Copyright © 1990 - 2016 by Robert Dale Rogers. All rights reserved.
No portion of this book, except for a brief review, may be reproduced, or copied and transmitted, without permission of author. This book is for educational purposes only. The suggestions, recipes and historical information are not meant to replace a medical advisor. The author assumes no liability for unwise or unsafe usage by readers of this book.
(Calendula officinalis L.)
(C. arvensis L.)
PARTS USED- flower petals
Calendula Marigold, comfort of the world,
noble maid, help us towards salvation.
14TH CENTURY DUTCH HYMN
The gold flower is good to be seen,
It makes the sight bright and clean.
What flower is this which bears the Virgin’s name,
And richest metal joined with the same?
The Marigold goes to bed with the Sun
And with him rises weeping.
Open fresh your round of starry folds,
Ye ardent marigolds!
Jealous girls these sometimes were,
While they lived, or lasted here;
Turned to flowers, still they be
Yellow, marked for jealousy.
Calendula is from Latin CALENDS, for calendar, alluding to constant blooming on new moon. More specifically, the Latin CALARE means, “to call” in reference to the Roman tradition of calling out the first day of the month.
The Old Saxon name YMBGLIDEGOLDA means, “turns around with the sun”.
Marigold is a corruption of the Anglo Saxon MERSO- MEARGEALLA, but referring to Marsh Marigold. Officinalis refers to oficina, an herb with medicinal quality carried in an apothecary. A Persian name translates as “always spring”.
In medieval England, a popular legend had the Virgin wearing golden blossoms; and poets began to call the herb MARY GOLDE, or MARY GOWLES. In that country, it comes into bloom about March 25th, the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary.
The French MARIÉE means spouse or bride. It may connect Mary Magdalene, stemming from Maudlin, associated with Jesus as the bride of the sun, according to Thea Summer Deer. Interesting.
Its relationship to the sun led to names such as SOLSEQUIA, or SOLIS SPONSA.
Legend has it that adulterous women would find it impossible to enter a church if even a single marigold was present. To dream of calendula was an omen of good things to come.
Calendula is an introduced annual, originally from southern Europe; and India before that.
Many of the gods and goddesses, including Mahadevi, that adorn temples of that country, are crowned with wreaths of marigolds. Followers wear crowns of the flowers at her annual festival.
Dr. Campbell Thomson, in a monograph on Assyrian vegetables drugs, identified calendula on tablet dated 600 BC. Dioscorides recommended its use in cancer, and Fuchsius its juice for toothache.
The Romans called it VERRUCARIA, or “wart curing plant”.
Hildegard de Bingen called it RINGULA.
It has a variety of cultivars, all with yellow-orange flowers of different size. Field Calendula is a wild annual from southern Europe, not as commonly grown in gardens of North America.
At dawn, the blossoms open and rise with the sun, creating the poetic image of a “weeping flower”, much used in literature to represent immortality and such. The nickname “Little Hourglass” is due to the flower opening and closing with the sun. Calendula can predict the weather. Look out at 7 am, and if the petals are still closed, it’s going to rain. If open, the day will be sunny. This led to the name Solis Sponsa, or Bride of the Sun.
It is associated with magic, representing sun and fire. When carried on your person in court, it gave protection and victory in legal matters. The flowers were thrown around doors and under beds to protect against evil. Calendula has come to symbolize constancy and endurance in love.
Calendula has a dark side, associated with jealousy due to its resemblance to emblematic shields worn on the left arm of fighters in Provence.
The plant was called GAUCHEFER, and Chaucer picked up on this, and said the flowers represent a jealous garland. In Mexico, the flower is the symbol of death, and is only seen at funerals.
Likewise the Germans decorated graves, and called it TODTENBLUME, or flower of the dead; perhaps a symbol of eternal life.
Another German name was Monk’s Head, due to the similarity between petal-less blossoms and their tonsure.
During the reign of Henry VII, if a maiden touched the flower with her bare foot she was able to understand the language of birds. Gypsy legends suggest that a potion containing calendula petals allows one to see fairies.
In England, the herbalist Culpepper suggested calendula “strengthen the heart exceedingly, and are very expulsive, and a little less effectual in the smallpox and measles than saffron. The juice of leaves mixed with vinegar, and any hot swelling bathed with it, instantly gives ease, and assuages it. The flowers, either green or dried, are much used in possets, broths and drink, as a comforter of the heart and spirits, and to expel any malignant or pestilential quality which might annoy them.”
He recommended a plaster of powdered dried flowers, lard, turpentine, and rosin on the breast of those with an ailing heart or fever of any type.
At one time Calendula was called “the poor man’s saffron”, mostly due to colour. It was used to dye cheese and butter from pale winter cream, explained why butter was once considered useful in treating burns. The use of salted yellow flowers, including calendula, to colour butter was outlawed in 1396.
Matthiolus, the 17th century physician, called the plant HERBA CANCRI, or cancer herb. And since early Roman days, the plant has been used for carcinoma.
Today, in many Slavic kitchens, the dried, powdered flower is still used extensively as a saffron substitute for taste and colour. The young leaves are tart and edible, but a cultivated taste.
Early German settlers to North America, would never think of eating a leg of mutton without marigold sauce. They also used marigold vinegar in salad dressings, or as a sauce on parsnips and other sweet root vegetables.
During the 16th and 17th century, calendula tea was used for headaches, toothaches, liver and eye problems.
In India, the leaves are given as a vegetable to children suffering scrofula, and the petals for relief of pain associated with bruises, sprains and insect bites. The leaf juice has been used to remove warts. The flowers are used in various sacred and religious ceremonies, as offerings to the Hindu gods Vishnu and Lakshmi.
The French Pharmacopoeia of 1840 contains five different calendula products from the leaves, seeds and whole herb for curing cancer.
Russian use includes a heart tonic and hypotensive agent that reduces edema. Traditionally, the flowers were used by Russian women, to start delayed menstruation or relieve dysmenorrhea. In several cultures, the leaf and flower perfume was said to aid expulsion of afterbirth.
During World War 1, the flowers were used as a hemostat, to stop bleeding; while during the American Civil War, the leaves were used on open wounds.
