Calendula

Scientific Name/Common Name: Calendula officinalis / Calendula (Marigold)

Part(s) Used: Flower

Constituents/Active Ingredients: Calendula flowers contain: essential oil between 0.12-0.4% containing many compounds including: menthone, isomenthone, gamma terpinene, cadinene, caryophyllene, pedunculatine, ionone glucosides, geranylacetone, carvone and caryophyllene ketone, sesquiterpenes; flavonol glycosides; bisdesmosidic saponins (2-10%) including calendasaponins A, B, C, and D; oleanolic acid; triterpenes (calendulosides); oleanane-type triterpene oligoglycosides; sterols; carotenes; xanthophylls; polyacetylenes; chlorogenic acid; bitter substances; tannins and polysaccharides.

Overview: Calendula flowers can be used as an alternative to saffron in cooking and are rich in essential oils, flavonoids, carotenoids, and saponins that give them their mildly bitter taste. Calendula, also known as marigold, is listed in the German Commission E Monographs. Calendula flower tea was traditionally used internally as a gargle for reducing inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat, for soothing sore throats, laryngitis and tonsillitis, coughs, dryness of the lungs, and digestive upsets. The tea was also used against fever, cramps, and spasms of the digestive and urogenital systems. The most notable use of calendula, however, is for its use externally on wounds, burns, and abrasions—and especially for rejuvenating skin. Scientific studies have shown that ointments made with calendula extract are particularly effective for healing wounds, including leg ulcers and other wounds that heal with difficulty. The flowers contain high concentrations of colorful orange xanthophylls, carotenoids, and other flavonoids that are powerful antioxidants and the flavonoid extract has been shown scientifically to be effective against inflammation, fever, and to stimulate bile flow for aiding digestion and cleansing the liver.

Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Traditionally used in Herbal Medicine to help relieve inflammatory conditions of the digestive system; used topically for inflammation and skin cuts, bruises, and abrasions.

Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, editors. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.

Bradley PR, editor. British Herbal Compendium: A Handbook of Scientific Information on Widely Used Plant Drugs, Volume 2. Bournemouth (UK): British Herbal Medicine Association; 2006.

Hoffmann D. 2003. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester (VT): Healing Arts Press.

Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.