Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Overview

Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) other names: Caléndula, Calendula officinalis, Calendule, English Garden Marigold, Fleur de Calendule, Fleur de Tous les Mois, Garden Marigold, Gold-Bloom, Holligold, Marigold, Marybud, Pot Marigold, Souci des Champs, Souci des Jardins, Souci des Vignes, Souci Officinal, Zergul.

Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Calendula (Calendula Officinalis)  picture

Calendula is a plant. The flower is used to make medicine.

The calendula was a commonly used herbal plant in the medical system of many ancient civilizations. Calendula is a member of the plant family Asteraceae. This plant is commonly cultivated in gardens as an ornamental herb, being at times known as the pot marigold or the garden marigold in some places. The calendula herb must not be mistaken for plants belonging to the genus Tagetes - which are the true marigolds and very commonly cultivated as garden ornamentals. 

The calendula is an indigenous plant species of the southern European region. These days, calendula is cultivated in many temperate regions of the world for use in many processes and is naturalized in temperate North America and Asia.

Ideal soil profiles for the growth of the calendula are light to sandy and moderately rich soils. The soil must be fairly moist with a good drainage without water logging. The calendula tolerates a pH range from an acidic 4.5 to a very alkaline 8.3.

For best growth, the calendula prefers sites with full exposure to sunlight, though the plant will tolerate light shade.

The calendula is very easily grown from stored seed. The seeds of the calendula can be sown in the garden on the advent of spring, only when all danger from late frost has disappeared. The calendula seeds can be planted to a depth of six mm or a quarter inch deep in the soil. The seedlings of the calendula normally emerge from the soil in eight to twelve days time.

Once they germinate, calendula seedlings must not be subjected to transplantation, as this procedure mostly results in the wilting and death of the large succulent leaves. When the seedlings emerge, they can be thinned out so that forty to fifty cm-16 to 20 inches of space exist between each of the plants. This spacing will result in optimum utilization of space by the growing plants. When the calendula plants are growing, the side branches must be pruned away from time to time to encourage taller growth and to induce larger blooms in the plants. To keep the plants in full bloom throughout the summer, the dead flower heads must be removed from each plant from time to time. These measures will ensure that the plants grow at an optimal rate and produce the best flowers. Calendula plants will self sow if they are left undisturbed at a site where they are growing. The calendula is normally free of plant pests and resistant to diseases.

The calendula can be placed in pots for keeping inside the house in midsummer. Plants must be brought indoors several days in advance before the estimated coming of the first frosts in the fall. When calendula plants are placed indoors, the plants will need a minimum of five hours exposure to direct sunlight daily, which can be substituted by twelve hours of exposure to strong artificial light a day. As root rot can result from excess water, plants must not be watered too often. Ideally, the soil in the pot must be kept moderately moist at all times.

Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Health Benefits

Calendula flower is used to prevent muscle spasms, start menstrual periods, and reduce fever. Calendula is also used for treating sore throat and mouth, menstrual cramps, cancer, and stomach and duodenal ulcers.

Calendula is applied to the skin to reduce pain and swelling (inflammation) and to treat poorly healing wounds and leg ulcers. Calendula is also applied to the skin (used topically) for nosebleeds, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, inflammation of the rectum (proctitis), and inflammation of the lining of the eyelid (conjunctivitis).

The calendula is a potent antiseptic herb. Several of the active chemical constituents found in the herb are fungicidal or mycotic toxins - especially the resins, in addition these compounds are also bactericidal and anti-viral agents. The astringent quality of the herb also has a beneficial affect on the functioning of the capillaries, this property of the herb accounts for the effectiveness of the herb in the treatment of cuts, physical wounds, varicose veins, and various other inflammatory disorders that affect the human body.

The most beneficial actions of the calendula herb are for its positive effects on the skin, the herb is a very good remedy for all types of skin complaints. Calendula is a very effective herb for the treatment of most minor skin problems induced by different factors. The remedy made from the calendula can be employed to treat cuts, scrapes, and different kinds of minor wounds; it is excellent for alleviating reddened and inflamed skin. It is an excellent remedy for minor burns and for problems such as sunburn. It is a good remedy for acne and for the treatment of rashes. All types of infections caused by fungi including ringworm, the athlete's foot, and thrush can be treated using the calendula. In addition, the calendula is excellent for treating diaper rash and cradle cap in infants. The herb also soothes nipples that are sore from prolonged breast feeding sessions.

Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) flower

When the calendula remedy is consumed as the herbal infusion or in tincture form, the herb helps fight off all sorts of inflammatory problems affecting the digestive system, including problems such as gastritis, chronic peptic ulcers, regional ileitis and colitis. The herb brings relief from these problems when used therapeutically over the long term.

The detoxification power of the calendula has been recognized for a long time in the herbal community. Calendula helps in treating the toxicity in the body, which is the reason for so many fevers and infections; it actively aids in the detoxification of the body and is a good remedy for the treatment of systemic skin disorders, including chronic problems such as eczema and acne. Due to its ability to detoxify the body, the calendula helps cleanse the liver and gallbladder of accumulated toxins, and a remedy made from the calendula can be employed for the treatment of problems affecting these two vital organs in the body. The mild estrogen like action possesses by the calendula is often employed in treatment strategies that are directed at lowering menstrual pain and in order to help in the regulation of bleeding during normal menstruation in women. Calendula infusion can be used as an effective douche for treating yeast infections in the vaginal cavity.

Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Side effects

Preparations of calendula flower are likely safe for most people when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.

As culinary herb, the calendula is considered to be one of the safest herbs around. At the same time, a person can react badly to the calendula, for example, a person who has an allergic reaction to pollen of any plant species belonging to the daisy family of plants, like the ragweed, may experience an allergic reaction to the calendula as well, though the chances of this occurring are rare.

Being considered safe and moderately therapeutic, the calendula herb is very often used in preparing homemade skin remedies, which are used in treating a variety of skin complaints. Though quite rare, there are occasions when some individuals develop an allergic reaction to the calendula as a result of frequent use of the herbal calendula skin remedy.

The menstrual cycle is traditionally believed to be influenced by calendula herb. Due to these concerns, some authorities on herbs suggest that calendula must not be consumed by pregnant women and nursing mothers, however, no evidence of harm from the use of calendula in these women exist.

Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) plant

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Don’t take calendula by mouth if you are pregnant. Calendula is likely unsafe . There is a concern that it might cause a miscarriage. It’s best to avoid topical use as well until more is known. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of using calendula if you are breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Calendula may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking calendula.

Surgery: Calendula might cause too much drowsiness if combined with medications used during and after surgery. Stop taking calendula at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.