The leaves can be juiced, and given to those with constipation. The taste is sweet and then quite salty; making a nice addition to soups and broths.
The traditional use of Calendula flowers in soup is an old English practice. With a damp winter and little sunshine, Calendula helped improve resistance to colds and flu.
Calendula was an official drug of the US Pharmacopoeia during the latter part of the 19th century, both as succus and tinctured product.
The Eclectic physicians were among the biggest supporters. One of these, Dr. William Clary wrote, “as a local remedy, after surgical operations, it has no equal in the Materia Medica...if applied constantly, gangrene will not follow...when applied to a wound, it is seldom that any suppuration follows.”
Dr. John Pattison, another great Eclectic, was one of the pioneers and highly successful practitioner of escharotic salves.
He showed that blending golden seal and zinc chloride helped reduce the pain of cancer salves, but increased the effects of the zinc chloride.
By using Calendula ointment, he created less pain than the bloodroot salves of Eli Jones, and others. And each day he increased the ointment’s potency, until the nerves became numb, and more could be applied.
See below for his paste recipe, and read Ingrid Naiman’s book on Cancer Salves for greater detail.
Dr. Ellingwood, in American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy 1898, describes the physiological action of marigold as being a “paralysis of vasomotor nerves to the arterial capillary vessels. This, in turn, attracts white corpuscles, which induces adhesive inflammation, promoting unity by first intention.”
In those days, the recommended application was a cerate, of wax, lard or another oil base. It was promoted for varicose veins, chronic skin ulcers, capillary engorgement, insect stings, sprains, wounds, cuts and open sores.
All these were due to its antiseptic properties and ability to create scar formation without contracting tissue.
Various physicians including Cater and De Camp found calendula superb in treating obstinate vomiting.
As a specific tincture, it was diluted four times with water to treat acne, vaginitis, cervicitis, endometriosis, vaginal abrasions, erosions of the os uteri, non-specific urethritis, leucorrhea, lacerated perineum and uterine subinvolution, by Dr. Felter in 1922. He recommended the tincture be diluted 1:4 in rosewater for mild conjunctivitis and aural inflammation.
He combined one fluid dram of tincture with one ounce of boric acid, as a dusting powder for sore nipples, purulent otitis media, and excoriations.
John Lust recommended the fresh plant juice for warts externally.
The 1937 edition of the US Dispensatory claimed calendula “has no virtues beyond that of a feeble aromatic”, and discontinued its official status. Such idiots!
In animal husbandry, the petals are mixed into the feed of miserable or fretting animals, to help cheer them up. Work by Kolacz et al, J of Animal and Feed Sciences 1997 6:2 looked at an herbal mixture containing calendula florets, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, sweet basil and chamomile flowers on weaned pigs suffering runting syndrome.
The five herb mixture was most effective in promoting weight gain compensation.
Race horses are fed several handfuls a day, mixed with bran, to tone both arterial and venous circulation. In the Middle East, the flowers were fed to horses to enhance endurance and speed. Hildegard de Bingen, in the 12th century, suggested calendula juice for cow or sheep coughs, or if they have eaten something bad that causes them to swell up rapidly.
The fresh petals are picked by hand, leaving the green centre of the flower. This is impractical for large commercial farmers, who pick the whole heads. The best time to pick is middle of day, when moisture is low, and resins are high. Do not let flowers go to seed, except a few for next year’s crop.
The petals are sweet and warm in flavour, but the base that is often removed contains bitter, salty and pungent qualities that give additional properties.
The flower/petals should be dried in shade on paper, not screen, and kept as much as possible from touching each other. Temperatures up to 115° F do not cause any significant loss of quality. The petals dry quickly, but the receptacle does not. Flavonoid content decreases by 50% in only one day at room temperature.
The petals are very hydroscopic, and require careful storage in a moisture proof container. Dried petal weight is between 7 and 9% of fresh weight; and retain 35% phenolic acids and 10% carotenoids.
The latter are lost in storage, with 28-30% loss in content only 3.5 hours after collection.
The ligulate flowers contain higher concentrations of flavonoids, carotenoids, and saponins, while volatile oils are higher in the receptacle. Tannins are similar at around 11%.
The seeds can be planted directly in ground, or started two months early as transplants.
While some authors believe the seed is only viable for a year, a study by Formanowiczowa et al, Herba Polonica 1998 44:2 found no decrease in germination after three years; 50% decrease after 6-7 years, and only 10% germination by year 10.
They require low to moderate water, so can survive some drought conditions.
In the field, the herb competes well with weeds, even in half metre rows. Optimal seeding rate may be 12 kilograms to the hectare, as higher seeding than 40-60 plants to the square metre does not give significantly more flowering.
Dry flower yields of four to six hundred pounds can be expected from one growing season. Greenhouse production translated to 40 flowers per square foot with about twenty flowers on the first cutting and nearly ten more on a second crop.
Mechanical harvesters have been developed, by VEB Pharmazeutisches Werk, for efficient collection of calendula and German chamomile blossoms.
Some varieties with high carotenoid content are Campfater, Orange King and Pacific Tenheight Apricot, while total flavonoid is higher in the varieties Sakharova and Il’tarusko.
Pacific Beauty was the only one of 27 commercial cultivars to show resistance to powdery mildew. Work on greenhouse propagation of this variety, showed using low phosphorus levels optimizes flower size and numbers. Stewart & Lovett-Doust, Can J Plant Science 2003 83. This is interesting, as healthy field flowering is highly related to sufficient phosphate levels.
Calendula has a reputation as good companion plant to members of the Brassica family. It appears the roots give off chemical substances that deter nematodes and other root maggots.
One study by Qamar et al, Hamdard Medicus 1998 41:1 found garlic and calendula leaf extracts showed 70-80% mortality against nematodes after 48 hours exposure.
Dried blossoms are used in treating horses suffering digestive disorders, stress, lymphatic congestion, or urinary infections. Fresh calendula juice is given to sheep suffering flatulence from bad feed. For cattle or sheep coughs, spray the fresh juice into nostrils.
The herb helps treat entomophthoromycosis, a fungal infection of the nostrils, mouth or lips of horses.
