Marigolds play an important role in traditional culture and medicine of Mexico and North and South America. The flower is known as “flower of the dead” in Mexico, and was cultivated by ancient Aztecs and modern Mexicans for the annual Day of the Dead ceremony. It is also used in festivals in Nepal, India, Thailand, and Ukraine. The flower petals were used in food, as a skin wash, and for yellow dye. Marigold was used traditionally for supporting healthy digestion and gastrointestinal function, and for supporting immune function. The dried, ground flowers are used as chicken feed as a source of carotenoids to enhance the color and nutrition of egg yolks, and as a yellow food dye in Europe. Marigolds are commonly known today as a gardening tool to protect plants against nematodes when planted in fields.
What is Marigold Used for?
Marigold is most commonly used today as a source of carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, for supporting healthy vision Topical applications of marigold have been used to support healthy foot tissue in healthy volunteers with bunions.
Marigold or more commonly Calendula has been used medicinally for centuries. Traditionally, it has been used to treat conjunctivitis, elephantiasis, eczema, gastritis, minor burns including sunburns, warts, and minor injuries such as sprains and wounds. It has also been used to treat cramps, coughs, and snake bites. Calendula has a high content of flavonoids, chemicals that act as anti-oxidants in the body. Anti-oxidants are thought to protect body cells from damage caused by a chemical process called oxidation. Oxidation produces oxygen free radicals, natural chemicals that may suppress immune function.
Calendula has been considered beneficial in reducing inflammation and promoting wound healing. It has been used to treat a variety of skin diseases and has been seen effective in treatment of skin ulcerations, eczema, juvenile acne and dry phthiriasis. Improvement has been seen in as little as 3-4 days of treatment according to the Universitatea de Medicina si Farmacie.
Calendula is one of several herbs used traditionally to treat conjunctivitis and other eye inflammations as it helps to reduce the swelling and redness of eye infections. It is also believed that calendula may have some anti-spasmodic action, and as such, it has been used to relieve menstrual cramps.
Calendula is used to aid the healing of wounds and internal and external ulcers. It is an anti-septic and improves blood flow to the affected area. Some clinical studies validate the early treatment of stomach ulcers, although further research is needed (Chakurski 1981; Krivenko 1989).
Calendula cream is good for acne and nappy rash. An infusion is good for digestion and relieves colitis and symptoms of menopause. As an anti-fungal agent, it can be used to treat athlete’s foot, ringworm, and candida. The tincture applied neat to cold sores encourages healing.
Calendula contains chemicals, which have been shown in animal studies to speed up wound-healing by several actions that include increasing blood flow to the affected area and promoting the production of collagen proteins. Calendula also possesses anti-septic and anti-inflammatory effects due to its flavonoid content. In mouthwashes and gargles, calendula soothes sore throat or mouth tissue; in solutions, it has been uses to treat hemorrhoids.
Compresses of calendula blossoms are helpful for varicose veins. Results from recent animal and laboratory studies show that calendula may also have some anti-invective properties, particularly against fungal infections and against viruses.
Calendula high-molecular weight polysaccharides stimulate immune system activity (Wagner 1985) and has been researched for immune system activity. It was initially determined to have some potential therapeutic activity against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): extracts significantly inhibited HIV-1 in vitro, and reduced HIV-1 reverse transcription in a dose- and time-dependent manner (Kalvatchev 1997).
In one small study of about 250 women undergoing radiation therapy after surgery for breast cancer, a commercial calendula ointment reduced the amount of skin irritation better than another commonly-used commercial preparation. Women who used the calendula ointment also reported less pain from the radiation. Investigations into anti-cancer and anti-viral actions continue.
More than just a pretty flower, the Calendula variety of Marigold has been utilised for thousands of years for its impressive health benefits. It is thought that the Marigold originated in Egypt and was first introduced to Britain and other countries by the Romans – it was one of the earliest cultivated flowers.
