Calendula (Calendula officinalis) Herbal Medicine

Calendula Health Benefits, Dosage, Side effects and Warnings.


Scientific Name: Calendula officinalis   L. Family: Compositae

Other names:

Calendula, garden marigold, gold bloom, holligold, marygold, pot marigold, marybud

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) or more commonly known as pot marigold is an annual or perennial herbaceous plant in the daisy family Asteraceae. Calendula, is one of the most common herbs and can be found growing in people's homes throughout North America and Europe Calendula is believed to have originated from Egypt and native in Southern Europe but is now cultivated throughout the world as a garden plant. Calendula has long been used as herbal medicine to promote healing of skin wounds and reduce inflammation. Calendula is also used in folk medicine to treat fever, dysmenorrheal and even cancer. Calendula, because of its pungent odor, is also used as an insect repellant.

Calendula is a short-lived aromatic perennial plant, growing to about 50 cm in height. Calendula produces inflorescences or cluster of flowers that are bright yellow in color with thick flower head about 5 cm in diameter. Calendula flowers are surrounded by two rows of bracts that are also yellow colored. Calendula leaves are green, simple, and hairy in both sides with oblong-lanceolate shape that grows to about 5 to 15 cm long with toothed margins. Calendula fruit is a thorny that has seeds that looks like an apostrophe that is about 5mm in length

Calendula Traditional Medicinal Uses and Health benefits

Calendula has a long history of medical usage and has much value today and in traditional cultures as a homeopathic remedy. Calendula has a long list of folkloric health benefits a few of which are the following:

Anti-inflammatory activity. Calendula is applied to the skin to reduce pain and swelling (inflammation). It is used to treat wounds and ulcers, Calendula is also applied topically to treat haemorrhoids. Inflammation of the rectum,  inflammation of the eyelids (conjunctivitis) and  varicose veins.

Treatment of body pains. Calendula oil is normally massage to prevent muscle spasms and treat body and joint pains such as arthritis, rheumatism, gout, bursitis and others.

Cancer treatment and prevention. Calendula is also believe to help fight and treat cancer

Stomach problems. Taken internally Calendula tincture and tea are used in the treatment of digestive inflammation and gastric or duodenal ulcers.

Gall bladder problem. Calendula tea promotes discharge of bile from the gall-bladder that aids in the relief of gall-bladder problem.

Detoxification. Calendula extract and tea is used to detoxify the body.

Diuretic. Calendula tea induces urination that helps in the removal of excess body fluids.

Boosts the immune system. Calendula tea can help strengthen the immune system

Anti-fungal activity. Calendula oil has anti-fungal action and is used for athlete's foot,

Menstruation. Calendula tincture is used to start menstruation and to relieve menstrual pains. Calendula encourages the flow of menstruation and promote normal menstruation cycle

Alleviates menopausal symptoms. Calendula tea has been used to treat menopausal symptoms in women.

Anti-bacterial and Anti-viral Activity. Calendula oil and tinctures has antibacterial and antiviral actions.

Promotes healing. Calendula is used for treating wounds and sores. Calendula helps stimulate the production of collagen and wound healing.

Sedative activity. Calendula contains calendulozide B that has sedative and anti-ulcer activity.

Other traditional uses of Calendula oil, tincture and tea.

Science Research: Calendula Health Benefits

Wound Healing and Anti-Inflammatory Effect in Animal Models of Calendula officinalis L. Growing in Brazil

Calendula officinalis is an annual herb from Mediterranean origin which is popularly used in wound healing and as an anti-inflammatory agent. In this study, the ethanolic extract, the dichloromethane, and hexanic fractions of the flowers from plants growing in Brazil were produced. The angiogenic activity of the extract and fractions was evaluated through the chorioallantoic membrane and cutaneous wounds in rat models. The healing activity of the extract was evaluated by the same cutaneous wounds model through macroscopic, morphometric, histopathologic, and immunohistochemical analysis. The antibacterial activity of the extract and fractions was also evaluated. This experimental study revealed that C. officinalis presented anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities as well as angiogenic and fibroplastic properties acting in a positive way on the inflammatory and proliferative phases of the healing process. Source: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 375671.

Calendula officinalis produces a dual in vitro effect: cytotoxic anti-tumor activity and lymphocyte activation

Phytopharmacological studies of different Calendula extracts have shown anti-inflamatory, anti-viral and anti-genotoxic properties of therapeutic interest. In this study, we evaluated the in vitro cytotoxic anti-tumor and immunomodulatory activities and in vivo anti-tumor effect of Laser Activated Calendula Extract (LACE), a novel extract of the plant Calendula Officinalis (Asteraceae). These results indicate that LACE aqueous extract has two complementary activities in vitro with potential anti-tumor therapeutic effect: cytotoxic tumor cell activity and lymphocyte activation. The LACE extract presented in vivo anti-tumoral activity in nude mice against tumor growth of Ando-2 melanoma cells. Source:  BMC Cancer. 2006; 6: 119.

Antimicrobial activity of Calendula officinalis, against the adherence of microorganisms to sutures after extraction of unerupted third molars.

