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What is Calendula?

Calendula, often known as pot marigold, is a vibrant floral gem with a rich history in healing. Revered for its anti-inflammatory properties, it soothes various skin ailments and adds a splash of color to gardens. Its petals also grace culinary creations with a subtle, peppery taste. Intrigued? Discover how calendula can brighten both your garden and your health.
Jane Harmon
Jane Harmon

Calendula is the genus name of a flowering plant more commonly known as the marigold, which is not only an attractive border plant, but is edible and has useful medicinal properties as well. Be warned, however, if you want to collect and dry your garden marigolds for herbal uses, that a number of other plants are also called 'marigolds'. Make sure yours are true Calendula officinalis before drying or eating them. Calendula flowers and leaves are edible and make an attractive addition to salads and soups. The flavor is usually slightly bitter and can add a tangy or tart flavor to your usual greens.

Calendula has a long history as a healing herb, most notably for the healing of wounds. It has antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties that prevent infections, and it can support coagulation and scab-formation in sores that resist healing. For this reason, it is contraindicated in wounds that need to remain open until all the infection has drained away, since it may cause premature scabbing that would necessitate reopening the healing wound. Calendula can be applied as a poultice - a warm mash of the flowers held in place with a cloth - over wounds to stop bleeding, aid healing and prevent infection, and was a common battlefield first aid during the nineteenth century and beyond. Calendula was also widely used in tinctures, or herbal extractions with alcohol, and infusions, or teas made from the dried herb.

Calendula often is added to ointments to soothe sunburns.
Calendula often is added to ointments to soothe sunburns.

Today, calendula is often used in ointments or lotions to assist with skin conditions such as acne, eczema, rashes and sunburn. Internal calendula remedies are suggested for disorders of the liver and stomach. A recent laboratory study suggests that calendula has some counteractive properties against the HIV virus, although animal and human studies have yet to be conducted. Since calendula stimulates the uterus, it should not be used internally during pregnancy, since it might increase the risk of miscarriage. External uses pose no risk.

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Discussion Comments


I love calendula for the prety golden color and their persistence of coming back year, after year. Not only that but the seeds are resown and the plant tends to spread.

The plant can tolerate cold weather but not heavy frost.

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    • Calendula often is added to ointments to soothe sunburns.
      By: soupstock
      Calendula often is added to ointments to soothe sunburns.
    • Calendula ointments can be beneficial for people with eczema.
      By: quayside
      Calendula ointments can be beneficial for people with eczema.
    • Some acne ointments include calendula.
      By: Ocskay Bence
      Some acne ointments include calendula.