CALENDULA (Calendula officinalis)


Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Family: Asteraceae

Habitat & Cultivation: No to be confused with a common/(African) marigold of the genus Tagetes which is toxic. There is a dozen know species of Calendula, but the best known is Calendula officinalis. Its origin was never confirmed, it’s suspected native land, however, could be Mediterranean. Today, the plant is cultivated worldwide, from subarctic regions to the tropics. Easy-to-adapt, golden-flowers, perennial that can be grown from seeds.

Constituents: Carotenes, Mucilage, Resins, Triterpenes, Bitter glycosides, Volatile oils, Phytosterols, Flavanoids, Saponins, Steroidal compounds

Actions: Anti-Inflammatory, Astringent, Antispasmodic, Estrogenic (mild), Detoxifying, Cleansing, Antimicrobial, Antifungal (Resins), Antiviral, Antiseptic, Menstrual regulator, Stimulates bile production

Parts Used:

  • Aerial parts (flower heads and pedals - fresh/dry)

  • Leaves (fresh/dry)

Traditional Uses: Infused Oil (is a good substitute for essential oil), Ointment, Lotion, Cream, Syrup, Tincture, Extract, Infusions (Teas), Bath

Preparation & Applications:

  • Closed wounds, grazes, rashes, bruises, and burns: Apply Calendula Oil, ointment, or cream onto the affected area 3x/day. 

  • Broken skin: Firstly, clean the wound and then apply Calendula tincture to the affected area 3x/day. 

  • Acne & Boils: Local infection, hormonal imbalance or internal toxicity causing inflammation. Both conditions should be treated internally and externally. Acne generally occurs during teenage years. Boils, however, are the body’s way of removing toxins, and may signal a weakened immune system, diabetes, or deep-seeded bacterial infection. Considering a combination of Comfrey and Calendula during the treatment may be beneficial for your skin, as both plants speed up the healing process and Comfrey also reduces scarring. Apply Calendula and/or Comfrey Oil(s), ointment or cream onto the affected area 2x/day. 

  • Minor bites, stings & Swellings: Apply Calendula Oil, ointment, cream, lotion or tincture onto the affected area as needed. Can also use John’s Wort Oil

  • Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye): “Gritty” feeling on the eye, increased sensitivity to light, red/pink eye, pain, soreness, swelling, and/or watery discharge. Inflamed eye’s membrane, that covers the eyeball (the conjunctiva), and the edge of the eye can be caused by infection, allergy or physical or chemical reaction. Make a compress by soaking a pad in a well-diluted tincture (5ml of tincture in 50 ml of water) and apply it directly on the eye. Reapply as needed. 

  • Cracked/sore nipples: Apply Calendula Oil, cream or ointment to the affected area 3x/day. The Oil is preferred for cracked nipples, as it is safe for babies to ingest in small quantities. 

  • Inflamed skin rashes: Apply Calendula or Comfrey Oil, cream, ointment, or lotion onto the affected area 2-4x/day. 

  • Diaper rash: Urine, moisture, and irritants cause irritation and redness of baby’s skin. Keep the baby clean and dry. Avoid leaving baby in wet diapers. Apply, Calendula Oil, ointment or cream onto clean and dry skin at each diaper change. 

  • Athlete’s foot: Can be caused by fungi such as microsporum, trichophyton, and epidermophyton. With symptoms ranging from red, irritated patches to scaly and peeling skin. Apply Calendula Oil, cream, ointment or infusion onto the affected area after shower and do not cover it. Let the Oil penetrate the skin. Reapply as needed until improved. To enhance antifungal function, add 5ml of Tea Tree essential oil into 500 ml of infusion for a wash. 

  • Varicose veins: Weakness, or increased pressure in the veins causing supporting wall of the veins to bulge out, causing the pooling of blood and distended veins. Apply Calendula Oil, cream or ointment onto the affected area 1-2x/day. To increase the effect of pain reduction, mix distilled Witch Hazel with ointment or cream. Another option is to combine equal parts of Witch Hazel and Calendula Oils or creams and apply it 2x/day. 

  • Varicose ulcers: Apply a pad soaked in Calendula infusion onto the affected area. 

  • Yeast infections: The infusion makes an effective douche. Can also apply Calendula Oil or cream. 

  • Heavy menstruation: Also known as menorrhagia. Flooding, excessive clots, prolonged and heavy bleeding can increase the risk of anemia (deficiency of hemoglobin in the blood, resulting in fatigue). Drinking an infusion or tincture can lessen the above symptoms. 

  • Hemorrhoids: Apply Calendula Oil, cream or ointment to the affected area 3x/day. 

  • Mouthwash: A tincture can be used to fight gum infections and ulcers. 

  • Bleeding gums: Make a strong infusion (tea) and use it after brushing your teeth. 

  • Mouth ulcers: There are a few ways to approach this illness. First – Apply Calendula ointment to the affected area 2-3x/day. Second – Soak a dressing with Calendula tincture and then apply it onto the affected area. Third – Make a poultice using fresh Calendula flowers and apply it onto the affected area. 

  • Digestive infections: Make an infusion (tea) from 2tsp of herb and 3 cups (750 ml) of water. Drink up to 3 cups/day. 


Research: A recent study had shown Calendula’s ability to prevent dermatitis in breast cancer patients during radiation.

The German health authority recognized and proved Calendula’s wound and anti-inflammatory healing ability. Plant effectively seals the wound with new tissue while reducing an inflammation of the wound. The key drivers in healing process seems to be triterpenoid compounds such as oleanolic acid, which has the ability to inhibit a variety of bacteria. The speedy recovery, and reduction in inflammation, can be also attributed a triterpenoid compounds which act as an antioxidant, reducing the skin’s exposure to oxygen radicals.

Another study was done by randomly selecting 254 breast cancer patients about to undergo radiation treatment. They were offered to apply 2x/day either one - a common medicine known as trolamine, or a Calendula ointment. The results shown that patients who chose Calendula ointment during their treatment experienced lower dermatitis and had fewer interruptions in their treatment time.

Another study has shown that Calendula helps to increase blood flow and oxygen to the affected area, which helps with new tissue generation. It has also been proven that the plant acts as a natural moisturizer by hydrating skin and improving skin’s firmness.


Caution: DO NOT TAKE INTERNALLY while pregnant or breastfeeding! Do not use tincture on surgical wounds or vaginal tears without talking to your doctor/midwife. Apply on clean wounds only!

Credits: Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine (Andrew Chevallier), The Complete Medicinal Herbal (Penelope Ody), Healing Remedies (C. Norman Shealy), National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs (Rebecca L. Johnson & Steven Foster, Tieraona Low Dog & David Kiefer), University of Maryland Medical Center
  • Jana Glanzer
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