Calendula: Healing Herbs for Inflammation

Calendula is a plant that has been used for centuries for ornamental purposes, as well as culinary, cosmetic and medicinal reasons. Even if you’re not quite sure what it is, you probably are familiar with Calendula’s cousin, the marigold.

The orange-yellow petals of the Calendula flower can be taken orally, but more popularly it’s applied topically. It has been known to help with a variety of health issues, is a powerful antioxidant and is among the strongest of antiviral herbs. Calendula has been known to help health issues ranging from skin inflammation or menstrual cramps to even cancer! (1) Ancient cultures recognized and used the healing properties of calendula. In some of the earliest medical writings, calendula was recommended for treating ailments of the digestive tract. It was used to detoxify the liver and gall bladder. The flowers were applied to cuts and wounds to stop bleeding, prevent infection and speed healing. Calendula was also used for various women’s ailments, and to treat a number of skin conditions.


Food for Thought

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is an herbaceous plant of the small genus Calendula, in the Asteraceae family. This flowering, annual plant grows naturally around western Europe, southeastern Asia and the Mediterranean. It’s a common plant in home gardens throughout the world today and easily blooms and thrives wherever it’s planted.

Named “Herb of the Year” in 2008 by the International Herb Association, calendula is used to color and flavor butters and broths, and has a woody, earthy, bitter and slightly sweet taste. You can use its fresh flowers as a tea infusion. For cooking, cosmetic and medicinal uses, you should typically used dried calendula. Once it’s dried, it can be used in recipes just like any other dried herb. You’ll also find it in many herbal tea blends.
There’s no way to find or make 100 percent pure calendula extract. Calendula oil is extracted by making an oil from the flowers. Once it’s properly dried and placed in a high-grade carrier oil like extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil, it usually takes about a month for the calendula to thoroughly infuse into the carrier oil, producing a beautiful, richly colored final product.


Healing Ulcers and Skin Conditions

In studies done for slow-healing wounds and various exposed ulcers, it was found that using calendula-based topical helped increase recovery rate and healing. In one study, it was found that animals treated within an eight-day window using the treatment had a 90 percent closure of their wounds, as compared to only 51 percent of those who had not used the plant-based topical treatment. (2) Calendula is also used to improve skin firmness and hydration. Even more impressive, it helps increase blood flow and oxygen to wounds and infected areas, which helps the body grow new tissue and heal more rapidly. (3)


Calendula Cautions

You shouldn’t use calendula if you’re allergic to plants in the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Other plants in this family include ragweed, chamomile and echinacea.

Because of its promotion of menstruation, it’s advised for pregnant women to avoid calendula teas as well as breast-feeding women and even those seeking to get pregnant, as it can potentially cause miscarriage due to the highly potent pro-menstruation effects.

Calendula can possibly interact negatively with sedatives due to its muscle-relaxing abilities, as well as diabetes and blood pressure medications.


Herbs and flowers air drying at Willow Creek Springs Botanical Gardens
Herbs and flowers air drying at Willow Creek Springs Botanical Gardens

Final Thoughts on Calendula

Calendula holds a very powerful healing effect internally and externally. The bright, wonderful colors of the calendula flower come from the potent flavonoids that can protect and heal our bodies. It’s a great natural remedy that has very few side effects. Calendula has been historically significant in medicine in many cultures, and it is still important in alternative medicine today.

The powerful antioxidants within the little yellow flower hold the key to helping reduce and subside many inflammatory health issues. This wonderful, gentle herb is hand-picked in the Willow Creek Springs organic gardens, dried and infused into high quality oils for use in our handy hemp skin care products.

 

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.