Herbal Monograph: Calendula

Posted by Emily Rubeo on

If there was an herb that brings comfort and love to my mind, it would be Calendula. It is a plant I absolutely love growing, harvesting and using. It is so beautiful, beneficial and hearty.  Calendula is an incredibly versatile plant high in anti-oxidants and flavonoids that is both astrigent and demulcent! It is wonderful for babies and children as it is potent in its healing but incredibly soothing and gentle.
So.. let's learn more about it!
Common Name: Pot Marigold, garden marigold (not to be confused with Tagetes spp. marigold)
Botanical Name: Calendula officinalis
Part used: Flower buds, flowers and leaves
Key constituents: Carotenoids, flavonoids, mucilage, saponins, bitters, sterols, volatile oil, amino acids and resins
Energetics: Warming, drying. Opinions vary as to calendula’s energetic profile. Some herbalists view calendula as warming and as having an overall drying effect on the constitution; however, it also has a soothing demulcent effect on mucosal membranes and is used for dryness and irritation in those tissues. Others suggest that the herb is neutral and possibly cooling.
Taste: Pungent, Bitter
Actions and properties: Anti-inflammatory, astringent, vulnerary, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, immune modulating, anti-spasmodic, lymphatic, hepatic, slightly demulcent.
Plant uses: Burns, sores, inflammation, sore throats, wounds, dermatitis, enlarged lymph glands, infections, indigestion, spasms, tumors, ear inflammation and mucosistis,
Medicinal uses:
      Wound healing: If there is one place that Calendula really shines it is its effect on the skin and mucous membranes. Calendula is amazingly healing. It is a potent vulnerary; healing wounds and promoting cell growth and repair. It can also affect blood flow to skin cells and provides powerful antioxidant and radiation protection.  In one study, patients with venous leg ulcers were treated with a Calendula ointment and had a statistically significant acceleration of wound healing.  These qualities also make Calendula work well for healing internal ulcers. To be most effective, make a long infused tea (decoction).  Calendula's wound healing abilities make it one of the best herbs for postpartum care sitz baths and on sore, cracked nipples.
    Rashes, scratches, itches and bug bites: When in doubt, just try some Calendula cream! This herb is such an all purpose plant for many skin conditions. Even if the cause of a rash is unknown, Calendula can help soothe discomfort while you figure it out. Calendula is a known antiseptic and anti-inflammatory herb. It can be used to keep infections at bay and is commonly used for bruises, burns, sores, infections and rashes. It is also used to relieve itching and pain from chicken pox and has been shown to be very effective against diaper dermatitis. 
    Skin health: You'll often find Calendula used in creams and oils as it has been shown to promote elasticity and hydration. Calendula can help keep the skin soft, pliable and healthy.  It helps repair damaged skin, soothe after sunburn and protect against the damage of radiation therapy. Calendula can also be used to reduce scar tissue. It can be used both externally and internally to support blood vessel health and decrease varicosities including hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
    Liver Support: Calendula offers mild liver support largely due to its bitter flavor when decocted. This gives these flowers an affinity for the liver and clearing liver stagnation.
    Antimicrobial: This is another area where Calendula really shines. It possesses antimicrobial and antifungal actions. Calendula is commonly used for fungal infections, mastitis thrush, gum disease, urinary tract infections and conjunctivitis.
    Stagnant Lymph: Calendula is also one of the best herbs for cleansing the lymphatic system. It can also be used internally to combat infections. Calendula stimulates the immune system and lymphatic drainage. It is used for all sorts of stagnant lymph conditions including swollen glands, breast cysts, pelvic cysts and intestinal bleeding.
    Leaky gut and intestinal health: Calendula in combination with other herbs has been shown to be effective at repairing damage and healing the gut lining. This damage can occur from prescription drugs, alcohol, processed foods, imbalances, allergies, intolerances and infections.
    Diaphoretic: Though not the strongest action, Calendula has a mild diaphoretic effect that is helpful for supporting fevers. A strong, warm tea is needed for this effect.
Safety: It has a perfect safety record with no toxicity reported. It can be used for cradle cap, diaper rash and many other skin irritations. Use with caution if you are allergic to members of the Aster family.
Growing Calendula: Sow seeds directly in the spring (it will self-sow too). Calendula is very hearty and will withstand some neglect and poor soil or sun. It also grows easily in pots. Continually snip the flowers and they will bloom for months. The blossoms will get a sticky resin. This is wonderful medicine which is antifungal!

Adult Dose

Tincture: 1-4 mL (1:5, 60%) up to 3x/day (Hoffmann, 2003). 

Tea: 8 fl oz (1-2 teaspoons dried flowers in 1 cup boiling water) up to 3x/day (Hoffmann, 2003).

Topical: Lotion, salve, or wash as needed (Hoffmann, 2003).

Given all the amazing benefits of Calendula, it won't surprise you find all the places we use it here at Handmade by Bumble!

All of our Herbal Deodorants

First Aid Ointment

Herbal Body Oil: Bee Intimate

Herbal Belly Oil

Sitz Bath

Cold and Flu Buster

Herbal Ear Drops

Herbal Face Scrub

Gentle Makeup Remover

Cold Process Lard Soap: Oat and Herb 

Foaming Herbal Baby Wash and Shampoo

Cloth Wipe Solution Concentrate

Nourishing Herbal Baby Oil

Soothing Nipple Balm

 References:

Wood, Matthew. The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants.

Hoffman, David. Medical Herbalism.

Stansbury, Dr. Jill. Herbal Formulations for Health Professionals: Digestion and Elimination.

Romm, Aviva. Botanical Medicine for Women's Health.

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