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Calendula

Medically reviewed on Jun 7, 2018

What is Calendula?

Calendula is believed to be native to Egypt and has almost worldwide distribution. There are numerous varieties of this species, differing primarily in flower shape and color. Calendula grows to about 0.7 m in height and the wild form has small, bright yellow-orange flowers that bloom from May to October. The flowers have been used medicinally.

Scientific Name(s)

Calendula officinalis L. Family: Asteraceae (daisies)

Common Name(s)

Calendula, marigold, garden marigold, gold bloom, holligold, marygold, pot marigold, Marybud, neven (Bulgarian), nagotki (Russian), souci (French), ringelblume (German), calendola (Italian), maravilla (Spanish), gousbloem (Dutch)

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

The plant has been grown in European gardens since the 12th century. Tinctures and extracts of the flowers were used topically to promote wound healing and to reduce inflammation. Taken orally, they have been used to reduce fever, control menstrual problems, and to treat cancer. The dried petals have been used as a seasoning. The pungent odor has been used as an effective pesticide, and the plants are often interspersed among vegetable plants to repel insects.

Skin conditions

Potential uses include treatment of radiation therapy-associated dermatitis and other inflammatory skin conditions and for wound healing. Few clinical trials are available to support traditional uses.

Dental conditions

Pain and swelling of the lips has been treated with a 10% calendula ointment. Swelling of the gums (gingivitis) has been treated with a gel that included calendula as an ingredient. In clinical studies in patients with head and neck cancer, a calendula 2% mouthwash gel reduced pain caused by mouth and throat inflammation. In another study, calendula mouthwash decreased gum bleeding and plaque.

What is the recommended dosage?

A preparation can be made by steeping 5 to 10 mL of the herb in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes and then gargled as a mouthwash for oral sores, consumed to decrease spasms, or applied topically for skin conditions. Commercial topical preparations are also available. An ointment from the flower extract has been used for topical wound healing.

Contraindications

Contraindications have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Evidence for use in pregnancy is limited.

Interactions

None well documented.

Side Effects

Allergic reactions, skin irritation, and one case of a severe, whole-body allergic reaction have been reported.

Toxicology

The plant appears to have a low potential for toxicity.

References

1. Calendula. Review of Natural Products. Facts & Comparisons eAnswers [database online]. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc; July 2015. Accessed April 27, 2015.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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