Why calendula extract ought to be part of your personal health kit?


Calendula: Quick Facts

  • About 12-20 species of the genus Calendulahave been reported in various floras.
  • According to the Royal Horticultural Society of UK, Calendulagrow as annuals or woody-based perennials. They have simple, aromatic leaves and showy, orange or yellow, daisy-like flower heads in summer and autumn.
  • It grows to a height of 0.1 m to 0.5 m, and it is spread over the same distance. It takes 1 to 2 years to reach its full spread.

Calendula: Origins and History

Calendula officinalis, or pot marigold, is a genus of about 12 to 20 species of annual or perennial herbaceous plants in the daisy family Asteraceae, that are native to the area from Micronesia East through the Mediterranean region to Iran. They are also referred to as common marigold or Scotch marigold. Calendula should not be confused with other plants that are also known as marigolds, such as corn marigold, desert marigold, or marsh marigold, or plants of the genus Tagetes

The word Calendula has its origins in the Latin word “kalendae”, meaning the first day of the month. It is probably called saw because it blooms on the first day of every month. They, therefore, considered the flower to be sacred and auspicious and used it in medicine. The leaves were aromatic and were added to the water. From Rome, it spread all over the Western world, and the herb became immensely popular.

In Italian folk medicine, the plant is used as an anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antipyretic agent. In Spain, the leaves are considered sudorific (able to induce sweat). Traditionally, it has been used to stimulate menstrual flow, to induce perspiration, and as a sedative. Its extract was known to have wound healing properties, and the topical application of crushed leaves to the wounds was common in the past. The decoction of the flower heads has been used for treating burns.

The common name marigold probably refers to the Virgin Mary, or its Old Saxon name ‘ymbglidegold’, which literally means ‘it turns with the sun’. The pot marigold is the most cultivated and used member of the genus. The flowers of C. officinalis contain flavonol glycosides, oleanane-type triterpene glycosides, triterpene oligoglycosides, saponins, and a sesquiterpene glucoside.

Today herbal and natural medicine have come to complement the world of allopathy and plenty of research is going into the use of herbal medicine. There are large farms that cultivate medicinal plants all over the world as the demand for herbal medicine continues to increase. More than one-third of respondents in a study reported that they were using herbal supplements. Older age and higher education were associated with higher use of herbal supplements. They were also more widely used in people with chronic diseases, or those using over-the-counter medications.

Calendula Oil

Calendula oil is a natural oil extracted from marigold flowers (Calendula officinalis). It is often used as a complementary or alternative means of treatment.

Calendula oil is made by infusing marigold flowers in a carrier oil. This oil can be used on its own or to make ointments, creams, or salves. Calendula can also be processed into a tincture, tea, and capsules.

Calendula oil has antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties that might make it useful in healing wounds, soothing eczema, and relieving diaper rash. It is used as an antiseptic also.

Benefits of Calendula

Calendula oil may be an alternative remedy to treat various skin conditions as well as improve the quality and appearance of the skin. Here are seven ways calendula oil may be used for the skin.

As a sunscreen

Calendula option can help protect you from the effects of exposure to the sun. Calendula was also proven to have SPF properties when used in a cream mixture. However, more research is needed before calendula can be used in creams. In the meantime, it is advisable to stick to a sunscreen that has effects proven to work for you and protect you from cancer.

Treatment of diabetic foot ulcers

Early research shows that using a calendula spray in addition to standard care and hygiene might prevent infection and decrease odor in people with long-term foot ulcer from diabetes. Calendula extract has also been shown effective in the treatment of leg ulcers caused by poor blood circulation.

Treatment of gum inflammation

Early research shows that by rinsing the mouth with a specific calendula tincture for 6 months, one can decrease gum inflammation, plaque, and bleeding by 10% to 18% than when using water. Other early research shows that rinsing with a mixture of calendula, ginger, and rosemary for 2 weeks decreases gum inflammation, plaque, and bleeding compared to a placebo mouthwash. The combination mouthwash actually works almost as effectively as chlorhexidine mouthwash.

