Billings Clinic
Especially For:

Complementary Medicine - Cam

Calendula

Calendula

Uses

Common names:
Marigold, Pot Marigold
Botanical names:
Calendula officinalis

Parts Used & Where Grown

Calendula grows as a common garden plant throughout North America and Europe. The golden-orange or yellow flowers of calendula have been used as medicine for centuries.

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
2 Stars
Eczema and Radiation-Induced Dermatitis
Refer to label instructions
Radiation therapy for breast cancer frequently causes painful dermatitis. Breast cancer patients who topically applied calendula had significantly fewer cases of severe dermatitis.
Radiation therapy for breast cancer frequently causes painful dermatitis at the radiation site. In a study of women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer, those who topically applied Calendula officinalis had significantly fewer cases of severe dermatitis, compared with those who used a standard medication.2 Calendula treatment was begun after the first radiation session and was applied twice a day or more, depending on whether dermatitis or pain occurred.
1 Star
Burns
Refer to label instructions
Calendula is anti-inflammatory and may be applied topically to minor burns to soothe pain and help promote tissue repair.

Calendula cream may be applied to minor burns to soothe pain and help promote tissue repair. It has been shown in animal studies to be anti-inflammatory3 and to aid repair of damaged tissues.4 The cream is applied three times per day. Plantain is regarded as similar to calendula in traditional medicine, though usually the whole leaf is applied directly to the burn as a poultice.

1 Star
Conjunctivitis and Blepharitis
Refer to label instructions
Calendula has been traditionally used to treat eye inflammation.

Several herbs have been traditionally used to treat eye inflammation. Examples include calendula , eyebright , chamomile , and comfrey . None of these herbs has been studied for use in conjunctivitis or blepharitis. As any preparation placed on the eye must be kept sterile, topical use of these herbs in the eyes should only be done under the supervision of an experienced healthcare professional.

1 Star
Eczema
Refer to label instructions
Topical preparations containing calendula, chickweed, or oak bark have been used traditionally to treat people with eczema.

Topical preparations containing calendula , chickweed , or oak bark5have been used traditionally to treat people with eczema but none of these has been studied in scientific research focusing on people with eczema.

Radiation therapy for breast cancer frequently causes painful dermatitis at the radiation site. In a study of women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer, those who topically applied Calendula officinalis had significantly fewer cases of severe dermatitis, compared with those who used a standard medication.6 Calendula treatment was begun after the first radiation session and was applied twice a day or more, depending on whether dermatitis or pain occurred.

1 Star
Peptic Ulcer
Refer to label instructions
Calendula is another plant with anti-inflammatory and healing activities that can be used as part of a traditional medicine approach to peptic ulcers. The same amount as chamomile can be used.

Calendula is another plant with anti-inflammatory and healing activities that can be used as part of a traditional medicine approach to peptic ulcers. The same amount as chamomile can be used.

1 Star
Poison Oak/Ivy
Refer to label instructions
Calendula has been used historically to treat skin inflammations such as poison oak and poison ivy.

A great many plants have been used historically to treat skin inflammations like poison oak and poison ivy dermatitis. Examples include calendula (Calendula officinalis), blood root (Sanguinaria canadensis), Virginia snakeroot (Aristolachia serpentaria), holy basil (Ocimum tenuifolium), and chickweed (Stellaria media). None of these remedies has been subjected to controlled clinical studies to determine if they are safe and effective for this use. Cooling essential oils, such as peppermint and menthol, have also been used topically to relieve burning pain and itch. Such oils should not be applied full-strength, but should rather be diluted (for example in lotion or gel) to avoid further skin irritation.

1 Star
Ulcerative Colitis
Refer to label instructions
Calendula is an anti-inflammatory and soothing herb that may be effective in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.

Aloe vera juice has anti-inflammatory activity and been used by some doctors for people with UC. In a double-blind study of people with mildly to moderately active ulcerative colitis, supplementation with aloe resulted in a complete remission or an improvement in symptoms in 47% of cases, compared with 14% of those given a placebo (a statistically significant difference).7 No significant side effects were seen. The amount of aloe used was 100 ml (approximately 3.5 ounces) twice a day for four weeks. Other traditional anti-inflammatory and soothing herbs, including calendula , flaxseed , licorice , marshmallow , myrrh , and yarrow . Many of these herbs are most effective, according to clinical experience, if taken internally as well as in enema form.8 Enemas should be avoided during acute flare-ups but are useful for mild and chronic inflammation. It is best to consult with a doctor experienced with botanical medicine to learn more about herbal enemas before using them. More research needs to be done to determine the effectiveness of these herbs.