Candidiasis and chromomycosis, a fungal skin infection that affects cows, horses, dogs and cats, is relieved.
Work by Dr. Steve Leeson is looking at supplementing calendula petals into the diet of laying hens to increase the current egg content oflutein. Based on the work of adding flaxseed to poultry diet to increase omega-3, additional lutein in the average Canadian’s diet may help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. The average Canadian consumes 200 eggs annually, making an already healthy food even better.
Lutein is already present in eggs at levels of approximately 290 mcg per yolk, and zeaxanthin at about 210 mcg.
Calendula salve is excellent for inflammation of the udder, combining well with comfrey.
The stem sap is said useful when applied to warts, corns and calluses.
Calendula in ethyl acetate has been found an effective control for the onion fungus Sclerotium cepivorum. Nettle extracts worked just as well. Calendula repels tomato worms and carrot flies.
Calendula is a promising source of natural colour dyes, ranging from yellow through red.
CONSTITUENTS - flower- 2-10% triterpenoid saponins A-F, especially calenduloside A,C and E; terpenoids such as lupeol, taraxerol, taraxasterol, and faradiol; flavonoids including rutin, astragalin, rutinoside, narcissin, neohesperoside, kaempferol, quercitin, isoquercitrin, and isorhamnetin; various carotenoids including lutein, carotene, loliolide, violaxanthin, zeaxanthin, and lycopene, bitter principle called loilolide (calendin) phytosterols, resins, mucilage, glycosides like narcissin, essential oils, trace minerals, faradiol-3-0-monoesters of palmitic, lauric and malic acid, salicylic acid (in fresh plant), phenolic acids such as p-hydroxybenzoic,vanillic, syringic, p-coumaric and caffeic; various penacylic alcohols including faradiol, brein, arnidiol, eryytodiol heliantriol C and F, ursatriol, longispinogenine and caldenduladiol; polysaccharides including arabinogalactans and rhamnoarabinogalactan; triterpenes alpha and beta amyrins, lupeol, and lupenone, tocopherols, chlorogenic acid, sugars (15.0 mg%) volatile oil, potassium chloride, potassium sulphate, silica and calcium sulphate. Small amounts of pyrethrin (0.009%) also present.
The orange color is due to lycopene. Lutein and zeaxanthin account for 90% of carotenoids. Various sterols have been isolated and identified by Adler et al, 1975.
Root- calendulosides A-D, alpha and beta amyrin, taraxasterol, and lupeol; glycosides of oleic and oleanolic acid.
Seeds- triterpene (C30) triols, flavonoids such as shikimic acid, as well as dimorphecolic acid, linoleic, oleic and linolenic acids, myristic acid seed sprouts- stigmasterol, cholest-7-en-3-beta-ol.
Shoots- calendic acid
Leaves- tocopherols, sterols, calenulosides, triterpene saponins, carotenoids, essential oil.
Stems and leaves- lutein and beta
Carotene root- ubiquinone, inulin,
C. arvensis- arvenoside A, avenacin A-1 and B-2.
Calendula is often thought of for healing a variety of skin disorders and wounds. In an open study, 30 patients with first or second-degree burns were treated three times daily for two weeks with a hydrogel containing 10% flower tincture. All steadily improved. Baranov et al, Dtsch Apoth Ztg 1999 139. But calendula is more than simply a first aid remedy for cuts and burns.
When taken hot, calendula promotes diaphoretic activity, helping eliminate toxins through the skin. It lowers fevers through anti-pyretic activity, combining well with yarrow, or elderflower.
At body temperature, the tea or succus relieves gastric ulcers associated with stomach heat. The flowers by nature are warm, dry and astringent.
Externally, it is quite useful in a variety of skin problems, including staph infections, furuncles, anthrax, acne, as well as diabetic skin infections and warts.
When taken cold, the same tea or tincture has a deeper-seated cleansing action on the lymphatic system. In fact, by stimulating lymphatic drainage, decreasing node inflammation, and increasing lymph circulation, it acts as a substitute for pokeroot, without the potential toxicity. The herb combines well with sweet clover and figwort for lymphatic congestion.
Zitterl-Eglseer et al, Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1997 57 isolated the anti-edema activity in calendula to various triterpendiol esters.
Calendula promotes granulation and combines well with comfrey root and horsetail in promoting bone cell growth.
As cool mouth rinse, calendula tea can be gargled for variety of mouth and throat inflammations, and drain deeper-seated lymphatic congestion of tonsils, or breast tissue. During the 1940s, German surgeons treated mouth and maxillary infections with calendula quite successfully.
In skin conditions such as boils, acne, eczema and such, calendula has powerful resorptive and antiseptic action. This is combined with tissue granulation and prevention of scar tissue. Children suffering chickenpox and measles will benefit from both its anti-itch relief and scar prevention properties.
This makes calendula important in treating secondary infection of leg ulcers. It appears triterpene and flavonoid fractions are highly anti- inflammatory, with faradiol monoester identified as most active.
Calendula is vasodilating; especially useful for lower limb congestion and edema related to capillary bed engorgement.
Carotenoids potentiate the action of interferon and increase number of T helper cells in circulation.
Lutein is one of the most important carotenoids found in petals. Animal studies show anti-tumour activity and enhanced lymphocyte proliferation. Lutein appears to prevent the risk of macular degeneration and other eye problems, by protecting delicate vessels from harmful blue light. A related carotenoid, xeaxanthin, present in the petals, accumulates with lutein in the macula, giving it a yellow colour. Zeaxanthin is the principal pigment of yellow corn, Zea mays, and from which the name is derived.
These compounds act like internal sunglasses to filter out destructive blue and ultraviolet rays, prevent cataract formation and fight free radicals.
Zeaxanthin is the predominant pigment in the fovea, the centre of the macula, with lutein more prevalent toward the periphery. The former is fully conjugated and may offer better UV protection.
Duncan et al, Exp Eye Res 2002:74 found lutein supplementation in patients suffering choroideremia, significantly increased the macular optical density.
Another study found lutein improved visual acuity in patients with age-related cataracts, compared to placebo. Olmedilla et al, Nutrition 2003:19.
