Calendula

Calendula officinalis or Pot Marigold is one of the most popular wound healing herbs. Its petals open in the morning to greet the sun and close before sunset. For this reason, it’s been referred to as Solis Sponsa the bride of the sun.

Originally from Northwest Africa, this member of the Aster family (Asteraceae) loves the sun and warm garden areas. It’s not frost tender and its seeds can be sown in the Fall. The double orange variety has the highest concentration of constituents and is, therefore, preferred for medicinal preparation.

Medicinal use of Calendula

Calendula is one of the most popular wound healing herbs. No wonder because it can be well tolerated, has no side effects and is milder than Anica.

The high content of carotenoid is what makes Calendula a superb topic anti-inflammatory and ensures a quick wound closure. It also promotes the healing of wounds and the formation of tissue. Furthermore, it fosters lymphatic drainage and prevents the build up of water in the tissues (edema). The carotenoids also promote soft, smooth and supple skin.

The essential oils and the flavonoids inhibit the growth of bacteria.

The saponins are antiviral and effective against the Herpes virus. They are also anti-fungal, especially against Candida monosa, and anti-protozoan.

Moreover, the polysaccharides stimulate the immune system.

Externally, Calendula:

  • Reduces inflammation of skin and mucosa
  • Treats boils, acne, abscesses and ulcers
  • Soothes eczema
  • Lower inflammation of the veins
  • Relieves hemorrhoids (sitz bath)
  • Heals scraped knees
  • Treats hematoma
  • Hydrated dry and chapped hands and lips
  • Speeds up the healing of slow healing wounds
  • Prevents and treats bed sores
  • Prevents and treats sore nipples during lactation
  • Treats diaper rash
  • Heals burns (up to second-degree) and frostbites
  • Soothes radiation burns from cancer treatment
  • Promotes scar tissue (cicatrization)
  • Speeds up healing of wound after operation and amputation
  • Heals conjunctivitis
  • Reduces inflammation of the mouth (cold sores) and gums (periodontitis)
  • Speeds up healing of gums after tooth extraction
  • Soothes tonsillitis
  • Helps treat venous ulcers (not enough without improving blood circulation)
  • Relieves insect bites

Internally, Calendula is good to:

Constituents

Triterpene saponins, triterpene alcohol, flavonoids, carotenoids, lycopene, xanthophylls, coumarin, mucilage polysaccharides, essential oils (10 times more in the disc florets as in the ray florets), allantoin (three times more in the capitullum as in the ray flowers), phytosterols, salicylic acid, oleanolic acid, bitters

Daily dose

1-2 g petals per glass of water
1-2 tablespoons (2-4 ml) tincture diluted in 250-500 ml water.

Homemade preparations
  • Infusion
  • Salve
  • Tincture
  • Oil
  • Cream and body butter
  • Lotion
  • Soap
Cultivation

Calendula is easy to cultivate as it doesn’t need any special care. Sow the seeds between March and May in a sunny spot in the garden. Thin, if needed. Calendula needs lots of light and good air circulation and, therefore, should not be planted too closely. As an alternative, sow in the Fall. Calendula will self-sow easily if you don’t deadhead the last flowers of the season. Remember that as with all Summer flowering annuals, deadheading and harvesting stimulate more flowers.

Harvest

Harvest Calendula in full bloom on a sunny day between 11 and 12 in the morning. The flower head (capitullum) and disc florets contain a lot more essential oils and the wound healing compound allantoin so use the flower head as well in your preparations.

Drying

Calendula contains a lot of mucilage and, easily molds. Therefore, it is very important to let the flowers dry a bit before using them. When making Calendula oil, cover the glass with a paper towel for the first three days to allow evaporation and prevent molding.

Side effects

None

Contra-indications

None

Culinary use

Calendula is also called Pot Marigold because in the past they were a common ingredient in soups and stews in Germany. The petals add color to cheese and butter and are a nice and colorful addition to salads.

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