8 Amazing Calendula Benefits And Possible Side Effects

From healing wounds to reducing pain, this medicinal herb benefits you in many ways.

Medically reviewed by Vd. Naveen Sharma, BAMS
Written by Swathi Handoo, MSc (Biotechnology), Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health
Edited by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health
Fact-checked by Aparna Mallampalli, BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition  • 

Calendula flowers are not only aesthetic but also are valued medicinally. Calendula benefits you in multiple ways with its antibacterial, antiplaque, analgesic, and antiviral properties. They are also rich in antioxidants and exhibit the astringent effect. Many state that this flower is marigold’s doppelganger. Learn more about this flower and how it can be used to treat many chronic ailments. Continue reading.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Calendula

What Is It?
A flowering plant closely related to the marigold, with orange or yellow flowers.

What Are Its Benefits?
It possesses anti-HIV effects and may relieve menstrual discomfort, heal wounds and burns, and reduce inflammatory skin diseases and pain.

Who Can Use It?
People with sensitive skin can use or consume calendula to reduce any flare-ups and inflammation.

How Often?
For topical applications, 2-5% of calendula can be used 2-3 times daily. If consuming calendula powder, 1-2g per cup a day is recommended.

Caution
Avoid if you are on tranquilizers, pregnant, or allergic to other plants in the same family.

 What Is Calendula? What Is It Known For?

Image: IStock

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) or pot marigold belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is closely related to field marigold, and its flowers share a close resemblance too (1).

The flowers and leaves of this plant have been used in traditional medicine. The medicinal properties of calendula have also been mentioned in Ayurvedic and Unani sciences. In 2008, the European Medicines Agency recognized it as an herbal medicinal product (2).

Folk medicine uses calendula leaves and flowers to treat wounds, rashes, bruises, stomach ulcers, edema, and several other inflammatory conditions. Its mother tincture is used in homeopathy to relieve mental tension and insomnia (1), (3).

protip_icon Fun Fact
Calendula is also called the “flower of the rains” in folk culture. It is believed that the flower blossoming in the morning will bring rain later in the day.

The following sections will give you a detailed insight about calendula and its therapeutic benefits. Start scrolling!

What Are The Benefits Of Calendula?

Calendula is used to heal skin rashes, deep wounds, and ulcers. It is also said to work as a fever reducer and may help with microbial infections, menstrual irregularities, and varicose veins. Scroll down below to know more about the various calendula benefits and why they are good for your health.

1. Heals Wounds, Burns, And Scars

Calendula contains alkaloids, triterpenoids, flavonoids, and carotenoids. These phytochemicals trap the free radicals in your body and accelerate the process of healing of wounds and burns (thermal and sun). The plant controls the levels of compounds that promote inflammation, including nitric oxide and cytokines (4).

Animal studies were conducted to study the effects of oral and topical use of calendula extracts. The percentage of wound closure was about 90% in the group treated with the extract. Almost no skin toxicity was reported in any of the studies (4), (5).

Calendula ointment can also be used by women who have undergone C-section (Cesarean procedure). It considerably speeds up recovery and wound healing and can be used to support post-surgical care/treatment (6).

2. May Relieve Menstrual Discomfort

Calendula relieves menstrual discomfort
Image: Shutterstock

This flower was used to calm painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea) and menstrual irregularities in traditional and homeopathic medicine. Calendula oil, combined with other essential oils, is a common remedy (1), (7).

These oils prevent the transmission of nerve signals between the uterus and the brain. They also cause a transmission delay of the pain signal from the brain to the uterus.

Topical calendula lotions can help in controlling excessive menstrual bleeding and other related symptoms (7).

3. Treats Diaper Rashes

Image: IStock

Diaper dermatitis or diaper rash is a common inflammatory reaction observed in infants, children, and adults wearing diapers. Painful skin eruptions occur in the areas covered by the diaper (8).

Not changing the diaper when needed and prolonged exposure to urine, feces, and moisture may cause this acute condition. Zinc deficiency and microbial infections may also lead to such rashes (8).

Generally, a mild cream/ointment or oral antibiotics can clear this allergy and soothe the skin. Medications based on calendula and aloe vera have also shown promising results. These herbs have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects (8).