A study of 225 non-smoking patients with retinitis pigmentosa, aged 18-60, found less decline in those taking 12 mg of lutein daily versus placebo. Archives of Opthamology 2010 April.
Lutein may help prevent coronary heart disease. In one study from Cambridge University, carotenoid intake from patients in Toulouse, France is double intake of patients from Belfast, Ireland, with corresponding less plaque clogging their arteries.
Dr. William Cook felt the herb reduced inflammation in varicose veins, both internally and wash on varicose ulcers.
Chew et al, Anticancer Res 1996 16 found a correlation between high lutein levels and the high number of estrogen receptors in female breast, suppressed mammary tumour growth, and enhanced lymphocyte proliferation.
Other work suggests lutein may protect and combat certain cancers such as breast, colon, lung and ovarian through apoptosis or angiogenesis.
Work by Parente et al, Acta Cir Bras 2011 26:1 found the flower extract arrests angiogenesis and induces neovascularization.
Ukiya et al, J Nat Prod 69:12 found triterpenes from the flowers
cytotoxic against colon, leukemia and melanoma cancer cell lines.
As of July 2004, there are at least 116 peer reviewed, published studies involving lutein and eye health. Lutein may reduce the irritative effects of high-energy wave lengths of light on the skin, according to recent research at Cornell and Harvard.
A recent trial in Italy looked at the effects of lutein on skin health, including hydration, elasticity and superficial lipids of the skin.
Females aged 25-50 were given 10 mg orally and 50 ppm in a topical application for 12 weeks.
Skin hydration increased 38%, elasticity by 8% and superficial lipids by 33% over placebo. Oxidation of beneficial lipids also decreased by 55% over placebo. When oral and topical were combined, skin hydration improved 60%, elasticity 20% and lipids present increased by 50%.
According to Clare Goodrick-Clarke, “used after trauma, the silica in calendula ensures that scar tissue does not become too thick and tight, but remains smooth and elastic.”
The herb possesses anti-fungal activity, making it useful in a wide range of conditions including ringworm, thrush, candidiasis, conjunctivitis, and athlete’s foot.
Diaper rash in 66 children under three years of age was studied in a randomized, double-blind study. Significant benefit was found. Panahi et al, Sci World Journal 2012 2012:810234.
Work by Dumenil et al, Annales Pharm Francaises 1980 36:6 found anti-bacterial properties in flowers and mother tincture. Calendula flavonoids showed activity against Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, Candida monosa, Sarcina lutea, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Tarle et al, Farm Vestn (Ljubljana) 1989 40:117.
The raceme sap is highly anti-microbial and in various calendula species shows activity against Pseudomonas syringae, P. fluorescens, Xanthomonas and Agrobacterium species. Radioza et al, Mikrobiol Z 2007 69:5.
The alcohol soluble constituents of Calendula are more anti-bacterial; while the water-soluble possess anti-viral activity; but this is not a hard and fast rule.
In a study of freeze-dried flowers, the water-soluble flavonoids increased the rate of neo-vascularization and induced the deposition of hyaluronan, a polysaccharide used for the formation of new capillaries. This tissue glycan is associated with neovascularization, suggesting a key role in topical use of the herb. Patrick et al, Phytomed 1996 3:1.
Recent research indicates it may play a role in controlling HIV infections. One study, by Kalvatchev et al, Biomed Pharmacotherapy 1997 51:4 showed significant reduction of HIV-1 reverse transcription activity. An 85% reduction was achieved after only 30 minutes exposure to an organic extract.
Russian scientists have found calendula tincture active against herpes simplex (cold sores), as well as APR-8, and A2 flu viruses, but not with the water extracts.
However, a 5% hot water extract has been found to inhibit encephalitis virus.
Trichomonas is killed by pedunculatine, an alpha and beta ionone, found in the flower extract.
Studies in Eastern Europe have found calendula extracts useful in the prevention and treatment of duodenal and gastric ulcers, as well as gastro-intestinal irritation and inflammation. It appears to work well with comfrey, with inhibition of Helicobacter pylori, tissue repair, and increasing effectiveness of antacids. Chakurski et al, Vnutreshni Bolesti 1981 20:6.
Polyphenols appear to increase bile secretions, which is helpful in a variety of liver related disorders.
This mild, bitter digestive tonic quality is useful for both liver and gall bladder functioning, and the prevention of gallstones, by enhancing bile and digestive enzyme release.
The polyphenol (calephlones) yield from calendula flowers is produced by alcohol extractions of 6-9 hours, four separate times.
Faradiol, the most abundant and active triterpenoid is equal to indomethacin in potency. Faradiol monoester is considered by some to be a useful measure for standardization. Taraxasterol, also found in Dandelion, was found comparable to indomethacin. Akihisa et al, Phytochem 1996 43.
One cup of herb tea three times daily was made with calendula flowers, dandelion root, St. John’s Wort, lemon balm and fennel seed. After fifteen days, palpable pain along the large intestine disappeared in 95.83% of patients.
Many people, including herbalists, need be reminded of calendula’s use in venous blood and uterine blood stagnation.
It combines well with hawthorn and horse chestnut, as both rely on saponins and flavonoids to stimulate and restore venous circulation, relieve stressed varicose veins and congestive dysmenorrhea. Taken internally, combined with calendula oil salve externally, the herb will decrease varicosities and phlebitis.
Add to this, its ability to stop bleeding, especially from hemorrhoids and fibroids, and you have a very useful herb for moderating menstrual stagnation.
Animal studies show saponin compounds decrease elevated levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and total lipids without affecting normal levels. Lin et al, Phytother Res 2002 16 found anti-tumour activity against hepatoma cell lines.
One hypocholesterolemic saponin is more active than clofibrate, and
is composed of oleanolic acid bound to a chain of hexose and uronic acid. Hatinguais et al, Chem Abstracts 1987 107. The saponosides A-F are similar in structure and activity.
Ovarian cysts, and tumours, including cancerous varieties of the breast and reproductive organs respond well to calendula, both externally and internally. Poultices of fresh flowers have been used in the treatment of breast cancer and cysts, as well as mastitis and cancerous skin ulcers.
