classification:

Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Asterales
Family Arecaceae – Aster Family
Genus Calendula L. – marigold
Species Calendula Officinalis L. – pot marigold

 

Additional Reading:

Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) | Plant Profiler | Sigma-Aldrich

Common Name: Pot Marigold | Scientific Name: Calendula Officinalis

Dietary Supplementation of Calendula Officinalis Counteracts the Oxidative Stress and Liver Damage Resulted from Aflatoxin

Resources

Fern Fischer, “History of Calendula”. Garden Guides. n.d. web.
<http://www.gardenguides.com/78027-history-calendula.html>

David Hoffman, “Calendula: Herbal Medicine Materia Medica”. Healthy.Net. n.d. web.
<http://www.healthy.net/Materia_Medica/Calendula_Herbal_Materia_Medica/176>

“Calendula”. Herbs 2000. n.d. web.
<http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_calendula.htm>

Sandi Busch, “The Benefits of Calendula”. Healthy Eating by Demand Media. n.d. web.
<http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-calendula-8187.html>

“Calendula”. Your Health. n.d. web.
<http://www.yourhealth.com.au/information-on-natural-medicine-herbs-detail.php?name=Calendula>

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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