The objective of this study was to compare the antimicrobial effect of mouthwashes containing Calendula officinalis L., Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze and 0.12% chlorhexidine digluconate on the adherence of microorganisms to suture materials after extraction of unerupted third molars. The three mouthwashes tested reduced the number of microorganisms adhered to the sutures compared to the control group. However, significant differences between the control and experimental groups were only observed for the mouthwash containing 0.12% chlorhexidine digluconate. Calendula officinalis L. and Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze presented antimicrobial activity against the adherence of microorganisms to sutures but were not as efficient as chlorhexidine digluconate. Source: J Appl Oral Sci. 2011 Oct;19(5):476-82.

Effects of Calendula officinalis on human gingival fibroblasts.

Calendula officinalis is commonly called the marigold. It is a staple topical remedy in homeopathic medicine. It is rich in quercetin, carotenoids, lutein, lycopene, rutin, ubiquinone, xanthophylls, and other anti-oxidants. It has anti-inflammatory properties. Quercetin, one of the active components in Calendula, has been shown to inhibit recombinant human matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity and decrease the expression of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β (IL), IL-6 and IL-8 in phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and calcium ionophore-stimulated human mast cells. Calendula at 2-3% completely inhibited the MMP-2 activity in the zymograms. Doxycycline inhibited HGF-mediated collagen degradation at 0.005, 0.01, 0.02 and 0.05%, and MMP-2 activity completely at 0.05%. Quercetin inhibited HGF-mediated collagen degradation at 0.005, 0.01 and 0.02%, and MMP-2 activity in a dose-dependent manner. Calendula inhibited HGF-mediated collagen degradation and MMP-2 activity more than the same correlated concentration of pure quercetin. Calendula inhibits HGF-mediated collagen degradation and MMP-2 activity more than the corresponding concentration of quercetin. This may be attributed to additional components in Calendula other than quercetin. Source: Homeopathy. 2012 Apr;101(2):92-8. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2012.02.003.

Hepato and reno protective action of Calendula officinalis L. flower extract.

Flower extract of C. officinalis L. was evaluated for its protective effect against CCl4 induced acute hepatotoxicity and cisplatin induced nephrotoxicity. The activities of serum marker enzymes of liver injury like glutamate pyruvate transaminase (SGPT), glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (SGOT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) which were increased by CCl4 injection was found to be significantly reduced by the pretreatment of the flower extract at 100 and 250 mg/kg body weight. The lipid peroxidation in liver, the marker of membrane damage and the total bilirubin content in serum were also found to be at significantly low level in the extract pretreated group, indicating its protective role. The kidney function markers like urea and creatinine were significantly increased in cisplatin treated animals. However, their levels were found to be lowered in the extract pretreated groups (100 and 250 mg/kg body weight). Moreover, cisplatin induced myelosuppression was ameliorated by the extract pretreatment. Treatment with the extract produced enhancement of antioxidant enzymes--superoxide dismutase and catalase and glutathione. Results suggest a protective role of the flower extract of C. officinalis against CCl4 induced acute hepatotoxicity and cisplatin induced nephrotoxicity. Extract has been found to contain several carotenoids of which lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene predominates. Possible mechanism of action of the flower extract may be due to its antioxidant activity and reduction of oxygen radicals. Source: Indian J Exp Biol. 2009 Mar;47(3):163-8.

How to Get and How to Use

Where can I get or buy Calendula?

Calendula plant is cultivated and is a popularr garden plant. Calendula seeds or young plant can be sourced through local horticulturist. Calendula flower is normally used to prepare herbal medicine, but the petals, leaves and roots are also used.

Calendula is also commercially prepared as oil, tincture, lotions, creams, salves and as an ingredient in cosmetic products. Calendula supplements are available in most fitness and health stores. Calendula is also available online via Amazon as listed: Herb Pharm Certified Organic Calendula Oil for example, there are other brands, be sure to select one from a reputable manufacturer and do follow the suggested dosage.

Calendula tea  can be prepared using 2 to 4 grams of dried Calendula flower in a cup of boiling water. Taken 2 to 3 times a day.

Calendula oil and tincture as supplement. Taken as directed.

Calendula ointment, creams and lotions. Apply as directed from the labels.

Calendula tea or decoction. tea

  1. Prepare about a teaspoon of dried Calendula flower for every cup of water.
  2. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes
  3. Let it steep and strain
  4. Store in a glass jar for later consumption
  5. Drink 1 cup, twice to three times a day after meals.

You can add other herbs or honey to improve the efficacy and taste.

Dosage, Warnings and Side Effects

Potentially safe. Calendula plant parts such as flowers, leaves and roots if taken on recommended dosage is possibly safe for most adults.

May cause allergic reaction. Calendula may cause skin allergic reaction to sensitive people to ragweed.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There are no sufficient studies done to determine the safe use of Calendula herbal medicine during pregnancy and in breast feeding. Use is not recommended.

Just like in any other herbal medicines, moderation of use is recommended. Prolonged use is discouraged.

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