Anti-tumor effects have been shown in studies. Manolov et al, Eksp Med Morf 1964 3:4. More recently, the benefit of lutein on breast cancer tumours has been shown. Chew et al, Anticancer Research 1996 16.
Calendula ointment was compared to trolamine in a study of 254 breast cancer patients undergoing radiation. Severe dermatitis was less frequent and less painful in calendula group. Pommier et al, J Clin Oncology 2004 1447-1453.
A cup or two of leaf and blossom tea has been found to stimulate breast milk production.
Laboratory studies have shown water extracts to possess anti-mutagen activity. The polysaccharides show significant immune stimulating properties, as do the lipophilic constituents of the insaponifiable fraction, which stimulate phagocytic activity in lab studies.
Cervical dysplasia responds well to astringent, antimicrobial and vulnerary properties of Calendula. Vaginal yeast infections are likewise relieved, such as Trichomonas vaginalis.
Vaginal applications of calendula suppositories or a strong infusion douche will work topically. Some herbalists believe calendula assists the lymph nodes in trapping and neutralizing the free floating, cell-wall deficient yeast when taken orally. Not sure.
Add to this, estrogen receptor influence and you have great potential in a number of hormone-related issues such as menopause, or amenorrhea.
Calendula decreases tension in the uterine muscles and helps improve menstrual cycle regulation. Its astringent action helps diminish excessive menstrual flow; and helps relieve high xeno-estrogen levels associated with liver dysfunction. It should therefore, be given consideration in cases of dysmenorrhea.
It works well with black cohosh for above conditions, as well as preventing uterine sub-involution after birthing.
Calendula possesses spasmogenic and spasmolytic activity useful in cramps and constipation. It exhibits cholinergic and calcium channel blocking activity. Bashir et al, Phytotherapy Research 20:10.
However, the herb may be too stimulating in the early stages of pregnancy, at least internally. Calendula creams and salves can be used safely during pregnancy, especially for varicose veins, hemorrhoids and to prevent stretch marks after the first trimester.
During labour, however, its oxytocic effect may be useful to promote contractions, speed delivery of the baby; and later remove any retained placenta. Calendula cream or oil is applied to perineal tears after childbirth; often combined with low potency homeopathics of same herb.
Calendula should be thought of for mild urinary tract infections, where anti-microbial activity is effective against bacteria adhering to ureter walls, and anti-inflammatory activity reduces painful spasms.
It combines well with uva ursi, pipsissewa, corn silk, marshmallow or cranberry, combining the above properties with demulcent and soothing activity.
One study by Della Logia, Plant Medica 1994 60:6 found triterpenoid compounds in CO extract, the most important anti-inflammatory part of the plant; in particular faradiol monoester.
Shahnaz et al, Pakistan Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research 2000 43:1 found calendula extracts at 20 mg/kg were as potent an analgesic as ASA, acetylsalicylic acid, at 40 mg/kg, twice as potent.
The fresh plant, including flowers, contains salicylic acid, which is potentially toxic to cats, at least internally. Do not put in herbal formulas for feline friends.
Schmidgall et al, Planta Medica 2000 66:1, found calendula a much stronger polysaccharide adhesive on irritated mucous membranes than marshmallow, plantain, or linden. In a controlled study with rats, a calendula/allantoin combination began healing wounds in less than 24 hours.
The polysaccharides have been shown to increase phagocytosis up to 100%. One study on mice showed the CO extract superior to water/alcohol extractions for anti-inflammatory activity, pointing to more abundant lipids and their activity.
Wagner et al, Arznwim-Forsch 1984 34:6, and Delaveau et al Planta Medica 1980 40:1 found polysaccharides with high molecular weight responsible for immune stimulatory activity. It is interesting to note that 40% of plant immune stimulants or enhancers are in the Compositae family. In this case, the high-density arabinogalactans are believed responsible.
Extracts of flower are both cytotoxic and possess anti-humoral activity. This appears to confirm the French reputation for neoplastic activity.
The flowers appear to inhibit metastasis of lung and B16F-10 melanoma cancer cell lines. Preethi et al, Asian Pac J Can Prev 2010 11:6.
Bezakova et al, Pharmazie 1996 51:2 found isorhamnetin glycosides possessing inhibitory activity on lipoxygenase.
Test tube studies suggest calendula extracts may act as potent spermicides (US patent # 3844,01 1975). Other lab tests indicate calendula water extracts have a sedative effect on the heart’s contractile activity.
Wojcicke, Herba Polonica 1980 26:4 looked at effects on cholesterol. Oral dosage for 3 months normalized serum cholesterol, free fatty acids, phospholipids, beta-lipoproteins, total lipids, and triglycerides in rats with experimental hyperlipidemia.
Leaf extracts possess analgesic activity. Ethanol extracts showed activity against gram positive and negative bacteria, but no anti-fungal activity. Chakraborthy et al, J Herb Med Tox 2008 2:2.
An interesting study by Turi et al, from Estonia investigated benefit of calendula, bearberry, German chamomile and St. John’s wort on E. coli and other gram-negative bacteria. The anti-bacterial action of all was low or none, and yet they influenced the surface characteristics of microbial cells and their putative virulence properties.
Calendula rhizomes contain saponins with anti-ulcer activity, when tested in various animal models including caffeine-arsenic, butadione and pylorus ligated procedures.
Calendula may play a role in the prevention of illness in painters, carpet layers, printers and other workers that regularly work with solutions refined from oil, according to Nico Vermeulen. In his Encyclopedia of Herbs, he mentions, “these people run the risk of permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system, with difficulty to concentrate being one of the major symptoms. The oil in marigold seeds is used to create a ‘reactive solution’ which oxidizes on contact with the air, thereby preventing harmful vapours being released”. I’m not sure exactly what he means, but it does sound interesting.
Dr. Francis Brinker suggests calendula is contraindicated in early pregnancy due to uterine bleeding. Fellow members of the American Herbalist Guild such as Christopher Hobbs, and Roy Upton believe it safe during pregnancy and lactation. In nearly twenty years of clinical practice, I never saw one problem, so I’m going to side with these Guild members on this particular issue.
