A Field Marigold flower (Calendula arvensis)Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name : Calendula Officinalis
Family:    Asteraceae
Tribe:    Calenduleae
Genus:    Calendula
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Asterales

Common Names:  Garden marigold, Poet’s marigold, Pot marigold

Habitat : Calendula  is native to southwestern Asia, western Europe, Macaronesia, and the Mediterranean.

The petals of the calendula plant (Calendula officinalis) have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Often referred to as pot marigold or garden marigold, calendula is native to Mediterranean countries but is now grown as an ornamental plant throughout the world. It is important to note, however, that not all household plants called marigold are members of the calendula family.
Folk medicine healers in Europe used infusions, extracts, and ointments prepared with calendula petals to induce menstruation, produce sweat during fevers, and cure jaundice. Calendula preparations were also used in the United States during the 19th century to treat stomach ulcers, liver complaints, conjunctivitis (pink eye), and wounds. Researchers soon discovered that compounds in calendula petals help reduce inflammation and control bleeding. Today, the dried petals of the calendula plant are used in tinctures, ointments, and washes to speed the healing of burns, bruises, and cuts, as well as the minor infections they cause.

Calendula is an annual plant that thrives in virtually any soil but can typically be found in Europe, Western Asia, and the United States. Its branching stems grow to a height of 30 to 60 cm. Calendula has a flowerhead situated on a well-defined green floral receptacle. The inner portion of the flowerhead consists of orange-yellow, tubular florets (often called petals).

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Different Species include:
*Calendula arvensis (Vaill.) L. – field marigold, wild marigold
*Calendula denticulata Schousb. ex Willd.
*Calendula eckerleinii Ohle
*Calendula incana Willd.
*Calendula incana subsp. algarbiensis (Boiss.) Ohle
*Calendula incana subsp. maderensis (DC.) Ohle – Madeiran marigold
*Calendula incana subsp. maritima (Guss.) Ohle – sea marigold
*Calendula incana subsp. microphylla (Lange) Ohle
*Calendula lanzae Maire
*Calendula maritima Guss. – sea marigold
*Calendula maroccana (Ball) Ball
*Calendula maroccana subsp. maroccana
*Calendula maroccana subsp. murbeckii (Lanza) Ohle
*Calendula meuselii Ohle
*Calendula officinalis L. – pot marigold, garden marigold, ruddles, Scottish marigold
*Calendula palaestina Boiss.
*Calendula stellata Cav.
*Calendula suffruticosa Vahl
*Calendula suffruticosa subsp. balansae (Boiss. & Reut.) Ohle
*Calendula suffruticosa subsp. boissieri Lanza
*Calendula suffruticosa subsp. fulgida (Raf.) Guadagno
*Calendula suffruticosa subsp. lusitanica (Boiss.) Ohle
*Calendula suffruticosa subsp. maritima (Guss.) Meikle
*Calendula suffruticosa subsp. monardii (Boiss. & Reut.) Ohle
*Calendula suffruticosa subsp. tomentosa Murb.
*Calendula tripterocarpa Rupr.

Edible Uses:
Calendula species have been used in cooking for centuries. The flowers were a common ingredient in German soups and stews, which explains the nickname “pot marigold”. The lovely golden petals were also used to add color to butter and cheese. The flowers are traditional ingredients in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Calendula tea provides health benefits, as well as being delicious.
Meditional Uses:

Throughout the ages, tinctures made from calendula blossoms have been used to treat headaches, toothaches and even tuberculosis. The ancient Romans used calendula to treat scorpion bites and soldiers in the American Civil War found it helped stop wounds from bleeding. There is nothing better for sore or inflamed eyes than to bathe them in marigold water. Calendula is a popular salve and cream ingredient because it decreases the inflammation of sprains, stings, varicose veins and other swellings and soothes burns, sunburn, rashes and skin irritations. Laboratory studies show it kills bacteria and fungus such as ringworm, athlete’s foot. It is gentle enough to be applied as a tea to thrush in children’s mouths.

Taken internally, it has been used traditionally to promote the draining of swollen lymph glands, such as in tonsillitis and as part of the therapy for uterine or breast cancer, both as a poultice and as a tea. Herbalists report success in using a swab of calendula preparation or calendula boluses to treat abnormal cervical cells. Some antitumor activities have been observed in scientific studies. The infusion or tincture helps inflammatory problems of the digestive system such as gastritis, peptic ulcers, regional ileitis and colitis. Calendula has long been considered a detoxifying herb, and helps to treat the toxicity that underlies many fevers and infections and systemic skin disorders such as eczema and acne. The herb is also considered cleansing for the liver (promotes bile production) and gallbladder and can be used to treat problems affecting these organs. Makes a healing mouthwash for gums after tooth extraction.

