Library of Nature: Calendula

Calendula is known by many names. You can refer to it as Calendule, English Marigold, Scotch Marigold, or Fleur de Calendule. Scientifically, this highly versatile and medicinal plant is called Calendula officinalis. Calendula flowers grabbed the attention centuries ago with their brilliant golden and orange colors.  They have been used by various tribes and in different civilizations for different purposes, including coloring fabric and food, adding flavor to food, and beautifying temples. 

Native to the Mediterranean region, this plant’s name comes from the Latin word kalendae, meaning “the first day of the month” due to its monthly blooming nature.

 

What Does It Contain?

Calendula has been used to aid in household chores for a long time. Eventually, its excessive usage led to the discovery of its health benefits when used topically and orally. The bright gold-yellow petals of the Calendula plant are packed with antioxidant compounds, such as carotenoids and flavonoids.[1] Several studies have shown that the Lutein and Beta-carotene in Calendula are absorbed by our body and converted into Vitamin A. The flowering plant is also rich in two dominant fatty acids called calendic and linoleic acids.

A Brief History of Calendula

Calendula was used in place of saffron by the poor folks of medieval Europe. It was also used as a coloring agent for clothes, food, and even hair. It was believed that St. Hildegard was the first herbalist of the 11th century who cultivated the plant in what is now Germany. On the opposite spectrum, Calendula was also widely popular in the ancient times of South Asia.  The Ayurvedic practitioner believes that Calendula has a cooling energy, despite its bitter and pungent taste. Calendula tea was also popular in traditional Chinese medicine.  

Benefits of Calendula

Following are some of the incredible benefits Calendula has been found to offer:

  • It Helps Improve Various Skin Conditions

Calendula’s effectiveness against various skin conditions was discovered a long time ago. The herb can particularly help with skin infections and fungus. Various studies and research also found Calendula to be effective against diaper rash and various other skin conditions.[2] The Vitamin A in Calendula also makes it an excellent anti-aging agent.

  • It Helps in Healing of Wounds and Pressure Ulcers

A study was conducted on animals to observe the effect of Calendula on wound healing.[3] In 2016, another research was conducted to closely see the effect of Calendula on ulcers.[4] These studies and various others saw a considerable difference in the conditions of the study group that was actively using calendula.  In addition to seeing a vast improvement in the patients of venous leg ulcers, the researchers also noticed no adverse reaction. Using Calendula with regular medicine also decreased odor and infection in diabetic patients with long-term foot ulcers. 

  • Offers Relief from Muscle Spasms

A study conducted by the Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at the Aga Khan University Medical College concluded that Calendula could help avert and provide relief from muscle spasms.  The crude extract of the flower was the star ingredient in preventing spontaneous muscle contractions. Women suffering from menstruation cramps also found relief from the flavonoids present in Calendula.

The Final Word

Calendula has proven time and again that it can help us fight off numerous ailments. So much about the plant and its benefits are still unknown, and the potential is endless. You can also bring a Calendula tincture and capsules to your home and make it a part of your day-to-day life to experience the incredible benefits of this powerful herb.

 

References:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5937015/

[2] https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1757-899X/571/1/012082/pdf

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27426257/

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27974009/

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