What Is It?
Calendula, the garden plant known as pot marigold (Calendula officinalis), is nature’s remedy for many of life’s little accidents: sunburns, bruises, and scratches to name a few. Europeans have been using this versatile herb for centuries in cooking and healing. The yellow-orange flowers have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic actions–these have been demonstrated in laboratory and animal studies–which make the plant valuable for insect bites, athlete’s foot, and a variety of other disorders.
Lotions and other topical calendula preparations are widely used in Europe, particularly for slow-healing skin problems. A calendula tincture may help to control canker sores. Gargling or rinsing with a tea made from the dried flowers may help to control inflammation in the mouth or throat.
Although drinking calendula tea may also help to control inflammation–some herbalists recommend it for stomach upset and ulcers–there is relatively little evidence to support its value when taken internally (in any form).
Many topical formulations of calendula can now be found in drug stores, health food shops, and other outlets in the United States.
There are no known drug or nutrient interactions associated with calendula.
• When treating any type of wound, remember that the most important thing you can do to prevent infection is to thoroughly clean the area before applying calendula or any other type of herb or medicine.
• If you have an allergy to ragweed, you may also be allergic to calendula because they are related species. Ailments Dosage Athlete’s Foot Apply cream or lotion to affected areas twice a day. Burns Apply cream to burns as needed. Canker Sores 1 tbsp. liquid extract mixed with 1/2 cup warm water; swish around the mouth and spit out. Cuts and Scrapes Apply cream to wound 3 times a day in place of aloe or lavender oil. Sunburn Apply cream to affected areas as needed to promote healing.
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David Edelberg, MD