Calendula flowers are listed in TCM texts of recent origin, and called JIN ZHAN JU. The herb is used to cool the blood, stop bleeding, treat stomach cold and pain, abdominal hernias, abdominal masses, flatulence and intestinal bleeding.
One un-controlled trial found calendula successful in treating periodontal inflammation. Gasiorowska et al, Czas Stomatol 1983 36:4.
Barajas-Farias et al, Planta Medica 2006 72 found protective effects from calendula on liver hepatocytes at low doses, but altered foci at higher doses in one rat study. This is an example of hormesis, and should be noted. The relevance to human experience is unknown.
Another rodent trial found hypoglycemic effect but again, relevance to humans is unknown. Yoskikawa et al, Chem Pharm Bull 2001 49.
Calendula root shows strong activity against human acute T leukemia cell lines with IC50 of 0.23 mg/mL. Wegiera et al, Acta Poloniae Pharm 2012 69:2 263-8.
One study in Planta Medica 1991, found Field Marigold (C. arvensis) active against VSV, or vascular stomatitis virus.
Rhinovirus infections respond to aerial parts of C. arvensis.
Avenoside A exhibits anti-inflammatory activity, while the avenacins inhibit pathogenic fungi in plants. The herb contains a substance that helps reduce blood pressure.
Calendula (Marigold) is used for badly healing wounds, with lacerated and crushed edges.
Additionally, Calendula is used for great irritability, with a tendency to choke and rheumatoid pains everywhere with light shivering that is aggravated while at rest.
Calendula is also beneficial on vesicular eruptions, inflammatory swelling of the sub-maxillary gland, the tonsils, the parotid glands and various lymph glands.
It combines well with Asclepias, and Red Root for mononucleosis, for example.
For deafness and catarrhal conditions, it helps relieve congestion and
inflammation, as well as eczema in the ears.
Calendula is suitable for painful, and inflamed wounds that tend to fester and suppurate.
Symptoms are worse in damp, heavy, cloudy weather.
DOSE- Tincture to third potency. The mother tincture is prepared from the whole fresh plant in flower. Dr. Cooper used 6X dilutions with good success in paralysis after a stroke and in some forms of deafness. Calendula 30X water sprays have shown some positive results in preventing fruit and vegetable rot.
Calendula produces a very useful infused oil. Some individuals like to make a sun-infused oil from fresh blossoms, but without preservation, the water content may create mold blooms and spoil it.
On the other hand, the dried petal powder combined with olive or canola oil is not the perfect product either.
So what is the best? I think the fresh blossoms, dried in shade for 72 hours are perfect for making 1:5 ratio oil. Put this is a warm place for up to ten days, shaking daily and strain. Those in a hurry, or living in a cold climate like the author, can set their crock pot at 100° F and heat for six hours uncovered. Strain, cool, and refrigerate.
The infused oil is used for a variety of skin problems including cracked or rough skin, diaper rash, cracked nipples, varicose veins, bedsores, warts and dry eczema.
In study by Sarell et al, Arch Pediat Adolescent Medicine 2001 155:7 calendula, mullein, St. John’s wort and garlic oil were tested as ear oil on 103 children aged 6-18. It proved as effective in relief as eardrop products containing ametocrine and phenazone in glycerin.
Calendula oil is a premiere wound healing product, for leg ulcerations, to persistent cuts with infection involved. Because Calendula is a potent stimulator of granulation, care must be taken not to allow excessive tissue formation that may result in keloid scar formation.
Saini et al, Homeopathy 2012 101 92-98 found calendula oil beneficial in a study on human gingival fibroblasts.
Pommier et al, J Clin Oncol 2004 22, found calendula ointment a safe and cost-effective treatment for prevention of mild to severe radiation- induced dermatitis in post-operative breast cancer patients. It was superior to trolamine, without the side-effects of itching and hives.
Pain reduction with ointments has been reported. McQuestion et al, Semin Ocol Nurs 2006 22:3; Bolderston et al, Support Care Cancer 2006 14:8.
Calendula cream has been reported, in one study, to reduce pain associated with post-mastectomy lymphedema.
To make a salve, simply combine one cup of calendula oil with one ounce of beeswax. Preserve with a few drops of benzoin essential oil, or grapefruit seed extract.
To make a suppository, use coconut oil instead of olive or canola. Then shape into suppository shape with aluminum foil or purchase molds from holistic pharmacy. At fridge temperature, they will keep quite well, and before inserting vaginally or rectally, let them warm at room temperature for one hour.
This is an excellent remedy for chronic infections, nonspecific vaginitis, hemorrhoids, cysts, or cervical dysplasia, stage 1 or 2. Echinacea and thuja extracts, made from coconut oil may be combined for human papilloma virus associated dysplasia, genital warts, and the like.
The leaves of calendula make an oil that is excellent for toning the thymus gland. Prepare as indicated for flowers and rub into affected area. Leaf and flower oil can be combined and rubbed onto the kidney area after bathing to draw out toxins. It is useful for joint pain and nerve pain of the legs. A recently dried leaf oil is prepared at 1:5, either as a sun infused product or in a crockpot in cooler climates.
CONSTITUENTS-Up to 45% fatty acids including neutral lipids 15.7%, phospholipids 0.6%, glycolipids 0.9%. From the fatty acids of the neutral lipids, 18:3 calendic acid. Seed oil yield averages about 16.6%, with calendic acid content of 45%, in good accessions.
Seeds contain 1.7% lauric, 17% linoleic, 3.2% linolenic, 2% palmitoleic, 6.7% palmitic and 7.3% oleic acid
Calendula seed oil is being looked at for its potential application in paints and lubricants. In Outlook on Agriculture, 2000 29:1 calendula seed oil showed excellent behavior in several paint formulations.
Another study, out of Holland, found 1235 kilograms of seed per hectare could be harvested with modified equipment.
Manual harvesting of flowers gives 8 times the yield of machinery collection; 16 tonnes per hectare as opposed to only two by mechanical means.
The extraction of Calendula using CO2 technology, results in a thick, waxy, orange paste.
