Scientific: Calendula officinalis [WikiPedia]
Composition: The active constituents in calendula are saponins, carotenoids, bitter principles, essential oils, sterols, flavonoids, mucilage and tocopherols. The fresh plant also contains salicylic acid which acts as an analgesic.
Appearance: This herb is known as pot marigold. The bright yellow, orange, or red-orange flowers of calendula are a familiar sight in gardens and landscape designs found all over the world. The small plant seldom exceeds 18 inches in height.
Parts Used: Flowers
Common Uses: Calendula is very commonly used in herbal medicine as a topical anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Its soothing effect is due to its ability to scavenge free radicals (which are products of inflammation), preventing them from causing further inflammation, and to its ability to inhibit lymphocyte proliferation (a white blood cell associated with the immune system). Flavonoids and possibly terpenoids are believed to contribute to these effects. Calendula also is credited with an antiseptic effect, but this effect appears to be very weak and does not alone warrant its current use in humans as a mouthwash and dentifrice. Calendula is, however, a potent molluscicide, meaning that it is lethal to snails, slugs and flukes.
A less commonly known effect of calendula is its ability to heal and prevent gastric ulcers, due to its content of saponins. Calendula also delays gastric emptying and lowers blood sugar, effects that are of potential importance as veterinary and human medical practitioners become increasingly concerned about insulin resistance and its multiple adverse effects.
Alternatives and Adjuncts: For first-aid, combines well with Saint-Johns-wort. Increase effectiveness in antifungal applications, add bee balm, Oregon grape or licorice. Urinary and digestive tract inflammation, combine with corn silk, marshmallow or plantain.
Topic Specific References:
- Steve Marsden, DVM ND MSOM LAc DiplCH AHG, Shawn Messonnier, DVM and Cheryl Yuill, DVM, MSc, CVH [Ref]
- Treat ear infections [Ref]
- Soothing bath rinse [Ref]
- Dental care for treating bleeding gums [Ref]
- Herbal Remedies Info [Ref]
- Anticandidal, antibacterial, cytotoxic and antioxidant activities of Calendula arvensis flowers. (PubMED) [Ref]
- Therapeutic Usages of Calendula for Dogs [YourOldDog]
- A systematic review of Calendula officinalis extract for wound healing [PubMED]
- Phenotypic and molecular cytogenetic variability in calendula (Calendula officinalis L.) cultivars and mutant lines obtained via chemical mutagenesis [PubMED]
- Antifatigue Activity and Exercise Performance of Phenolic-Rich Extracts from Calendula officinalis, Ribes nigrum, and Vaccinium myrtillus PubMED]
PLEASE NOTE that herbal and other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.