Since at least the 12th century the golden orange flower with pale-green leaves has been used for medicinal purposes – to treat skin infections, burns, minor wounds, sunburn, bee stings, warts and cancer. Calendula officinalis is just one of the specie in the Calendula genus, well known in Greek, Roman, Arabic and Indian medicine. Another name of this annual plant is Pot Marigold or English Marigold. Also famous for old herbalists as garden-flower. Less known names are holigold and Mary bud. Besides medicine it is used in cookery.
The word ‘calendula’ has the stem ‘kalendae’ from Latin, that means ‘the first day of month’, which is because the plant is in bloom in the beginning of most of months in the year. The common name of the flower Marigold hypothetically refers to its old Saxon name 'it turns with the sun' (in translation), or to Anglo-Saxon ‘merso-meargealla’, the Marsh Marigold. Old English authors also called it Ruddes or Golds. Then it was associated with the Virgin Mary and Queen Mary later on.
Calendula grows from spring to autumn in temperate climates throughout Europe and North America. Calendula officinalis is considered to be the most easy-to-grow plant (you can almost always see it in any garden), that germinates in any soil, in either sunny or half-sunny locations. The plant has hairy stem and leaves and bares large nice terminal flower heads with spicy aroma.
For medicinal purposes the flowers and the leaves are used. It is available in several of forms on the market.
- in the form of a tea – 3-5 cups per day. 1-2 teaspoons of the flowers with 200 ml of boiling water in the cup are covered for 10 – 15 minutes and then strained;
- as juice – to drink fresh once prepared - 1 tsp.;
- tincture – three times a day with water or tea (1-2 ml each time)
- as salve - boil 1 oz dried flowers or leaves (or 1tsp fresh juice) with 1 oz of lard;
- in the form of ointments (crushed petals with olive oil)– for skin problems, such as cuts, bruises, burns and sores;
- in oil or lotion, liquid extracts, infusions and creams.
Calendula is considered a natural antiseptic by homeopaths. It contains high amounts of flavonoids that are plant-based antioxidants for body protection against cell-damaging free radicals. After several researches it appeared to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
Traditionally calendula has been used to relieve menstrual cramps and to treat stomach upset. Today it has been shown to treat radiation dermatitis (for women that receive radiation therapy to the breast for breast cancer) – redness of the skin, local pain and skin irritation. Also as a mild pain-reliever during ear infections as an alternative to eardrop medications (especially if children). But the most famous usage of the plant is for wound and burns healing and skin inflammation treating. Studies on animals show good results in effective and fast healing of wounds, burns, cuts and bruises thanks to the effect of increasing blood flow of the wounded area that helps the body produce collagen proteins for skin restoring. As skin inflammatory the calendula ointment and creams often used by homeopaths in healing first-degree burns and sunburns.
Calendula is a safe plant if used for topical application, even though there were no scientific studies to prove all these uses. But note the following to avoid problems. Herb should be taken with care and aside from other herbs and medications, as it can trigger some side effects, such as allergic reactions (if you are allergic to daisies, ragweed, and chrysanthemums you are probably allergic to calendula as well) – from skin rash to anaphylactic shock; fatal reduction in blood glucose; skin and eye irritation. Do not use calendula for applying to open wound without a doctor's supervision. Do not use it during pregnancy and breastfeeding. When you are a couple that wants to get pregnant – do not use it also, it has harmful effect on sperm as well as can cause the abortion.
Calendula is known by almost everyone not by chance. If used with proper knowledge this plant can be an extremely useful medications’ replacement for treating and healing lots of human common issues.
Calendula is the name for the plant genus that counts around 20 species of annual perennials of the daisy family Asteraceae. Although the variety of ...
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