Also known as pot marigold (not to be confused with common garden marigolds, Tagetes species), calendula is the dried flower of a member of the aster family native to south-central Europe and northern Africa. It is an annual commonly grown in gardens for its bright display of yellow or orange flowers.
The flowers have been applied to cuts and wounds, burns and bruises, and used as a tea for gastric ulcers and other stomach ailments, for jaundice and other conditions.
Calendula preparations are approved in Germany and other European countries for topical use on slow-to-heal wounds and for ulcerations on the leg. A gargle or tea is also used to reduce inflammation of the mouth or sore throat. Most human studies of the plant have been conducted in eastern European countries and involve only small numbers of patients. They indicate that extracts of the herb may be of use in treating duodenal ulcers and may help surgical wounds heal more rapidly.
Pharmacological studies, most involving animals, have confirmed a wide range of activities. Calendula extracts are anti- inflammatory, antiviral, and stimulate the immune system to increase the particle ingestion capacity of white blood cells. (In this respect, calendula is similar to echinacea.) Triterpenoids in calendula have recently been linked to its anti-inflammatory activity. In addition, calendula increases granulation at the site of a wound, promoting metabolism of proteins and collagen-in other words, helping grow new healthy cells. Topical calendula preparations are widely accepted in Europe for treating inflammation of the skin and mucous membranes, slowto-heal wounds, mild burns, and sunburn.
The dried flower, salves, and tinctures are available.
Generally no side effects or contraindications have been reported. Persons allergic to pollen of other members of the aster family, such as ragweed, may also be allergic to calendula. One case of a severe allergic reaction to the tea was reported in Russia.
Mouth and throat infections
Promotes wound health