1 Star
Wound Healing
Refer to label instructions
Topically applied calendula can be used to speed wound healing.

Calendula flowers were historically considered beneficial for wound healing, reducing inflammation and fighting infection as a natural antiseptic.9 Like echinacea , calendula is approved in Germany for use in treating poorly healing wounds.10 Generally 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of calendula flowers is steeped in hot water for 15 minutes, then cloths are dipped into the liquid to make compresses. Such compresses should be applied for at least 15 minutes, initially several times per day, then tapering off as the wound improves.

Traditional herbalists sometimes recommend the topical use of herbs such as St. John’s wort , calendula , chamomile , and plantain , either alone or in combination, to speed wound healing. Clinical trial in humans have not yet validated this traditional practice.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Calendula flowers were historically considered beneficial for reducing inflammation, wound healing , and as an antiseptic. Calendula was used to treat various skin diseases, ranging from skin ulcerations to eczema .1 Internally, the soothing effects of calendula have been used for stomach ulcers and inflammation. Traditionally, a sterile tea was topically applied in cases of conjunctivitis .

How It Works

Common names:
Marigold, Pot Marigold
Botanical names:
Calendula officinalis

How It Works

Flavonoids , found in high amounts in calendula, are thought to account for much of its anti-inflammatory activity.11 Other potentially important constituents include the triterpene saponins12 and carotenoids .

Investigations into anticancer and antiviral actions of calendula are continuing. At this time, insufficient evidence exists to recommend the use of calendula for cancer. Nevertheless, test tube studies have found antiviral activity for calendula.13 , 14 The constituents responsible for these actions are not clear, however, and the relevance of these actions for human health care has not been established.

How to Use It

A tea of calendula can be made by pouring 1 cup (250 ml) of boiling water over 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 grams) of the flowers; the tea is then steeped, covered for ten to fifteen minutes, strained, and drunk.15 At least 3 cups of tea are recommended per day. Tincture is similarly used three times a day, at 1/4–1/2 teaspoon (1–2 ml) each time. The tincture can be taken in water or tea. In addition, prepared ointments can be used topically for skin problems, although wet dressings made by dipping a cloth into the cooled tea are also effective. Topical treatment for eye conditions is not recommended, as absolute sterility must be maintained.

Interactions

Common names:
Marigold, Pot Marigold
Botanical names:
Calendula officinalis

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Common names:
Marigold, Pot Marigold
Botanical names:
Calendula officinalis

Side Effects

Side effects are rare with the use of calendula. Some people may experience a skin rash with topical use and should be tested to see if they are allergic to the herb.

References

1. Leung A, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 113–4.

2. Pommier P, Gomez F, Sunyach MP, et al. Phase III randomized trial of *Calendula officinalis* compared with trolamine for the prevention of acute dermatitis during irradiation for breast cancer. *J Clin Oncol* 2004;22:1447–53.

3. Della Loggia R, Tubaro A, Sosa S, et al. The role of triterpenoids in the topical anti-inflammatory activity of Calendula officinalis flowers. Planta Medica 1994;60:516–20.

4. Patrick KFM, Kumar S, Edwardson PAD, Hutchinson JJ. Induction of vascularisation by an aqueous extract of the flowers of Calendula officinalis L the European marigold. Phytomedicine 1996;3:11–8.

5. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988, 328–9.

6. Pommier P, Gomez F, Sunyach MP, et al. Phase III randomized trial of Calendula officinalis compared with trolamine for the prevention of acute dermatitis during irradiation for breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 2004;22:1447–53.

7. Langmead L, Feakins RM, Goldthorpe S, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral aloe vera gel for active ulcerative colitis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2004;19:739–47.

8. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1989, 114–5.

9. Leung A, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 113–4.

10. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 100.

11. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum, 1988, 344.

12. Della Loggia R, Tubaro A, Sosa S, et al. The role of triterpenoids in the topical anti-inflammatory activity of Calendula officinalis flowers. Planta Med 1994;60:516–20.

13. Bogdanova NS, Nikolaeva IS, Shcherbakova LI, et al. Study of antiviral properties of Calendula officinalis. Farmskolto Ksikol 1970;33:349–55 [in Russian].

14. De Tommasi N, Conti C, Stein ML, et al. Structure and in vitro activity of triterpenoid saponins form Calendula arvensis. Plants Med 1991;57:250–3.

15. Wichtl M. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1994, 118–20.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Print This Page
Email to a Friend
Home | Contact | Site Map | Site Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Patient Privacy Policy | Medical Records | Fast Command
2800 10th Ave. North | P.O. Box 37000 | Billings, Montana 59107 | 406.238.2500
© Copyright 2014 Billings Clinic. All Rights Reserved.