The marigold has possibly caught your eye with its vibrant color, but did you know the pot marigold or Calendula officinalis is also renowned for its health benefits? This plant is a registered homeopathic drug and has applications in natural remedies ranging from treating wounds and fighting inflammation and fungal infections to protecting your vision. The marigold is known to be anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic. In addition, it also has wound-healing properties.1 Here’s a roundup of all its benefits so you can keep this herbal and homeopathic remedy handy at home.
A note of caution here: the benefits mentioned refer specifically to those of the calendula and not the ornamental marigolds belonging to the Tagetes genus like the Mexican marigold or African marigold. Those have limited benefits and are mainly used as dried herbs in cooking in some parts of South America and to ward off insects.
1. Arrests Inflammation
Marigold is anti-inflammatory and can fight infections and inflammation. It can be consumed as a tea or applied topically as a cream or ointment to bring down swelling, ease pain, and cut inflammation.2 It has also been used traditionally for treating inflammation of internal organs as well as pharyngeal and oral mucosa.3 If you have stomach or duodenal ulcers, calendula may be a useful remedy to explore thanks to this anti-inflammatory action.4
2. Treats Acne
Calendula or pot marigold fights inflammation linked to acne and its antimicrobial effect also helps keep the skin clear. Research has found that Calendula officinalis can help treat acne vulgaris effectively and safely, with none of the side effects normally associated with treatments using antibiotics and other drugs.5
Apply calendula cream on the affected skin and spots to aid healing and to prevent further breakouts on the inflamed skin.
3. Fights A Fever
Ayurveda uses calendula to treat fevers.6 While further research is needed, the National Center for Homeopathy also endorses its ability to ease fever symptoms such as shivering, sensitivity to open air, feverish chill in extremities, among other things.7
4. Stops Bleeding In Gums
Calendula extract in toothpaste or applied topically can help stop bleeding gums. In one study of patients with gingivitis, those using the calendula extract toothpaste saw an improvement in their condition. In just four weeks, plaque formation reduced, gingival index (a measure of the severity of the problem) went down, and there was a drop in bleeding on probing.8
5. Protects Your Eyes, Treats Conjunctivitis
Calendula is used to treat chronic inflammatory conditions of the eye. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties, combined with its immune-boosting effects, make it a good natural remedy for eye infections. Due to its antioxidant effect, it can also help protect against damage from exposure to ultraviolet radiation as well as oxidative damage. Conjunctivitis, a condition that causes the eyelid lining to become inflamed, can also be remedied with calendula or marigold.9
6. Tackles Fungal Infections
The essential oil of marigold has antifungal properties against a wide range of fungi, including different strains of candida. In one test, marigold oil was found to be effective in inhibiting 23 clinical fungi strains. Researchers suggested that the oil of the Calendula officinalis flower could be potentially beneficial for treating yeast or fungal infections caused by pathogenic fungi.12 A separate study found its antimicrobial and antifungal impact comparable to Fluconazole, a standard antibiotic.13
Depending on where the fungal infection is, you can apply a calendula tincture blended with ointments or creams. Drinking calendula tea made from the flower petals should also help.
7. Aids Wound Healing And Repairs Tissue
The wound-healing properties of the Calendula officinalis flower extract are well known. Animal studies back this up – in one study, test subjects with excision wounds treated with the flower extract showed 90 percent wound closure in about eight days, compared to just 51 percent closure in the control group.14 Calendula is able to help boost blood flow to the applied area, aside from stimulating collagen production and the growth of new tissue. This makes it invaluable in skin repair or wound healing.15
8. Treats Dermatitis, Burns, And Inflammatory Skin Conditions
Extracts of calendula applied topically can treat skin problems ranging from dermatitis to bruises and skin inflammation.16 Studies have also found that creams that incorporate marigold extract can help treat and protect against irritant contact dermatitis.17
9. Stops Hemorrhoid Bleeding
Calendula officinalis can also help stem the extreme bleeding associated with hemorrhoids. Applying the treatment topically can help blood vessels constrict, which in turn stops the bleeding.20 An ointment or calendula tincture mixed with a cream base can be used for topical application.21 It is also used for treating varicose veins and foot ulcers.22
10. Eases Cramps And Digestive Problems
Stomach cramps and menstrual pain can be quite painful to deal with. Having marigold tea made from the flower petals steeped in water can help. Research has demonstrated the antispasmodic effects of calendula and its benefits for those suffering from abdominal cramps as well as problems like constipation.23
It can also help with digestive trouble due to its anti-inflammatory properties, making it a good remedy for inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis. In one animal study, the remedy was given administered both orally and intracolonically. Test subjects showed improvement after this treatment, leading researchers to suggest it could be due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of calendula. More extensive studies will help back up this.24
11. Treats Ear Pain
Calendula extract can help treat ear pain due to acute otitis media. A naturopathic remedy, this has been used in tests for children with ear problems aged between 6 and 18 years. The ear drop formulation proved to be comparable to anesthetic ear drops in reducing pain.25
Who Should Avoid Marigold Remedies
Certain medical conditions could make marigold as a remedy potentially problematic or even dangerous for you. If any of the following apply to you, avoid using it26:
- If you are pregnant.
