Calendula Flower

            This picture was taken in my back yard, where I grow many of the herbs & flowers I use in remedies.

Oh Calendula...

I use calendula in every product that I make so I wanted to dedicate this page to this wonderful herb! Below you’ll find interesting information on calendula, from history & folklore to what the medicinal properties are and what you can use it for. 


I’m happy to announce that I’m now able to grow all the calendula I need to make all my products! I infuse the flowers in oil at their peak of freshness. When you infuse a herb with oil (solar or double boiler) the oil extracts all of the medicinal properties of that herb.


I love to use Calendula for all of it’s gentle yet strong healing properties. The antibacterial and immune-stimulant properties of the plant make it extremely useful in treating slow-healing cuts and cuts in people who have compromised immune systems. The herb stimulates the production of collagen at wound sites and minimizes scarring.




What Is Calendula?

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is often confused with the common marigold plant (Tagetes) and while it is sometimes called "pot marigold," it is really a different plant. There are two common marigolds that are edible (T. tenuifolia and T. lucida), but neither of them offer the medicinal qualities of calendula. Therefore, it is important that you are using the correct plant in your calendula recipes.

To this end, you may want to grow your own. Calendula is easy to grow and it makes a lovely addition to your garden. They also take readily to container gardening.


Botanical Name: Calendula officinalis

Other Names: Marigold, garden marigold, holigold, Mary bud, pot marigold, Calendula

Parts Used: flowers, leaves ( I like to use only the flower heads & petals).


Safety considerations

Calendula is a member of the Asteraceae family, which contains a number of  allergenic plants such as chamomile, feverfew and ragweed. Those with allergies to pollens of plants within this family may have an allergic reaction and should the use of calendula (or try a small skin patch test).

 

Calendula has a long history

The Latin name of this species of calendula, “Officinalis” hints at its long use as a medicinal agent. Officinalis means “of the shop” or “of the apothecary,” indicating its use in medieval remedies prepared by monks who are credited with keeping herbal medicine alive.


The calendula (Calendula officinalis) is a hardy annual with single or double daisy-like blooms of yellow or orange. The 3- to 4-inch flowers open with the sun and close at night, leading the Victorians to believe they could set a clock by the flower. The name "calendula" is from the same Latin word as "calendar," presumably because the flower was in bloom almost every month of the year.


It was an official drug in the U.S. Pharmacopeia editions of 1880, 1890 and 1900, and is still a valued medicament in a multitude of herbal preparations today.


As recently as 70 years ago, American physicians used calendula to treat ear infections, conjunctivitis, fevers, cuts, scrapes, bruises, and burns, as well as minor infections of the skin.


Ancient Medicine

The ancient Egyptians used the calendula's petals for healing. In the Middle Ages the plant was recommended for indigestion and for healing bruises and burns. It was used as a treatment for smallpox and measles, and so much of the flower was grown in the Soviet Union that it was known as "Russian penicillin.”

As a Kitchen Herb

Calendula has long been used in the kitchen to season broths and salads and to flavor wine. Petals of calendula were used to color cheese & butter. I recall my grandmother putting her home churned calendula butter on a kitchen burn on my hand when I was younger. Not only did it color the butter a beautiful creamy orange/yellow color, but the butter itself contained the medicinal properties of calendula. It has also been substituted for the much more expensive ingredient saffron. An infusion or tea of the yellow petals served as a healing compress, a mouth wash or gargle, a dye, facial cleanser and hair rinse.

Easing Radiation-Induced Dermatitis

Calendula may benefit women who experience skin irritation as a result of breast cancer treatments. According to Medline Plus, women who experienced pain, swelling or irritation from radiation therapy found relief of their symptoms. Study participants used a calendula-based ointment to treat their dermatitis twice daily.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/115279-calendula-herb-benefits/#ixzz1z2ORWevT

Eczema, dermatitis - Calendula is believed to benefit eczema by reducing inflammation, eliminating bacteria, and helping the skin heal. Unlike some other eczema treatments, calendula does not contain steroids, which can cause skin thinning if used over long periods of time.  Eczema patients whose skin becomes blistered or raw might benefit from calendula’s healing properties. Also, since it is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral, using calendula might also help to prevent infection when applied around blisters and other lesions.


