Calendula has been used for medicinal purposes since at least the 12th century, primarily as a topical application to boost the healing rate of wounds and prevent infection. The antifungal properties of calendula could make it useful as an herbal remedy for fungal infections like thrush, athlete’s foot, and ringworm.
Calendula is also thought to inhibit the proliferation of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which is associated with gastritis, peptic ulcers, stomach cancer, and very recently, Parkinson’s Disease.
Calendula is believed to have a positive effect on the immune system. The flavonoids found in calendula are a plant-based antioxidant that neutralizes the free radicals known to suppress immune function.
Calendula is commonly used as an herbal treatment for the relief of skin disorders. It is used to heal minor burns, including sunburns, and it is a traditional herbal remedy for the treatment of rashes, including diaper rash. This herb has also been used to treat systemic skin problems such as dermatitis, eczema, acne and psoriasis. It has even been shown to prevent dermatitis in breast cancer patients during radiation therapy, and there is evidence that it may be more effective than trolamine lotion.
Calendula has detoxifying properties. It is used to promote functioning and detoxification of the liver and gallbladder, which could be helpful to resolve some digestive problems.
This herb is sometimes used as a natural treatment for ear infections when administered as an ear drop, particularly in children. The herb may reduce swelling and redness associated with eye infections, though any treatment used on eye membranes should be sterile.
This plant has also been used as an herbal remedy to treat muscular spasms or cramps, boils, bruising, abscesses, cold sores, chronic gum disease, varicose veins, persistent dysentery, snake and scorpion bites, bee stings, light frostbite, hemorrhoids, and viral hepatitis. Its usefulness in the treatment of some cancers is also being investigated.
Calendula products should always be stored in dark places free of moisture, and should not be used after three years of storage.
An infusion can be made using 1 tsp (5-10g) of dried florets in 8oz (250 ml) of boiling water. It should be steeped 10-15 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups of the infusion per day. Cooled infusion can be used to make a compress by soaking a sterile dressing in cold tea. A tincture can be prepared in a ratio of 1:5 in 90% alcohol; take 5-10 drops (1-2 mL) of the tincture three times daily. Calendula can also be prepared in an ointment containing 2-5% calendula (e.g. 2-5 grams calendula/100g ointment). It can be applied 2-4 times daily as needed.
Calendula is considered to be a very safe herb, but herbal supplements should always be used with caution as they may interact with other herbs, supplements or medications.