- If you are currently breastfeeding your baby.
- If you are allergic to ragweed and plants in this family like chrysanthemums or daisies, you could be allergic to calendula or marigolds as well.
- If you have recently had or are scheduled to have surgery. Combining it with medications given for surgery could cause excessive drowsiness.
- If you are taking any kind of sedatives. The drug interactions could cause excessive drowsiness. This effect can also result from taking calendula along with St. John’s wort, California poppy, hops, and other sedative herbal remedies and supplements.
|↑1, ↑3, ↑11, ↑22||Arora, Disha, Anita Rani, and Anupam Sharma. “A review on phytochemistry and ethnopharmacological aspects of genus Calendula.” Pharmacognosy reviews 7, no. 14 (2013): 179.|
|↑2, ↑4, ↑9||Calendula. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑5||Mishra, Priyanka. “Treatment of Acne with Herbal Remedie–Calendula officinalis: An Overview.” International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archive 2, no. 4 (2011).|
|↑6||Chakraborthy, G. S. “Antimicrobial activity of the leaf extracts of Calendula officinalis (Linn).” J Herb Med Toxicol 2, no. 2 (2008): 65-66.|
|↑7||Calendula. National Center for Homeopathy.|
|↑8||Amoian, B., A. A. Moghadamnia, M. Mazandarani, M. M. Amoian, and S. Mehrmanesh. “The effect of calendula extract toothpaste on the plaque index and bleeding in gingivitis.” J Med Plant 4 (2010): 132-140.|
|↑10||Choudhry, Namrta, and M. B. Siddiqui. “Care For Your Eyes… Naturally.” (2011).|
|↑12||Gazim, Zilda Cristiane, Claudia Moraes Rezende, Sandra Regina Fraga, Terezinha Inez Estivaleti Svidzinski, and Diógenes Aparicio Garcia Cortez. “Antifungal activity of the essential oil from Calendula officinalis L.(Asteraceae) growing in Brazil.” Brazilian Journal of Microbiology 39, no. 1 (2008): 61-63.|
|↑13||Efstratiou, Efstratios, Abdullah I. Hussain, Poonam S. Nigam, John E. Moore, Muhammad A. Ayub, and Juluri R. Rao. “Antimicrobial activity of Calendula officinalis petal extracts against fungi, as well as Gram-negative and Gram-positive clinical pathogens.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 18, no. 3 (2012): 173-176.|
|↑14||Preethi, Korengath C., and Ramadasan Kuttan. “Wound healing activity of flower extract of Calendula offlcinalis.” Journal of basic and clinical physiology and pharmacology 20, no. 1 (2009): 73-80.|
|↑15||Calendula. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑16, ↑19||Calendula. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑17||Fuchs, S. M., S. Schliemann-Willers, T. W. Fischer, and P. Elsner. “Protective effects of different marigold (Calendula officinalis L.) and rosemary cream preparations against sodium-lauryl-sulfate-induced irritant contact dermatitis.” Skin pharmacology and physiology 18, no. 4 (2005): 195-200.|
|↑18||Tabassum, Nahida, and Mariya Hamdani. “Plants used to treat skin diseases.” Pharmacognosy reviews 8, no. 15 (2014): 52.|
|↑20||moghaddasi Mohammad, Sharrif, and Hamed Haddad Kashanisup. “Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) medicinal usage and cultivation.” Scientific Research and essays 7, no. 14 (2012): 1468-1472.|
|↑21||Abascal, Kathy, and Eric Yarnell. “Botanical treatments for hemorrhoids.” Alternative & Complementary Therapies 11, no. 6 (2005): 285-289.|
|↑23||Bashir, Samra, Khalid H. Janbaz, Qaiser Jabeen, and Anwar H. Gilani. “Studies on spasmogenic and spasmolytic activities of Calendula officinalis flowers.” Phytotherapy research 20, no. 10 (2006): 906-910.|
|↑24||Tanideh, Nader, Akram Jamshidzadeh, Masood Sepehrimanesh, Masood Hosseinzadeh, Omid Koohi-Hosseinabadi, Asma Najibi, Mozhdeh Raam, Sajad Daneshi, and Seyedeh-Leili Asadi-Yousefabad. “Healing acceleration of acetic acid-induced colitis by marigold (Calendula officinalis) in male rats.” Saudi journal of gastroenterology: official journal of the Saudi Gastroenterology Association 22, no. 1 (2016): 50.|
|↑25||Sarrell, E. Michael, Avigdor Mandelberg, and Herman Avner Cohen. “Efficacy of naturopathic extracts in the management of ear pain associated with acute otitis media.” Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine 155, no. 7 (2001): 796-799.|
|↑26||Calendula. U.S. National Library of Medicine|