Latin name: Calendula officinalis
Other name: marigold

What is Calendula?
The flower petals of the calendula plant have been used for medicinal purposes since at least as far back as the twelfth century. Traditionally, calendula has been used to treat upset stomachs and ulcers, as well as to relieve menstrual cramps. Calendula is native to the Mediterranean region and is now grown throughout the world. Nearly all parts of the plant serve a useful purpose:  the leaves are eaten raw, the flower is used as a dye for fabrics and an alternative to saffron for food coloring, the petals are used as a hair rinse, the plant’s essential oil is used in perfumes, and the petals can be made into an aromatic tea.

What are the health benefits of Calendula?
Calendula contains high amounts of flavonoids, antioxidants that protect the body against cell-damaging free radicals. With its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, calendula is used to treat fevers and infections and lower blood pressure. A tea made from the petals is used to tone circulation and ease the severity of varicose veins.

Today, topical applications of calendula are common. Calendula has been shown to speed healing of wounds, and the dried petals of the calendula plant are used in tinctures, ointments, and washes for healing of burns, bruises, cuts, and minor skin infections. Additionally, calendula helps heal eczema and psoriasis. Homeopathic doctors prescribe ointments containing calendula to heal first-degree burns and sunburn. Calendula cream is also used to treat hemorrhoids.

Calendula tea helps soothe ulcers. Gargle with cool tea for inflamed tonsils, gum and mouth infections, or canker sores.

What are the guidelines for taking Calendula?
Calendula salve is a useful product to have in your first-aid kit or home medicine chest. In addition to treating minor cuts and hemorrhoids, the salve or cream is helpful for chapped lips and diaper rash. To make calendula tea, boil 2 cups of water over 3/4 cup of dried flowers and steep for 15 minutes.

Where can I find Calendula?
Fresh or dried calendula petals are available in tinctures, liquid extracts, infusions, ointments, salves, and creams. Calendula can be found in health food stores or vitamin stores, online and at herbal pharmacies. Keep in mind that not all household plants called marigold are members of the Calendula genus.

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This entry was posted in Herbs, Natural Health Dictionary.