Also known as “Pot Marigold”, Calendula was an important medicine in Ancient Greece, Rome and Arabia. It was most commonly used as a skin treatment, with preparations used for treating minor wounds, callouses, insect bites and stings, eczema, itches, burns and hemorrhoids.
Calendula most popular use from ancient times to modern day has been for healing the skin of wounds, burns, rashes, itchiness, bites and swelling. It has been found that Marigold has the ability to promote the growth of healthy new tissue, increase blood flow to the affected area, boost collagen production (which firms and strengthens skin), hydrate dry skin and speed up the process of skin repair following surgery or damage.
Marigold’s ability to help treat wounds is believed to be due to stimulation of epithelial cell production (the cells that make up the outer surface of the body), mostly as a result of the presence of glycoproteins and nucleoproteins. It’s also linked to increased cell turnover and improved collagen metabolism stimulation.
Used during First World War and the American Civil War as an antiseptic for wounds, the main compounds within Calendula are the triterpenoids, which are claimed to be the most important anti-inflammatory and antidemocratic (preventing swelling) components within the plant.
Another well-researched use of Marigold extract is applying it in drop form to the inside of the ear canal to help treat bacterial ear infections and decrease pain. It has been found that these drops can lower inner-ear swelling and inflammation within just a couple of days of use.
Calendula oil is an excellent antioxidant source. This beautiful orange and yellow oil is rich in carotenes and carotenoids – the compounds responsible for the plant’s radiant colour. These phytochemicals are re-cursors to the production of antioxidant Vitamin A.
Research has found that Calendula extract is effective in the treatment of conjunctivitis and other ocular inflammatory conditions. The extract demonstrates antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and immune-stimulating properties that were shown to reduce eye infections. The vision is also protected by these extracts, guarding the delicate tissues of the eye from UV and oxidative damage.
Due to its anti-microbial and antiseptic qualities, Marigold is an effective remedy for sore throats, gingivitis, tonsillitis and mouth ulcers. Gargling with Marigold tea will help to soothe the mucus membranes of the throat whilst easing the pain.
Calendula or Marigold tea can be consumed to nourish the skin, act as an internal anti-fungal agent and to soothe the intestinal tract. The tea is delicious and mildly detoxifying.
Calendula or Marigold oil can be used in skin care and body massage, it can also be applied directly to a damaged skin area. Typical Use Use 10% Calendula oil to a 90% ratio of a lighter carrier oil such as Sweet Almond, Grape seed or Wheatgerm oil. Use 30ml of this blend for a full body massage. It can be applied directly to a troubled skin area. To make Calendula tea: 1 teaspoon of flowers to 1 cup of hot water. Folklore and History
The Ancient Greeks, who used the petals for decoration, also knew of Marigold’s other uses, such as colouring for food, make-up, dying fabrics and medicinal uses. Marigolds have been grown in the gardens of Europe since the 12th century. By the 14th century it had become increasingly popular for its many and varied “magical powers.” One medieval author named Macer described Marigold in his volume on herbs – he thought that merely to look upon the blooms would improve eyesight and draw evil “humors” from the head.
Calendula has been revered as a magical medicinal for centuries. Ancient Egyptians used it to rejuvenate their skin, whilst the Greeks and Romans used it as a culinary garnish. In ancient as well as modern India, Calendula is often strung into garlands for weddings and religious rituals. Powers of protection and prophecy have been attributed to this herb. Strewing Calendula under your bed was said to offer you protection from robbers and thieves and to induce prophetic dreams if you had been robbed, helping you to identify the culprit!Swanson Full Spectrum Calendula Flower (Marigold) 400mg (60 caps) £7.99 Constituents
Marigolds: Top 11 Uses for the Skin, Eyes and More
You’ve likely seen brightly orange-colored marigolds in flower or vegetable gardens many times before, but did you know that certain species of marigold flowers actually have many impressive health benefits as well?
A particular species of marigold flower, Calendula officinalis (commonly just called calendula or “pot marigold”), is used to make healing herbal ointments, teas, tinctures and topical treatments that have been in existence for almost 1,000 years.