Calendula has a mild estrogenic action and is often used to help reduce menstrual pain and regulate menstrual bleeding. The infusion makes an effective douche for yeast infections.

Ancient cultures recognized and used the healing properties of calendula. In some of the earliest medical writings, calendula was recommended for treating ailments of the digestive tract. It was used to detoxify the liver and gall bladder. The flowers were applied to cuts and wounds to stop bleeding, prevent infection and speed healing. Calendula was also used for various women’s ailments, and to treat a number of skin conditions. During the American Civil War, calendula flowers were used on the battlefields in open wounds as antihemorrhagic and antiseptic, and they were used in dressing wounds to promote healing. Calendula also was used in this way during World War I. Calendula has been historically significant in medicine in many cultures, and it is still important in alternative medicine today.

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.

Professional homeopaths often recommend ointments containing homeopathic doses of calendula to heal first-degree burns and sunburns. In fact, some homeopaths consider this remedy the treatment of choice for children. Homeopathic calendula ointments may also be used in the healing stages of second- and third-degree burns to stimulate regrowth of skin and to diminish scar formation.
Ear Infection
Homeopathic doses of calendula also appear to reduce pain caused by ear infections in children. In a study conducted in Israel, 103 children with ear infections were given herbal ear drops or drops containing pain-relieving medications. The herbal ear drops contained a variety of herbal extracts including calendula, St. John’s wort, mullein flower, and garlic. The researchers found that the combination of herbs in the ear drops were as effective as the medication ear drops in reducing the children’s ear pain

Preliminary laboratory studies also suggest that extracts of dried calendula petals inhibit the activity of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in test tubes. Calendula has not been studied in people with HIV, however, so it is not clear whether this herb is safe or effective for people with this condition.
Available Forms :
Fresh or dried calendula petals are available in tinctures, liquid extracts, infusions, ointments, and creams.
Calendula products should always be protected from light and moisture, and should not be used after three years of storage.
How to Take It

Use only topical and homeopathic preparations for children.
Calendula can be used externally in the form of creams and ointments in dosages of 2 to 5 g calendula per 100 g cream or ointment.
For homeopathic dosages follow instructions on product labeling or consult an experienced and licensed homeopath.
Recommended adult doses are as follows:
Infusion: 1 tsp dried florets in 8 oz water; steep 30 to 40 minutes; drink two to three cups per day
Fluid extract (1:1 in 40% alcohol): 0.5 to 1.0 mL three times per day
Tincture (1:5 in 90% alcohol): 2 to 4 mL three times per day
Ointment: 2 to 5 g crude drug in 100 g ointment

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain active substances that can trigger side effects and that can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of botanical medicine.

Frequent skin contact may result in an allergic reaction to the herb.

Calendula is also known to affect the menstrual cycle and should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Possible Interactions
There are no known scientific reports of interactions between calendula and conventional medications.

Ayurvedic uses of Calendula:    An anti-inflammatory component flavonoids, triterpene saponins are found. The flowers contain calenduline, and oleanolic acid glycoside, sterol glycosides, a- and ß-amyrin, taraxasterol, y – taraxasterol, lupeol, brein, faradiol, arnidiol, erythrodiol, calenduladiol, coflodiol (ursadiol) and manilladiol.. They also contain Calendula also contains carotenoids. Investigations into anticancer and antiviral actions of calendula are continuing. There is evidence suggesting use of calendula for some viral infections
Medicinal propertie from Ayurvedic view
: It has stimulant, bitter, tonic, sudorific, febrifuge, carminative, anti-emetic and anthelmintic properties. Calendulas have been used to treat conjunctivitis, blepharitis, eczema, gastritis, minor burns including sunburns, warts, and minor injuries such as sprains and wounds. Calendula flowers have been considered beneficial in reducing inflammation, wound healing, and used as an antiseptic. Calendula has been used to treat a variety of skin diseases and has been seen effective in treatment of skin ulcerations and eczema.

If taken internally through a tea, it has been used for treatment of stomach ulcers, and inflammation. Calendula has been effective in treating juvenile acne and dry phthiriasis. It has also been used to treat cramps, coughs, and snake bites. Research continues into the healing properties of Calendula.

Other Uses:
The beautiful flowers were once used as a source of dye for fabrics. By using different mordants, a variety of yellows, oranges and browns could be obtained

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider




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