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Calendula

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  • Botanical: Calendula officinalis
  • Family: Asteraceae
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Calendula

Botanical

Calendula officinalis

Family

Asteraceae

Known as

Marigold, Ringelblume,

Old Use

medical, culinary, industry

Parts Used

flowers, leaves

Medicinal

abscess, acne, bruises, chapped skin, conjunctivitis, eczema, fever, hemorrhoids, scars, ulcers, vascular, varicose veins, wounds, sprains, scaring, stretch marks

Heart & Circulation

hemorrhoids, varicose veins

Infection & Inflammation

conjunctivitis, eye inflammation, fever, infections

Stomach & Intestinal

gastrointestinal, gastric inflammation, laxative

Skin & Hair

abscess, acne, burns, chapped skin, conjunctivitis, corns, cracked skin, eczema, itching, scars, wounds

Properties

antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, stimulant

Description

Calendula officianalis is a short-lived aromatic herbaceous perennial, growing to 80 cm (31 in) tall, with sparsely branched lax or erect stems. The leaves are oblong-lanceolate, 5–17 cm (2–7 in) long, hairy on both sides, and with margins entire or occasionally waved or weakly toothed. The inflorescences are yellow, comprising a thick capitulum or flowerhead 4–7 cm diameter surrounded by two rows of hairy bracts; in the wild plant they have a single ring of ray florets surrounding the central disc florets. The disc florets are tubular and hermaphrodite, and generally of a more intense orange-yellow colour than the female, tridentate, peripheral ray florets. The flowers may appear all year long where conditions are suitable. The fruit is a thorny curved achene.

Properties & Uses

Pot marigold is one of the best known and versatile herbs in Western herbal medicine and is also a popular domestic remedy It is, above all, a remedy for skin problems and is applied externally to bites and stings, sprains, wounds, sore eyes, varicose veins etc. It is also a cleansing and detoxifying herb and is taken internally in treating fevers and chronic infections. Only the common deep-orange flowered variety is considered to be of medicinal value. The whole plant, but especially the flowers and the leaves, is antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, skin, stimulant and vulnerary. The leaves can be used fresh or dried, they are best harvested in the morning of a fine sunny day just after the dew has dried from them. The flowers are also used fresh or dried, for drying they are harvested when fully open and need to be dried quickly in the shade. A tea of the petals tones up the circulation and, taken regularly, can ease varicose veins. An application of the crushed stems to corns and warts will soon render them easily removable. The leaves, blossoms and buds are used to make a homeopathic remedy. It is used internally in order to speed the healing of wounds.

Other Uses

The growing plant acts as an insect deterrent, it reduces the soil eelworm population. The flowers are used cosmetically. They can be used in skin lotions and when added to hair shampoos will lighten the hair colour. The flowers are an alternative ingredient of 'Quick Return' compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost. A yellow dye is obtained from the boiled flowers. An essential oil is obtained from the plant. It is used rather sparingly, in view of the difficulty in obtaining it, in perfumes that have a rather sharp tang. The flowers close when wet weather is likely to occur and they can therefore be used as a rough means of weather forecasting.

Leaves - raw. When eaten they first of all impart a viscid sweetness, followed by a strong penetrating taste of a saline nature. They are very rich in vitamins and minerals and are similar to Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) in nutritional value. Fresh petals are chopped and added to salads. The dried petals have a more concentrated flavour and are used as a seasoning in soups, cakes etc. High in vitamins A and C. An edible yellow dye is obtained from the petals. A saffron substitute, it is used to colour and flavour rice, soups etc. It is also used as a hair rinse, adding golden tints to brown or auburn hair. A tea is made from the petals and flowers, that made from the petals is less bitter. There is no record of the seed being edible, but it contains up to 37% protein and 46% oil.

Cautions

Low potential for sensitization and contact dermatitis. Possible allergies if allergic to daisy family plants. Topical use may cause rash

Distribution

It is probably native to southern Europe, though its long history of cultivation makes its precise origin unknown, and it may possibly be of garden origin. It is also widely naturalised further north in Europe (north to southern England) and elsewhere in warm temperate regions of the world.

Constituents

The petals and pollen of Calendula officinalis contain triterpenoid esters and the carotenoids flavoxanthin and auroxanthin (antioxidants and the source of the yellow-orange coloration). The leaves and stems contain other carotenoids, mostly lutein (80%), zeaxanthin (5%), and beta-carotene. Plant extracts are also widely used by cosmetics, presumably due to presence of compounds such as saponins, resins, and essential oils. The flowers of Calendula officinalis contain flavonol glycosides, triterpene oligoglycosides, oleanane-type triterpene glycosides, saponins, and a sesquiterpene glucoside.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.