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
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:
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.
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