Because no heat, pressure or solvents are used, this is the ideal process for Calendula blossoms.
It retains the flower’s volatile compounds, lipids, waxes and pigments.
One part of paste to 10-20 parts carrier oil gives a product similar, but superior to the infused oil above.
Note ligulate flowers contain up to 0.12% essential oil, but the central receptacles, which are ignored or thrown away, are up to 0.40% in volatiles. Saponins are three times richer in petals than receptacle. A carbon dioxide extract was found 3.5 times more anti-inflammatory compared to water extracts.
Over 200 commercial cosmetics contain calendula extracts, including Pure Elements Hydrating Conditioner, Nivea for Men After Shave Balm, and Clairol Herbal Essences Shampoo.
Calendula or Marigold Absolute is a very dark greenish brown liquid with intensely bitter herbaceous odour. It is rarely used in perfumes today, except where the green “crushed stalk” note is called for.
The absolute can add certain natural notes to chrysanthemum fragrances, and gives interesting effects with oak moss, and floral notes.
It contains calendulin (resin), as well as waxes and essential oils. Both alpha cadinol and eudesmol also present. The absolute can be used medicinally, but is far inferior to the carbon dioxide product in both quality and purity.
The essential oil of flowers inhibits growth of Bacillus subtilis,
E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeroginosa, and Candida albicans.
Work by Zitterl-Eglseer et al, J Ethnopharmacology 1997 57 found the triterpenoid esters in the flowers offer the same pain relief as indomethacin.
The ligulate florets contain up to 0.12% essential oil, and the infloresence receptacles up to 0.4%.
The oil contains menthone, isomenthone and caryophyllene. Gracza, Planta Med 1987 53; 20-25% cadinol, and eudesmol, nerolidol, epicubenol, alpha muurolol. Chalchat et al, Flav Fragrance Journal 1991 6.
One analysis of the flowers found 32-64% alpha cadinol. It appears the largest constituent is obtained from flowers picked at 7 degrees Celsius. Chilly for some people!
CONSTITUENTS- linalool 57%, geranyl acetate 7.7%, neryl acetate 4%, lavandulyl acetate 3%, geranial 2.8%, geraniol 1.4%, alpha terpineol 2%, eucalyptol 5.5% and minor components.
A water distillation of the leaves has been used for inflamed and sore eyes. Viaud suggests the distilled water is a skin drainer, useful for pyodermatitis and eczema. It kills Staphylococcus, is useful in hypertension and as an emmenagogue.
The water of Marigold flowers is appropriated to most cold diseases of the head, eyes and stomach; they are in their vigour when the Sun is in the Lion (Leo). CULPEPPER
Gerard mentioned “that the flowers and leaves of Marigold being distilled, and the water dropped into red and watery eyes, ceaseth the inflammation and taketh away the pains.”
The distilled water of marigold flowers is good for blockages of the liver arising from jaundice, promotes the menses, and is serviceable against contagion, if it is taken in 3-4 tablespoon doses often. SAUER
Brunschwig suggested Marigold water for diseases of the head, whether hot or cold; as well as drops in the eye at night to help clarify the sight.
Calendula is for those individuals who use cutting and sharp words, are argumentative and have a lack of receptivity in communication with others.
This is for those who lack tact and discretion, or listen only superficially.
Calendula flower essence helps promote healing warmth and receptivity, especially in the use of the spoken word and in dialogue with others. FLOWER ESSENCE SOCIETY
Marigold (C. officinalis) is for when there is a materialistic approach to life, often with a total denial of the psychic and spiritual dimensions. BAILEY
Calendula flower essence is for those who are nervous, anxious, distressed or fearful, lack confidence, demonstrate insensitivity towards others, or have a confrontational or stressful personality type. LIVING FLOWER
The soul imprint of Calendula expressed through the flower essence carries a sunny countenance, lending a warm resonance to its signature and bringing a warmth in communication with others. For those who are in professions like healing, teaching, and counseling, Calendula can greatly assist with compassionate care. MONTGOMERY
In Greek mythology, Caltha fell in love with the Sun God. When she was melted by the intensity of his rays, a solitary Marigold took her place.
The ancient ruler-priestesses, healers and seers live on in stories of wise women and fairy godmothers. In those ancient societies, the sun was a sacred symbol of life and deliverance, its journey forming the secular and spiritual framework of the solar year.
The priestesses, also brides of the sun- celebrated the solar holidays in sacred places...
Flowers who bloomed at these times and resembled the sun in shape were considered sacred- the Daisy during the vernal equinox, St.
John’s Wort at the summer solstice, Chicory and Calendula at the autumnal equinox. FISCHER-RIZZI
In this way, the heart and spirit of Calendula complement each other. I work with the spirit of Calendula to clear any blockage or congestion in the second chakra, which is where sexual issues present themselves.
Oftentimes, there is a direct connection between sexual issues
and reproductive challenges. In a case where the second chakra is compromised I will ask Calendula to come and help clear the aura. MONTGOMERY
Calendula is a visible example of the transition from watery chaos to the sun-like qualities of form, light and warmth-qualities that are needed to cleanse and heal a wound. MURPHY
In calling on the spirit of the plant, I see an adoring vision of a little girl. She is surrounded by butterflies and kneeling in this enchanted garden of God’s creation. She is completely joyous and filled with the beauty that surrounds her. AVERSANO
In India, Buddhists held pot marigold sacred to the goddess Mahadevi, who carried a trident emblem adorned with the flowers, while her followers crowned themselves with marigolds at her festival. FOX
Calendula is most certainly one of our wise old elders, and while her closing at night may be a metaphor for grief, her opening speaks of joy…When you allow this gilded flower to speak to your heart, the illusion of separateness dissolves.
THEA SUMMER DEER
A therapist facing a clinical choice between arnica and marigold would choose arnica for cases of yang inflammations of the skin and tissue originating from heat, and marigold for the yin inflammations.
