Botanical: Calendula officinalis
Part Used: Flower
Calendula is related to burdock and chamomile, herbs that are also used for their skin soothing properties. You could say that healing skin is “in the family”. It is also called “pot marigold” although it is no relation to the french marigold seen in so many annual gardens. Calendula’s chemical composition include compounds that reduce inflammation and combat infection from bacterial, fungal, and viral sources. In addition, compounds in calendula actually help the skin knit itself back together after a tear has occurred.
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reports that recent findings show calendula ointments are more useful than traditional topical applications for the skin irritation and discomfort of radiation treatments. Most of the Calendula creams on the market contain very little (if any) actual calendula and could be called “calendula” in name only. For this reason, it is best to buy calendula or its tincture, salve or lotion from a reputable grower.
Culinary Uses for Calendula
Its flowers have been used to give cheese a yellow color.
Cosmetic Uses for Calendula
This herb is an emollient and can help to moisturize dry skin. It also contains carotenoids which nourish the skin.
An interesting benefit of it’s flowers: it is very beneficial in getting rid of an oily complexion naturally. Make an infusion of fresh calendula flowers and applied to the skin at least once a day and allowed to remain for 10 minutes before washing it off.
Using Calendula for Wellness
The most popular medicinal use is in treating irritated membrane conditions. During the Civil War, doctors used the leaves to treat open wounds on the battlefield. The flower is among the most soothing of herbs for salves. For soothing children’s skin, herbalist Aviva Romm, author of Natural Healing for Babies and Children, uses it along with chickweed leaf, plantain leaf, comfrey leaf, and chamomile flower. One study of calendula for wounds showed that it noticeably stimulates physiological regeneration and skin healing.
Calendula oil has been used for aiding in the healing and discomfort of ear aches. Place 2 to 3 drops in the ear and place a heated rice bag or hot water bottle over it. (Not for ruptured ear drums and if symptoms get worse, check with your doctor.) 
For ear mites in pets, place a few drops in their ear. Gently massage the area to work it in a bit, if they’ll let you. 
Calendula has antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it useful for salves and balms, for cuts, wounds, bruises, blisters, and mild burns. Diaper rash and insect bites will benefit from using this helpful herb.
Know this, from abrasions to athlete’s foot, calendula salve dabbed on injured skin will hurt less and heal faster.
Diluted tincture applied topically heals venous leg ulcers 4 times faster than placebo.
Dose: 3-6 grams 3x/day in tea; 1.5-3 mL of a 1:5 tincture 3x/day
- Calendula is regarded as safe. However, persons with allergies to other members of the Asteraceae family (such as feverfew, chamomile, or Echinacea species) should exercise caution, as allergic cross-reactivity to Asteraceae plants is common.
- Not to be taken internally in pregnancy.
“The Marigold which goes to bed with the sun, And with him rises, weeping.”
– Shakespeare, “The Winter’s Tale”
- Klouchek-Popova E, Popov A, Pavlova N, Krusteva S. Influence of the physiological regeneration and epithelialization using fractions isolated from Calendula officinalis. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg 1982;8(4):63-7 Standard skin wounds have been surgically induced in Wistar albino rats. The wounds were covered with 5% unguentum containing fractions C1 and C5, isolated from the flowers of Calendula officinalis belonging to fam. Compositae, in combination with allantoin. Epithelization has been determined in dynamics as a percentage compared with the beginning of the experiment, using the formula (formula: see text), where t is the wound surface in mm2 and n is the respective day after the beginning of the experiment. The wound exudate has been studied cytologically using light- and fluorescent microscopy on the 8th, 24th and 48th hour after inflicting the wounds. The histological changes in biopsy material taken from the edges of the wounds on the 10th day have also been investigated. The drug combination applied markedly stimulates physiological regeneration and epithelialization. This effect is assumed to be due to more intensive metabolism of glycoproteins, nucleoproteins and collagen proteins during the regenerative period in the tissues.
- Klouchek-Popova E, Popov A, Pavlova N, Krusteva S. Influence of the physiological regeneration and epithelialization using fractions isolated from Calendula officinalis. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg 1982;8(4):63-7 Therapeutic effectiveness of a Calendula officinalis extract in venous leg ulcer healing.
- Calendula Oil & Salve