Calendula Officinalis and its flowers were first used by the ancient Greek, Roman, and Indian Cultures as a medicinal herb. Many centuries ago, it was also commonly used as a dye for foods and cosmetics. You may be surprised, but many of these uses for Calendula still persist in today’s world, especially in products that are designed to protect the skin. Calendula Officinalis is also called “Pot Marigold” and the word “calendula” derives from the Latin word for “calendae” meaning “little calendar,” due to the fact that the flower usually blooms on the first of most months. Not only in ancient times was the extract used medicinally, but even today Calendula Officinalis is used in a variety of ways for health benefits:
- It is known to reduce inflammation and promote the healing of wounds.
- It is used to treat numerous skin diseases and conditions such as skin ulcers, eczema, acne, and dry skin.
- Since it is an antiseptic, Calendula Officinalis treats wounds by reducing inflammation and also promoting healthy blood flow to an infected area.
- It also promotes the production and regeneration of collagen proteins, leading to the faster healing of wounds. This may also be why it is used for cold sores, and is even used as a mouthwash to heal sores inside of the mouth faster.
- Because of its healing abilities, it is also a great treatment for skin burns.
- The extract is also used as an anti-spasmodic and has been used to treat menstrual cramps.
- It also works as an antifungal agent and it can cure athlete’s foot, ringworm and candida.
- Using Calendula Officinalis with a compress may help remove varicose veins and help with the pain that they bring.
- Calendula contains polysaccharides which stimulate activity of the immune system, and has been known to help those who have issues with immune deficiency.
- It has also been theorized to have some possible therapeutic activity against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Extracts of Calendula Officinalis significantly “inhibited HIV-1 in vitro, and reduced HIV-1 reverse transcriptase in a dose- and time-dependent manner.” (Kalvatchev 1997).
- The extract is also being researched today for its anti-cancer properties. While used in conjunction with other herbs, there has been some progress in determining if Calendula may be used for treating specific types of cancer. Researchers have conducted studies with women who are undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer. Women who were using Calendula Officinalis not only reported fewer amounts of skin-irritation, but also reported lower amounts of pain from the radiation treatment they were given.
- Other possible treatments using Calendula Officinalis include treating diaper rash or other everyday rashes, boosting the immune system, healing bug bites, and general health or beauty skin care.
- Skin care is one of the most prominent uses for the extract. Herbalists and dermatologists have recommended using Calendula due to its antimicrobial, antiviral, and astringent properties.
You can find the Calendula Officinalis extract in some herbal stores or pharmacies, as well as online. The extract is relatively inexpensive, especially when you consider the numerous benefits that this extraordinary herb provides.