Calendula is an annual plant that thrives in almost any soil. It belongs to the same family as daisies, chrysanthemums, and ragweed. Its branching stems grow to a height of 30 - 60 cm, and it blooms from early spring until frost. The orange-yellow petals of the flowerheads are used medicinally.
The flowers are added to salads and sandwiches.
The petals or leaves can be used in a tea to induce sweating, promote menstruation, increase urination, relieve stomach cramps, indigestion and stomachaches, and for relief from flu and fevers. Externally, Calendula flowers and leaves can be made into an ointment or powder for a variety of common skin ailments, including cuts, scrapes, abrasions, scalds, blisters, acne, rashes (including diaper rash), chicken pox outbreaks, and athlete's foot. For bee stings, rub the fresh flowers directly on the sting to relieve the pain.
A Calendula rinse made of unsweetened tea brings out the highlights in blonde and brunette hair. Also try running bath water over a mesh bag full of Calendula flowers for a refreshing and stimulating bath that is good for the skin.
Calendula petals are used to make a tea that is taken internally for ulcers in the digestive tract as well as for painful menstruation. The tea is used externally as a gargle or mouthwash for canker sores, gum disease, sore throat and tonsillitis.
The golden yellow flowers of Calendula have been used as medicine for centuries. Traditionally, Calendula have been used to treat conjunctivitis, blepharitis, skin ulcerations, eczema, gastritis, minor burns including sunburns, warts, and injuries such as sprains and speeds healing of wounds (possibly because it increases blood flow to the affected area). It has also been used to treat cramps, coughs, and snake bites.
Historically, Calendula flowers have been considered beneficial in reducing inflammation, and used as an antiseptic. Taken internally through a tea, it has been used for treatment of stomach ulcers and inflammation. A sterile tea has been used to treat infections of the eye, like conjunctivitis, however, this practice should be attempted with caution.
Calendula today, is being investigated for it's anticancer properties. In conjunction with other herbs such as Echinacea purpurea, Scorzonera humilis L., and Aconitum moldavicum, there has been evidence of success in treating certain cancers.
Calendula has been effective in treating juvenile acne and dry phthiriasis. Improvement has been seen in as little as 3-4 days of treatment.
Calendula contains high amounts of flavonoids, plant-based antioxidants that protect the body against cell-damaging free radicals. Researchers are not sure what active ingredients in calendula are responsible for its healing properties, but it appears to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial effects.
Traditionally, calendula has been used to treat upset stomachs and ulcers, as well as relieve menstrual cramps. Today, topical applications of calendula are more common, especially in. , and the dried petals of the calendula plant are used in tinctures, ointments, and washes for the healing of burns, bruises, and cuts, as well as the minor infections they cause.
Burns, cuts, and bruises Calendula tinctures, ointments, and washes are commonly used to speed the healing of burns, bruises, and cuts, as well as the minor infections they cause. Calendula cream is also used to treat hemorrhoids. Animal studies show that calendula does appear to speed wound healing, possibly by increasing blood flow to the wounded area and by helping the body produce collagen proteins, which are used to heal skin and connective tissue. Although no scientific studies in humans support these uses, applying calendula topically is considered safe.
Homeopaths often recommend ointments containing calendula to heal first-degree burns and sunburns.
Ear infection (otitis media) Ear drops containing calendula are sometimes used to treat ear infections in children.
Caution; People who are sensitive to plants in the daisy or aster family, including chrysanthemums and ragweed, may have an allergic reaction to calendula (usually a skin rash). Calendula is also known to affect the menstrual cycle and should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Calendula may interact with sedative and antihypertensive (blood pressure) drugs, so be warned.
Tea; can be made from the flowers.Use 1 - 2 teaspoons dry or 2 to 4 teaspoons fresh petals per 200 - 250 ml of water. Pour boiling water over the petals and allow to steep for 10 - 15 minutes. Strain and drink. Generally 3 cups of tea a day is beneficial. Mouthwash/Gargle: Rinse mouth or gargle with the cooled tea.
Calendula flowers or leaves can be dried and used in powder form for situations in which it is inconvenient to make a tea for internal use. A powder for external uses can be made by drying Calendula flowers, then grinding and mixing them with cornstarch.
Calendula can be used externally in creams and ointments in dosages of 2 - 5 g calendula per 100 g cream or ointment. Calendula products should always be protected from light and moisture, and should not be stored for more than 3 years.
Adult Dosage Infusion: 1 tsp (5 - 10 g) dried florets in 8 oz (250 mL) water; steep 10 - 15 minutes; drink two to three cups per day. Fluid extract (1:1 in 40% alcohol): 0.5 - 1.0 mL three times per day. Tincture (1:5 in 90% alcohol): 5 - 10 drops (1 - 2 mL) three times per day. Ointment: 2 - 5% calendula; apply 3 - 4 times per day as needed
Use only topical and homeopathic preparations for children.
Flowers produce a bright yellow dye. Dry flowers for potpourri. Western Australia has been investigating Calendula for control of the Redlegged earth mite. Halotydeus destructor - Redlegged earth mite - is a major pest of pastures and crops in Australia. In some cases, the crops had better growth and production when Calendula were planted as a decoy crop. The Calendula were heavily attacked while the damage to crops were less.