For example, for a large, heavy set patient exhibiting signs of diabetic infections from heat such as furuncles around the mouth and on the back, arnica would be the medicine of choice; whereas marigold would be used to treat juvenile acne, which is cold in nature. Marigold is also useful for eczema when taken internally. KENNER
The Calendula patient has recurring burning pain in the epigastrium and sometimes also in the abdomen. The patient occasionally has a little dark blood in the stool, and medical investigation has detected gastritis with gastric ulceration. The patient has recurring eczema on the body, with red itchy lesions, recurring proctitis and anal eczema. ROSS
Calendula’s key word is generosity. It is a big hearted healer as it can open and cleanse on a broad spectrum. It is a support for those needing to open their hearts to others. EVELYN MULDERS
Orange and yellow discs dance on my inner field of vision as if the sun were raining individual bits of itself. I rouse from my reverie slowly, opening my eyes to bright blossoms displayed along the path I have laid down in. I remember now that I was dancing the jitterbug with this wild woman with an orange skirt on that when she spun around the skirt stood out straight.
Her name is Mary Gold, and she liked nothing more than to dance all day long, twirling and spinning. She had so much energy I could barely keep up with her. And then as the sun began to set she stopped her twirling, her petaled skirt closed, and she fell into a quiet slumber.
As I look around, I see hundreds of orange and yellow flowers opened wide appearing just like her skirt. I pick a blossom and hold it just below my belly button, letting the resonance of Mary Gold tune my vibration to hers. My energy pulses in rhythmic harmony as we dance in synchronicity. MONTGOMERY
Calendula’s primary perspective is of peace between inner and outer worlds. CRUDEN
Calendulas like full sun and follow the sun in its daily voyage, turning their heads to gain maximum benefit. The flower heads close when
the sun goes behind a cloud. On a psychological level, the individuals who are despondent when the weather is overcast or who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may find that regular use of the spagyric essence gives them a sunnier disposition. They may feel the cold rather intensely and are easily chilled. CLARE GOODRICK-CLARKE
DOCTRINE OF SIGNATURES
The colours of the flower correspond with the orange colour of the second chakra, and yellow of the third chakra; they also relate to sensations and emotions in regard to one’s self and others.
The soft, fuzzy hairs on the leaves and stems represent soothing, calming and nurturing. The golden glow in the center of the plant indicates warmth and radiance.
The dry, dead petals, in their string like appearance, look like nerve endings, another indication of the plant’s relationship to the nerves. PALLASDOWNEY
According to the Doctrine of Signatures…calendula was observed as being both sad and cheery. Dew droplets, which collected in the flowers during the night, were seen as tears of grieving, perhaps for the loss of her love, the sun. As the first rays of returning beloved shine on her face, drops like tears fall from her petals as she opens to receive him. Calendula’s dance with the light and the dark has inspired many a poet. THEA SUMMER DEER
MYTHS AND LEGENDS
Four wood nymphs were in love with the sun god Apollo, the most attractive of all the gods that dwelled on Mt. Olympus. Diana, sister of Apollo and virgin goddess of the hunt, became angry with the quarrels of the nymphs, who were her servants, and turned them into marigolds. SMALL
Calendula is ruled by Mars, the planet of war.
Under a Mars aspect are soldiers, military surgeons, and physicians; people whose jobs may demand heroism, such as firefighters or police; and those whose jobs demand extreme physical endurance, competitiveness, and willpower, such as athletes and sports people.
Mars relates to willpower, assertiveness, anger, ambition and heroism. Mars energy is helpful for people who are frightened, filled with dread, anxious for the future, and fearful about some impending catastrophe.
In anatomy, Mars rules the blood in all its aspects—the arteries and the blood cells; blood pressure and circulation; gall bladder and bile secretions; adrenal glands; muscles and tendons. Calendula is the premier remedy for wounds, amputations, and exhaustion after blood loss. CLARE GOODRICK-CLARKE
TINCTURE- 2-4 ml as needed. Flavonol content has been found highest in 60% tincture, so make this one at 1:3 of the fresh wilted petals; 1:5 of the dried petals.
For anti-fungal activity, the resins are best extracted with a 90% alcohol, or use the infused oil, essential oil, or CO2 extraction. Some herbalists remove green calyx, some do not.
SUCCUS- Take 5 parts the fresh flower petal juice and add one part of 95% alcohol. Easy! For this one, remove green calyx.
ROBERT’S TINCTURE- Take equal parts of fresh calendula flowers including the base. One half is infused, strained, and refrigerated with small amount of alcohol as preservative. The rest is covered immediately with 95% alcohol, and shaken daily for two weeks. Strain and combine equal parts. Good quality Calendula should contain no less than 0.4% flavonoids (hyperosides).
INFUSION- 8-14 grams in pint of boiling water. Drink one half cup up to four times daily. Calendula petals are highly hydroscopic and require moisture proof storage in areas of high humidity.
LUTEIN- 6 mg daily. The drugs cholestyramine and colestipol may decrease absorption.
CAUTION: Calendula appears to increase the sedative effect of anxiety or insomnia medications.
DR. PATTISON’S ENUCLEATING PASTE- Take equal parts of goldenseal root powder, zinc chloride, flour, and water, and nine parts calendula ointment.
CALENDULA EGG SUBSTITUTE- Pour one cup of boiling water over one tablespoon of fresh or dried calendula petals. Let steep until a rich yellow colour. Strain and discard the petals. Pour this tea into a small pan with one tablespoon of flaxseed. Bring to a boil for three minutes until tea is reduce to 3/4 cup. Transfer to food processor or blender and swirl for half minute until the seeds are crushed. Strain and refrigerate. Use two ounces to replace each egg in any recipe.
CELLULITE OIL- Combine a handful each of arnica and calendula blossoms, with insects removed, into a glass container. Add the rind of an organic lemon, and mix. Cover with a good organic canola oil, and shake daily for one month. Strain and move to fridge, adding a small amount of vitamin E for preservation. Rub into affected areas twice daily. Improvement should be noted in 6-8 weeks.
CALENDULA OINTMENT- 2-5% ointment is prepared by using 2-5 grams essential oil or CO2 extract in a 100 gram ointment. The traditional Calendula Butter is prepared from equal parts of lanolin, gently heated in double boiler, and freshly wilted calendula petals. Turn off heat and continue stirring for about 20 minutes. Strain and store.