Vaginal Atrophy

Early research suggests that applying a gel containing calendula, isoflavones, lactobacillus sporogenes, and lactic acid to the vagina for 4 weeks reduces symptoms of vaginal atrophy such as vaginal itching, dryness, burning, and pain during intercourse.

In the healing of wounds

Calendula oil might accelerate wound healing. Research from 2013 suggests that using aloe vera or calendula ointment along with standard care sped up episiotomy recovery time. In the study, women who used either aloe vera or calendula ointment every eight hours for five days showed improvement in symptoms such as redness, swelling, and bruising. Adding aloe or calendula ointment to standard care was found to be more effective than using standard care alone.

Currently, calendula’s lipophilic and aqueous alcoholic extracts have been approved by the European Medical Agency (EMA) as traditional medicinal products to aid with the treatment of minor inflammation of the skin. It can also be used as an aid in the healing of minor wounds.

To treat acne

Some have used calendula oil to treat acne. Though a study has proven its effectiveness in treating acne vulgaris, more research is needed before it can be recommended for treatment in humans. You can also try washing your face with a calendula cleanser. A face mask treatment done once a week may also help.

To treat diaper rash

Calendula oil might ease the symptoms of diaper rash. A small study conducted in 2012 found that calendula oil was more beneficial than aloe vera cream in treating diaper rash. This research into its efficacy was preliminary and more studies need to be conducted. However, it can still be used for home remedies.

It can be applied on its own, or a small amount of calendula oil may be mixed with aloe vera cream, and the mixture may be applied once or twice on the affected area.

For healthier skin

Calendula oil improves the health of the skin because of collagenogenic properties. It was found that a cream mixture containing calendula oil may promote skin hydration and firmness, but more research is necessary before this can be proven. It might also be useful for the treatment of contact dermatitis, conditions like contact with poison ivy. You can apply calendula oil or cream on your skin up to twice per day.

For protection against liver damage

A study was conducted in animals that were administered aflatoxin, a carcinogen that causes liver injury. The ethanolic extract of calendula helped aid the healing of the aflatoxin-induced liver injury in a dose-dependent manner due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and free radical scavenging activities. It was observed that with a higher dose of the calendula extract, the greater was the improvement in the condition.

However, this study was conducted in animals and further studies on human beings are necessary before the calendula extract can be used clinically. In addition, though it is clear calendula extract can protect against aflatoxin-induced liver cancer, it is not clear if it can protect against other carcinogens.

Drug interaction with calendula

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider or pharmacist first. Calendula has no known severe, serious, moderate, or mild interactions with other drugs.

This information does not contain all possible interactions or adverse effects. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share this information with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your health care professional or doctor for additional medical advice, or if you have health questions, concerns or for more information about this medicine.

Risks of using calendula

Calendula is generally safe to use, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Avoid calendula if you are allergic to plants in the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Do not use calendula if you are pregnant or breastfeeding — not enough is known to be sure it is safe.

Avoid taking calendula orally at least two weeks before any scheduled surgery, since it can cause drowsiness. Do not take it orally in combination with any type of sedative drug.

If you have a case of overdose from Calendula, contact a doctor or a local poison care center immediately. Try also not to use the whole herb, unless advised. Use only the flower of calendula.

Final Words

Calendula has long been in use, has been used by many, and continues to be in use. There is no conclusive evidence, however, on its usefulness for all people. Certain studies have shown it to be effective though and in some people. If you wish to use calendula oil, make sure you are buying a natural product and not one that may have chemicals and preservatives. You can make sure you are getting a natural product if you buy it from a tried and trusted source always.

Before using this oil to treat any condition that requires medical care, please speak to your doctor. Please do a skin patch test and give it a few hours to tell you if you can use it. Make sure you note how your body reacts to the oil. Under such circumstances, and without the guidance of a doctor, you are the best judge of its merits. An oil that has served so many over many generations should have its benefits, but use it with care.

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