Calendula is a species of plant better known as marigold, pot marigold, garden marigold or gold bloom. Calendula has been grown for centuries and was named this by the Romans as it bloomed at the beginning of every calendar month. There are nearly 20 species of marigold in the Asteraceae family. The genus calendula officinalis is the flower used for culinary and medicinal purposes. It’s not to be confused with common marigolds from the Tagets genus that are seen in gardens and decorative baskets. 1
Calendula flowers are recognized by bright yellow, orange and red petals that emit a peculiar scent described as musky, wooden and even rotten. 3,4
Calendula is an easy plant to grow and care for. It’s often grown year-round in warmer outdoor climates and in bright windows during winters in northern regions. Flowers should be picked at the height of their bloom and in midday when dew has evaporated. Calendula flowers replace themselves monthly and continue to produce when they’re trimmed by harvesting. 2
Calendula flowers can be eaten raw or dried for health benefits. It’s often distilled into calendula oil that is a popular ingredient in herbal health and hygiene products like shampoos, soaps, toothpaste and skin care products. Calendula also works as a base oil in aromatherapy. 1,2
Calendula Health Uses and Health Benefits
Calendula health benefits include being packed with flavonoids as well as glycosides, terpenoids, saponins, carotenoids, volatile oils and other highly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. 3,4
Calendula oil is highly effective as an oral or topical treatment for skin wounds and rashes. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties provide other calendula health benefits for skin like softening dry skin from eczema or dermatitis, and relieving skin burns. Calendula health benefits also help to calm muscle spasms, aid in menstruation, improve oral health and even discouraging cancer. 2
Other calendula uses for health include:
- Conjunctivitis - Conjunctivitis is commonly known as pink eye which is an inflammation of the outermost layer of the eye’s white part. The infection turns the eye a reddish-pink color and is highly contagious. Anti-inflammatory properties in calendula oil make it an effective pink eye treatment.
- Chickenpox - Topically applying calendula oils or creams from calendula relieves discomfort from chickenpox lesions. Calendula is an exceptional skin remedy and promotes fast healing from its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects.
- Sunburn - Applying calendula oil to sunburn gives fast relief to pain and speeds healing of skin damaged by ultraviolet radiation. Calendula oil is one of the best sunburn medications due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and calendula health benefits for skin.
- Eczema (Dermatitis) - Dry skin from eczema or dermatitis can be treated by rubbing calendula oil into dry and scaly areas. Calendula health benefits for skin help to restore damaged skin by moisturizing and soothing eczema areas.
- Gastritis - One of the important calendula uses for health is for digestion. Intestinal discomfort related to gastritis can be relieved by drinking a tea made from dried calendula flowers.
- Skin Abrasions - Calendula oil has fast healing qualities for skin abrasions due to its ability to induce blood flow to skin cells. Topical application of calendula oil to sore skin brings quick pain relief and healing.
Calendula Side Effects and Precautions
There are very few calendula side effects and little precautions to be taken when using calendula internally or externally. 1,2,3
Anyone who is allergic to plants in the aster family including ragweed, chamomile and echinacea should avoid using calendula. 2
Calendula is known to induce menstruation, therefore pregnant women should not take calendula internally as it could result in a miscarriage. Lactating women may have milk flow interrupted because of calendula side effects. 2
Sedative medications and central nervous system depressants interact with calendula and can cause excessive drowsiness. Avoid taking calendula internally if using medications such as clonazepam, phenobarbital or zolpidem. 1