Calendula - The Healing Flower

Isn't this just the image of sunshine and freshness? These lovely plants have all kinds of great things to offer us - both internally and externally.

The common name of calendula officinalis is Pot Marigold. The fact that Calendula's INCI name ends with officinalis means this plant has a history of medicinal use. Let's have a closer look at the properties of this lovely flower.

Not just a Pretty Face

The petals of the Pot Marigold are edible and a colorful addition to any salad. The color is so intense that marigold is often used as a substitute for saffron for food coloring.

In a more medicinal setting, calendula has a history of helping calm and heal inflamed mucous membranes, sores, and infections.

A few uses for calendula when taken internally:
  • Calendula tea can help when bladder infection strikes
  • Gargling with a calendula infusion is effective for gum infections 
  • Gargling with a calendula infusion helps a sore throat
  • A few drops of tincture in camomile tea helps calm the digestive system (only once a day and only for a maximum of 1-2 weeks)

Topical Healing - a Great Feeling

Aside from adding a splash of color to a salad, the colorful dried petals of the flower are used to make tinctures and infusions.

Calendula has anti-inflammatory properties, and even boasts some antimicrobial activity (although not very strong).

Calendula-infused oil is used to sooth and calm the skin and helping heal skin abrasions and infections.

A sitz bath with calendula is helpful for hemorrhoids, rash, or infection in the genital area.

Calendula tincture can be used topically for treating acne, reducing inflammation, controlling bleeding, and soothing irritated tissue.

Science Says So Too

In this test, calendula was shown to reduce inflammation in radiation dermatitis. The Journal of Clinical Oncology published this report showing that topical application of ointment with calendula actually helped to prevent dermatitis.

Calendula helps prevent acute dermatitis as a result of irradiation for breast cancer (link)

LisaLise and Calendula

I am currently using a calendula tincture (link below on making your own) in my skin drench and skin tonic. It's a lovely addition. I have plans on doing an oil infusion before long as well and incorporating it into a winter-care body butter as well as trying it out in a lip balm.

If you don't want to make your own calendula products, no worries! You'll probably be able to find calendula salve at your local store. It's a great staple for any home medicine cabinet and quite useful for treating minor scrapes and cuts. Some swear by it for diaper rash and even chapped lips. It's the chapped lips claims that has me wanting to infuse an oil for use in a lip balm.

Have you ever used calendula for anything? Please share!

More Calendula Fun

For DIY recipes with calendula, visit this page at Mountain Rose Herbs