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 Herbal Materia Medica: Calendula  
Calendula officinalis


Names: Marigold, Marybud, Gold-bloom, Caltha officinalis.

Habitat : A common garden plant.

Collection : Either the whole flower tops or just the petals are collected between June and September. They should be dried with great care to ensure there is no discoloration.
Part Used: Petals, flowerheads.


  • Triterpenes, pentacyclic alcohols such as faradol, brein, arnidiol, erythrodiol, calenduladiol, heliantriol C and F, ursatriol, logispinogenine;
  • the calendulosides A-D;
  • [[alpha]] & [[beta]]-amyrin, taraxasterol, gamma-taraxasterol, and lupeolFlavonoids;
  • isorhamnetin glycosides including narcissin & quercitin glycosidesincluding rutin;
  • volatile oil;
  • chlorogenic acid.
Actions: Anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, lymphatic, astringent, vulnerary, emmenagogue, anti-microbial.

Indications: Calendula is one of the best herbs for treating local skin problems. It may be used safely wherever there is an inflammation on the skin, whether due to infection or physical damage. It may be used for any external bleeding or wound, bruising or strains. It will also be of benefit in slow-healing wounds and skin ulcers. It is ideal for first aid treatment of minor burns and scalds. Local treatments may be with a lotion, a poultice or compress, whichever is most appropriate. Internally it acts as a valuable herb for digestive inflammation and thus it may be used in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers. As acholagogue it will aid in the relief of gall-bladder problems and also through this process help in many of the vague digestive complaints that are called indigestion. Calendula has marked anti-fungal activity and may be used both internally and externally to combat such infections. As anemmenagogue it has a reputation of helping delayed menstruation and painful periods. It is in general a normalizer of the menstrual process.

It is a remedy long used throughout Europe for wound healing and ulcer treatments. Part of its healing power appears to be based on the presence of terpenes. A triterpene glycoside called calendulozide B exerts a marked anti-ulcerous and sedative action. In a broad spectrum check of physiological impact it did not have any negative effect on the cardiovascular system, the tone of intestinal smooth muscles, kidney function or on the biligenic function of the liver. The researchers say the drug is devoid of locally irritating properties and an insignificant toxicity. If this is the case with an extracted constituent, much more can be claimed for the whole plant!

Ellingwood recommends it for the following patholgies: varicoseveins, chronic ulcers, capillary engorgement, hepatic& splenic congestion, recent wounds and open sores, severe burns.

Combinations: For digestive problems it may be used with Marshmallow Root and American Cranesbill. As an external soothing application it can beused with Slippery Elm and any other relevant remedy. A useful anti-septiclotion will be produced by combining it with Golden Seal and Myrrh.

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonsful of the florets and leave to infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. External use as a lotion or ointment forcuts, bruises, diaper rash, sore nipples, burns and scalds.

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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......more
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