Marigold / Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Marigold: Medical Uses

Calendula is used externally for skin irritations and wound healing.

Historical Uses

Calendula infusion has been used for breaking fevers and treating conjunctivitis. It has also been used for its antispasmodic and stimulant effects. The tincture has been applied to sprains. It was used during the Civil War as an antiseptic for wounds. It is also called pot marigold.

Growth

A member of the Asteraceae family, calendula can be grown in herb gardens. It is an annual plant with yellowish-orange petals that open and close with the sun. Plant it in late spring in temperate climates; it prefers well-drained soil. Pick the flower heads when they open and dry them on paper in a warm, dark place. Separate the petals from the head and store them in dark jars. They can be used to make calendula cream or oil.

Part Used

• Flower petals

Major Chemical Compounds

• Carotenoids

• Volatile oil

• Mucilage

• Saponins ()

Marigold: Clinical Uses

Calendula is used externally for skin irritations and wound healing and for juvenile acne. It is approved for use by the German Commission E for wound healing.

Mechanism of Action

Calendula has anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties; the mechanism is unknown. It has been shown to possess anti-HIV properties.

Marigold: Dosage

Apply calendula ointment or cream topically to wounds and dry, irritated skin. Calendula soap is also available and may be used to help treat acne.

Contraindications

• None are known.

Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding

No restrictions are known for pregnant and breast-feeding women.

Summary of Studies

Several studies using calendula externally are available in the homeopathic literature.

Marigold: Recipes

Calendula petals have a nutty flavor and may be used to color butter and puddings.

Calendula Oil And Salve

Place 2 cups of oil (olive, safflower, canola, vitamin E, or almond oil) in a glass or enameled double boiler. Place 3 ounces of calendula flowers in the oil and simmer for up to 30 minutes. Don’t boil; if you see smoke or bubbling of the entire mixture, the oil is too hot. After simmering, strain through cheesecloth and pour the oil into small jars. Use the oil on dry skin. To make a salve for dry skin, reheat 1 cup of calendula oil and add ¼ cup of beeswax. Cool the salve and place it in jars with lids. Label and date the mixture; refrigerate it to maximize shelf life.