Calendula’s most popular use from ancient times to modern day has been for healing the skin of wounds, burns, rashes, itchiness, bites and swelling. It has been found that Marigold has the ability to promote the growth of healthy new tissue, increase blood flow to the affected area, boost collagen production (which firms and strengthens skin), hydrate dry skin and speed up the process of skin repair following surgery or damage.
Marigold’s ability to help treat wounds is believed to be due to stimulation of epithelial cell production (the cells that make up the outer surface of the body), mostly as a result of the presence of glycoproteins and nucleoproteins. It’s also linked to increased cell turnover and improved collagen metabolism stimulation.
Used during First World War and the American Civil War as an antiseptic for wounds, the main compounds within Calendula are the triterpenoids, which are claimed to be the most important anti-inflammatory and anti-edematous (preventing swelling) components within the plant.
Another well-researched use of Marigold extract is applying it in drop form to the inside of the ear canal to help treat bacterial ear infections and decrease pain. It has been found that these drops can lower inner-ear swelling and inflammation within just a couple of days of use.
Calendula oil is an excellent antioxidant source. This beautiful orange and yellow oil is rich in carotenes and carotenoids - the compounds responsible for the plant’s radiant colour. These phytochemicals are pre-cursors to the production of antioxidant Vitamin A.
Research has found that Calendula extract is effective in the treatment of conjunctivitis and other ocular inflammatory conditions. The extract demonstrates antibacterial, anti-viral, antifungal and immuno-stimulating properties that were shown to reduce eye infections. The vision is also protected by these extracts, guarding the delicate tissues of the eye from UV and oxidative damage.
Sore Throat/Mouth Ulcers
Due to its anti-microbial and antiseptic qualities, Marigold is an effective remedy for sore throats, gingivitis, tonsillitis and mouth ulcers. Gargling with Marigold tea will help to soothe the mucus membranes of the throat whilst easing the pain.
Calendula or Marigold tea can be consumed to nourish the skin, act as an internal anti-fungal agent and to soothe the intestinal tract. The tea is delicious and mildly detoxifying.
Calendula or Marigold oil can be used in skin care and body massage, it can also be applied directly to a damaged skin area.
Folklore and history
The Ancient Greeks, who used the petals for decoration, also knew of Marigold’s other uses, such as colouring for food, make-up, dying fabrics and medicinal uses. Marigolds have been grown in the gardens of Europe since the 12th century. By the 14th century it had become increasingly popular for its many and varied “magical powers.” One medieval author named Macer described Marigold in his volume on herbs - he thought that merely to look upon the blooms would improve eyesight and draw evil “humors” from the head.
Calendula has been revered as a magical medicinal for centuries. Ancient Egyptians used it to rejuvenate their skin, whilst the Greeks and Romans used it as a culinary garnish. In ancient as well as modern India, Calendula is often strung into garlands for weddings and religious rituals. Powers of protection and prophecy have been attributed to this herb. Strewing Calendula under your bed was said to offer you protection from robbers and thieves and to induce prophetic dreams if you had been robbed, helping you to identify the culprit!
More than just a pretty flower, the Calendula variety of Marigold has been utilised for thousands of years for its impressive health benefits. It is thought that the Marigold originated in Egypt and was first introduced to Britain and other countries by the Romans - it was one of the earliest cultivated flowers.
Also known as “Pot Marigold”, Calendula was an important medicine in Ancient Greece, Rome and Arabia. It was most commonly used as a skin treatment, with preparations used for treating minor wounds, callouses, insect bites and stings, eczema, itches, burns and haemorrhoids.
Calendula contains flavonoids, triterpene saponins, and carotenoids.
Except for the very rare person who is allergic to calendula and therefore should not use it, there are no known side effects or interactions. Not recommended during pregnancy.