CALENDULA (Calendula officinialis)
Other Names: Marigold, Garden Marigold, Mary bud
Calendula is a well-known garden plant and is probably one of the most useful of all herbs as it has valuable medicinal properties, can be used as a culinary herb and also for cosmetic purposes.
Calendula has strong associations with early Indian and Arabic cultures. The Indians venerated the herb and used it to decorate temple alters, shrines and statues of their gods. To the Hindus, it represented life, eternity and health, and is said to symbolize devotion and piety. Calendula (Marigold) is the herb of the Sun under Leo.
The botanical name comes from the Latin ‘calendulae’ or ‘calends’ meaning ‘throughout the months’ which was intended to emphasize the very long flowering period of the Marigold.
In the sixteenth century, Calendula (Marigold) was a common garden plant valued by herbalists for comforting the heart and soothing the spirits.
Calendula is a cholagogue, styptic, anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, antiseptic and emmenagogue. It is a gentle remedy when taken internally for mild digestive ailments. A tea made of Calendula will help to increase perspiration to reduce fever and is said to be good for bringing out the spots in cases of measles.
Calendula is a traditional healing agent used for the external treatment of sores, wounds and other skin problems as it contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities. It can be used to treat cuts, abrasions, bruises and sprains. Calendula is best known for its healing properties and can effectively heal all kinds of skin complaints.
In the form of an ointment, Calendula is a remedy for eczema, acne, pimples and spots. It can be used in the treatment of boils to prevent the formation of scar tissue, and helps to heal minor cuts and abrasions. A decoction of Calendula petals can be used to bathe scalds, stings, burns, cuts, scratches and grazes, and is also useful to relieve painful chilblains.
Calendula tea has long been used as an ancient remedy for gastritis, colitis, diarrhoea and ulcers. Early herbalists recommended Calendula for the relief of painful menstruation and menopausal problems, as well as to promote perspiration and to strengthen the heart.
Used in creams and compresses, Calendula can be used to treat localized skin problems or as a gargle for sore throats and to treat gingivitis and mouth ulcers. Calendula aids bile secretion and is considered to have effective cholagogue activity as it increases the flow of bile by 20 to 50%.
Calendula tea is helpful to those suffering from bad circulation and varicose veins.
Calendula is a popular herb for stimulating the immune system and for preventing infection. Calendula is commonly used as a healing and soothing wound cream or lotion as research has shown that extracts (or a tincture) of Calendula significantly stimulates tissue regeneration and the healing of wounds.
Calendula is used topically as an ingredient in the treatment of haemorrhoids, sprains, bruises, pulled muscles and varicose veins.
The freshly expressed juice of the Calendula/Marigold plant is said to be a remedy for warts, corns and calluses, and should be dabbed on the affected areas morning and evening until the problem is cured.
Calendula is excellent for use in beauty care. Calendula/Marigold petal lotion is slightly astringent and is good for oily skins. The lotion can be used as a compress for reducing large pores. Calendula ointment can be used to soothe and soften chapped hands and rough skin, to ease sunburn and for the treatment of acne. Calendula can also be used as a facial wash for the complexion.
Adding a decoction of Calendula (Marigold) petals to bath water is soothing for tired and aching limbs. A footbath with Calendula petals and flowers can also be very comforting and beneficial to the mind, body, soul and spirit.
An infusion of Calendula flowers can be used for gastro-intestinal problems such as stomach cramps, ulcers, colitis, diarrhoea and vomiting, as well as for issues such as insect bites, conjunctivitis, sunburn, chapped lips and general skin problems.
Calendula can be used specifically for use in inflamed lymphatic notes, duodenal ulcers, inflammatory skin lesions and can be used externally for leg ulcers and in conjunctivitis as an eye lotion.
Calendula is available as a cream, an ointment, an extract and a tincture, and an infusion can be made by adding fresh or dried flower petals to boiling water and steeping then straining. Calendula can be obtained from health food stores, pharmacies and naturopathic dispensaries, and can also be easily grown in the home garden.