encyclopedia

Calendula

Scientific Names:    

Calendula officinalis L. [Fam. Asteraceae]    
    
 
Forms:    

Calendula flower tea; Calendula flower alcohol extracts; Calendula ointments    
     

Traditional Usage:    

– Antibacterial
– Anti-inflammatory
– Antimicrobial
– Antioxidant
– Antiviral
– Appetite Stimulant
– Bunions
– Cellular Regeneration
– Cleansing
– Cramps
– Detoxification
– Digestive Upsets
– Gastritis
– Gastroenteritis
– Gingivitis
– Hyperglycemia
– Immuno-inflammation
– Indigestion
– Insect bites and stings
– Laryngitis
– Poultice
– Skin Problems
– Sores
– Sore Throat
– Spasms
– Sunburn
– Ulcers
– Wounds     
     
    
Overview:    

The flowers of calendula, Calendula officinalis L. [Fam. Asteraceae], 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 and helping the body to prevent and/or overcome abnormal skin growths. 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. A recent study has shown efficacy for helping to heal surgical wounds after caesarian section. Another recent study showed that a naturopathic preparation containing calendula extract was effective in the management of ear pain associated with acute otitis media. 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. The aqueous extract has also been shown to have an uterotonic effect. Studies done of the flowers of Egyptian Calendula officinalis L. conducted at the Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, Japan, found hypoglycemic and stomach protective properties for calendula flowers. The principal saponins inhibited an increase in serum glucose levels in glucose-loaded rats and prevented gastric lesions in rats.    
   
     
Active Ingredients:    

Calendula flowers contain: Essential oil between 0.12-0.4% containing many compounds including: menthone, isomenthone, gamma terpinene, alpha muurolene, cadinene, caryophyllene, pedunculatine, ionone, ionone glucosides (officinosides A and B), beta ionone epoxide, dihydro-actinidiolide, geranylacetone, carvone and caryophyllene ketone, sesquiterpenes including two sesquiterpene oligoglycosides (officinosides C and D); flavonols glycosides; bisdesmosidic saponins (2-10%) including calendasaponins A, B, C, and D; oleanolic acid; triterpene alcohols; oleanane-type triterpene oligoglycosides; sterols; carotenes; xanthophylls; polyacetylenes; phenol-carboxylic acids; bitter substances; tannins and polysaccharides.    
     
    
Suggested Amount:    

Unless otherwise prescribed, boiling water (ca. 150ml) is poured over 2-3 grams of finely chopped calendula flowers and after ten minutes strained.  One Teaspoon = ca. 1.5 grams. Calendula flower tea is taken 3-5 times per day, or as required. Alternatively, calendula tincture can be used with a dosage of 2-4 ml of tincture (ca. 1-2 teaspoonfuls) in a quarter to half liter of water. For external use: Calendula creams and ointments can be applied on wounds, bruises and burns several times per day and should contain at least 2-5 grams of calendula flowers per 100 grams of ointment.    
     
    
Drug Interactions:    

None known    
     
    
Contraindications:    

None known    
     
    
Side Effects:    

Calendula, as a member of the plant family Asteraceae, may cause allergic reactions in susceptible people.    
     
    
References:    

Duke, J. 1997: The Green Pharmacy, The Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies from the World's Foremost Authority on Healing and Herbs. pp. 12; 125; 185; 265; 356-57; 477; 486; 504; 531. Rodale Press.
 
Lavagna SM, Secci D, Chimenti P, Bonsignore L, Ottaviani A, Bizzarri B. 2001. Efficacy of Hypericum and Calendula oils in the epithelial reconstruction of surgical wounds in childbirth with caesarean section. Farmaco. 2001 May-Jul; 56(5-7): 451-3.
 
Sarrell EM, Mandelberg A, Cohen HA. 2001. Efficacy of naturopathic extracts in the management of ear pain associated with acute otitis media. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001 Jul; 155(7): 796-9.
 
Wichtl M (ed). 1994. Calendulae flos – Marigold (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 118-120.
 
Yoshikawa M, Murakami T, Kishi A, Kageura T, Matsuda H. 2001. Medicinal flowers. III. Marigold. (1): hypoglycemic, gastric emptying inhibitory, and gastroprotective principles and new oleanane-type triterpene oligoglycosides, calendasaponins A, B, C, and D, from Egyptian Calendula officinalis. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 2001 Jul; 49(7): 863-870.