While marigolds of the tagets genus are usually planted in gardens to repel bugs, add color and give off a pleasant smell, marigolds of the Calendula genus are utilized for their many anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and anti-fungal compounds. (1) In fact, according to a report published in Pharmacognosy Review, more than 200 different commercial and medical formulations now contain concentrated calendula marigold extract. (2)
Benefits and uses for Calendula officinalis marigolds include treating conditions, such as rashes, allergies, eczema and dermatitis; pain, swelling and redness caused from muscle cramps, muscular injuries or sprains; eye inflammation and itchiness caused by conjunctivitis; and fungal infections, including athlete’s foot, candida, ear infections and ringworm.
What Are Marigolds?
Calendula officinalis is in the plant family known as Asteraceae or Compositor. Calendula marigolds are yellow-orange in color and form small florets of petals that are harvested and dried for their numerous medicinal properties.
While there are various species of marigold flowers grown around the world, calendula is considered to be the most medicinal. It’s native to Egypt and parts of the Mediterranean but is now grown in every continent, usually blooming during the warmer months of the year (from about May through October in the Northern Hemisphere).
Botanical research shows that calendula marigolds contain many active constituents, including various antioxidants and volatile oils. These are responsible for the flowers’ bright color and strong smell; ability to repel certain fungi, pests and insects; and also its capability of improving blood flow and controlling inflammation. (3)
1. Homemade Skin Treatment
Ointment can be used to soothe sunburns, warts, bites, acne and ulcerations, in addition to healing wounds, dry skin and blisters.
2. Digestive-Soothing Tea
Tea can be made with marigold flowers to lower symptoms caused by inflammatory bowel diseases/colitis. Marigold tea is also beneficial for treating gastritis, acid re flux and ulcers, as well as reducing stomach or menstrual cramps.
3. Immune-Boosting Formula
Marigold (calendula) drops or extract are sometimes used to manage symptoms of coughs, sore throats or fevers.
4. Eye, Genital or Skin Infection Treatment
Salves made with marigold have long been used to treat fungal infections of the genitals, feet, eyes, mouth, skin, and also to lower hemorrhoids, anal tears and candida.
Some of the active ingredients found in marigolds (calendula) that give it these capabilities include: (4)
1. Lowers Inflammation and Free Radical Damage
Research shows that calendula dozens of active chemicals make it a natural cytotoxic, hepatoprotective and spasmogenic herb that’s been demonstrated in both animal and human experiments. Extracts taken from the flower have been shown to lower C-reactive protein and cytokine levels and protect cells from being damaged by free radicals — one of the primary causes of aging and cell deterioration.
Calendula not only controls oxidative damage from free radicals that can affect delicate tissues, such as those of the eyes, but also defend against infections of the skin, GI tract and genitals caused by viruses or bacteria. (5)
In addition, research also shows that calendula marigold helps fight growth of bacteria in wounds and might even be able to reduce symptoms associated with chemotherapy and cancer treatments. (6)
2. Reduces Eye Inflammation and Conjunctivitis
Findings from animal studies show that calendula extract is capable of treating conjunctivitis and other chronic ocular inflammatory conditions.
These extracts have demonstrated antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal and immune-stimulating properties that not only reduce eye infections, but protect vision by guarding delicate tissues of the eyes from the effects of UV light, deterioration/aging and oxidative damage. (7)
3. Has Natural Antiseptic Properties
One well-researched use of marigold/calendula extract is applying it in drop form to the inside of the ear canal to help treat bacterial ear infections and decrease pain. It’s been found that calendula drops can lower inner-ear swelling and inflammation within just a couple short days of use, even without the use of antibiotics in some cases.
Due to its anti fungal properties, calendula can also be used to treat vaginitis/vaginal infections and jock itch. Applying an ointment or cream containing marigold/calendula, probiotic “good bacteria” like Lactobacillus sportiness and lactic acid to the affected area of the groin/genitals for four weeks can help decrease symptoms, including pain, itchiness, burning when urinating and dryness. (8)