Actions of Calendula

Anti-Inflammatory

Calendula is high in flavenoids and triterpene saponins, which give it its anti-inflammatory properties. It is useful for many types of skin inflammation, whether caused by infection or injury. Bee stings, dermatitis,  psoriasis and insect bites all respond to the anti-inflammatory actions of calendula. This includes conditions such as varicose veins, hemorrhoids, ulcerations, cysts, mastitis, and more! Calendula is very effective in treating eczema, a skin condition where the skin is irritated by constant itching, scaling & a thickening of the skin.

Antiseptic

It is an antiseptic, and improves blood flow to the affected area.


Astringent

Calendula has strong astringent properties. Astringent herbs cause tissue to contract or shrink, thereby stopping any bleeding or other discharge from the wounds. This ability makes calendula a preferred herb for treating minor cuts and burns.


Antibacterial

Calendula is effective against bacteria and is useful as an antiseptic action for minor cuts, scrapes, burns, bites & acne.


Antifungal

As an antifungal agent, it can be used to treat athlete's foot, ringworm, and candida. Calendula has also shown to have antiviral properties as well.


Antioxidant

Our skin is made up of connective tissues. These tissues give our skin strength and elasticity. When we are young and healthy the skin is smooth, elastic and supple. This is the effect of strong connective fibers. As we age their fibers are continually subjected to free-radical attack which breaks them down.  As a result, connective tissues become hardened and lose both elasticity and strength. The skin loses its ability to hold itself together and begins to sag and become wrinkled. Once a free-radical reaction is started it can cause a chain reaction which produces more free radicals, which ultimately damages thousands of molecules.  The only way our body has to fight them is with antioxidants.

When a free radical comes into contact with an antioxidant, the chain reaction is stopped.


Traditional Uses in Herbal Medicine:

Calendula flowers were believed to be useful in reducing inflammation, wound healing, and as an antiseptic. Calendula was used to treat various skin diseases, ranging from skin ulcerations to eczema. Internally, the soothing effects of calendula have been used for stomach ulcers and inflammation. A sterile tea has also been applied in cases of conjunctivitis. Historically, calendula is found to be antispasmodic, aperient, cholagogue, diaphoretic, vulnerary. An infusion of the flowers can be used for such gastrointestinal problems as ulcers, stomach cramps, colitis, and diarrhea. It is also useful taken internally for fever, boils, abscesses, and to prevent recurrent vomiting.  For external use, a good salve for wounds can be made from fresh or dried flowers infused in a carrier oil. A cooled tea or infusion can be used for a wound cleaner, dilute the infusion you can use it for an eye wash for conjunctivitis and styes. The salve or dilute tincture is good for bruises, sprains, pulled muscles, sores, and boils. The tincture is used internally for gastritis and for menstrual difficulties.


Calendula may be useful in the treatment of:

Conjunctivitis

Eczema, dermatitis

Acne and broken capillaries

Gastritis and chronic ulcers

Inflamed and sore eyes, it helps to reduce any swelling in the eye.

Jaundice

Minor burns including sunburns

Rashes & Diaper Rash

Warts

Minor injuries/wound healing

Cramps

Coughs

Pain and reducing swelling caused by the sting of a wasp or bee

Sprains and wounds

Easing radiation-induced dermatitis

even minor skin infections

Varicose veins

Cuts, Bruises & Sores

Ear Infections

Hemorrhoids


Athlete's foot, Ringworm, and Candida (yeast infections too)


An infusion of the petals can be used as a rinse to lighten and brighten hair.


Women who are breast-feeding find that rubbing Calendula cream on sore nipples helps relieve the pain and irritation. (it works!)





Applied locally as a tincture, creams, compresses, poultices, oil, ointment, balm or lotion, calendula is considered a natural antiseptic by homeopaths, or internally as tinctures,  homeopathic preparations and teas. Calendula also combines well with other herbs in many remedies.






Possible Interactions

There are no known scientific reports of interactions between calendula and conventional or herbal medications. In theory, taking calendula (or any herb) orally may interact with any medications you are taking,  so talk to your doctor before combining these drugs with calendula.




Precautions and Disclaimers

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.

Calendula is generally considered safe to use on your skin. Don' t apply it to an open wound without a doctor's supervision. People who are allergic to plants in the daisy or aster family, including chrysanthemums and ragweed, may also have an allergic reaction to calendula (usually a skin rash).

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use calendula. In theory, calendula could interfere with conception, so couples trying to get pregnant should not use calendula.


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