Calendula is also called garden marigold and is a living example of how beauty and usefulness can go hand in hand. Calendula flowers open to the morning sun showing their beautiful colors. In the evening, they close quietly until the following day.
People supporting the theory of signs, including Paracelsus and other Renaissance physicians, recommended calendula for jaundice and gall bladder disorders because of the bile-like color of its flowers. Those pioneers of medicine were not so wrong; since now we know its properties on a scientific basis, calendula is still used for the same purposes and for other ones that have also been discovered.
Calendula Scientific Facts
- Other names – Garden marigold, holigold, marigold, Mary bud, pot marigold.
- Scientific name – Calendual officinalis L.
- French – Souci des jardins.
- Spanish – Calendula.
- Environment – Native to Egypt, it is now cultivated in gardens as an ornamental flower all over Europe and America, but it can also be found wild.
- Description – Herbaceous plant of the Compositae family, growing from 30-50 centimeters high, with elongated, toothed, fleshy leaves and exuberant, yellow, or orange flowers.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally – The flowers.
The flowers of this plant contain carotenoids (provitamin A), a bitter component (Calendine), flavonoids, saponins, resin, essential oil, and small amounts of salicylic acid. All these substances combine themselves to turn this flower into a precious remedy. Its most outstanding properties are as follows:
- Emmenagogue and menstrual regulator – The plant is useful both for scanty menstruation, due to its emmenagogue properties, and when there is excessive bleeding. Therefore, calendula normalizes both the frequency and the quality of menstruation. It also eases the pain caused by menstruation (dysmenorrhea) since it has spasmolytic (combats painful spasms) and mild sedative properties. It must be taken from one week before the menstruation period until it has ended. Results are noticeable.
- Choleretic – It increases bile production in the liver. The plant is thus recommended for liver congestion or insufficiency.
- Antiulceration – Calendula can heal stomach and duodenal ulcerations. Its effects are more intense when taken in association with nettle and speedwell. Due to its healing and anti-inflammatory properties, it is also effective for gastritis (stomach inflammation), gastroenteritis, and vomiting.
- Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and healing – This is one of the most outstanding plants for its vulnerary properties, that is to say, for healing wounds and bruises. When locally applied, it notably speeds up wound healing, even when these are infected, and skin sores, burns, furuncles, and eczema. When applied to joints, it has antirheumatic properties.
- Wart remover – In local applications, it makes viral warts (common warts) of the skin disappear. The salicylic acid causes this effect in it.
- Emollient – (skin soothing). Calendula oil soothes and hydrates the skin. It is recommended for dry or delicate skins and children. Both the oil and the cream render relevant results for treating burns and eczema.
How to use Calendula
- Infusion with 1 to 2 flowers per cup of water. Drink two or three cups daily, which can be sweetened with honey.
- Compresses and baths with a decoction made with two handfuls of flowers per liter of water. Apply to the affected area.
- Poultices with fresh flower petals applied wrapped on a fine cotton cloth.
- Lotion with fresh juice of flowers applied in the affected skin area.
- Oil – It is directly applied to the skin and can also be added to the bathwater to achieve a pleasant soothing effect.
- Cream – It can be prepared by pressing 100 grams of fresh flowers and mixing the resulting juice with 500 grams of butter or other fatty substance.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 626, 627. Print.