Moreover, no side effects of these herbal preparations have been reported so far (8).

4. May Help In Managing Inflammatory Skin Diseases

The tannins, triterpenoids, and saponins in calendula exert a deep-cleansing effect on your skin. When applied topically, its flower extracts may even heal acne and atopic dermatitis (eczema) (9), (10), (11).

Calendula also reduces radiodermatitis, which is skin damage caused by radiation. Radiodermatitis is one of the side effects of radiation therapy. Patients may develop redness (erythema) and skin toxicity (12).

Thanks to its antioxidant and astringent effects, this plant extract can reduce the levels of free radicals in your system. Using calendula cream/ointment with medical consent is a good option in such cases (9), (12).

However, in rare cases, calendula can induce contact dermatitis in these patients (13).

5. Maintains Dental Health

Calendula helps maintain dental health
Image: Shutterstock

The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of this plant can be employed to treat dental issues as well. Periodontal diseasei  XA severe gum infection brought by poor oral hygiene that can result in tooth loss and other major health issues. , gingivitisi  XA type of gum disorder resulting in inflamed gums from bad dental hygiene. It can lead to tooth loss. , dental plaque, and other such inflammatory conditions turn chronic and painful in no time (14), (15).

You could use products with herbs like calendula, clove leaf, thyme, and eucalyptus to restore oral health and improve hygiene. These herbs can prevent the build-up of tartar and plaque on the teeth (14).

A mouthwash made of calendula extract significantly reduced gingivitis. Its active molecules could fight throat infections too. This plant extract can treat canker soresi  XA painful, non-contagious, shallow sore that develops inside the mouth or at the gum line, brought on by stress, acidic foods, or injury. , aphthous ulcers (stomatitis), and sore throat (15).

Calendula has almost no side effects if orally consumed. It can be added as a component in candies, beverages, dental chew, toothpaste, lozenges, and whitening molds for better results (14).

6. Reduces Pain And Inflammation

Calendula inhibits the production of pain-inducing chemicals (prostaglandins) in your body. Animal studies show a 33% reduction in swelling/edema when treated with 250 mg/kg of its extract (16).

The plant prevents the release of histamines, which are chemicals known to cause redness, pain, allergies, and inflammation. The flavonoids, saponins, and triterpenoids in calendula are responsible for this property (17).

Different calendula formulations are used to treat women who underwent episiotomyi  XA procedure to widen the aperture for the baby to exit by making an incision in the perineum and the posterior vaginal wall. during labor. Muscle spasms and injury can also be managed with them (16), (17).

Did You Know?

You can apply calendula ointment/lotion/tincture to heal hemorrhoidsi  X A condition in which the rectum and anus veins are swollen and irritated, resulting in pain and bleeding. . It may even control the severity and pain in the affected areas to a certain extent (18).

Rosacea is another skin condition you can treat with calendula flower extracts. The phytochemicals clear the eruptions and redness of the skin (10). Calendula is added to hair care products as it may increase hair shine and smoothness.

The anti-inflammatory, cleansing/astringent, antioxidant, and pain-relieving properties of calendula are responsible for these effects (1).

Sonee Singh, a novelist and poet, shared how she got a bad skin rash from trying a new eye cream. She writes, “Even though I washed it off, overnight my eyes grew red, they swelled up, and the skin around them became dry and was peeling off (i).” Sonee then applied a calendula salve over it the next day. She adds, “Within a few minutes the itchiness had reduced, within a few hours the redness was noticeably reduced, within a few days the swelling had gone, and within a week the dryness had vanished and my eyes were back to normal.”

Pot marigold flowers are colorful and vibrant. Their extracts are often used to color food products.

You can grow calendula at home too. All you need is good sunlight, ventilation, shade, a pot/patch of fertile soil, and moderate amounts of water. Once it germinates and establishes, calendula happily self-sows!

7. May Fight Cancer

Calendula can be a strong candidate for cancer treatment and palliative care in alternative medicine. Its phytochemicals have cytotoxic (cell-killing) effects on human cancer cells (3), (19).

The roots and flower extracts have shown positive effects on skin cancer (melanoma), breast cancer, and leukemia cells. The active molecules have been identified to be polysaccharides, proteins, fatty acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, triterpenoids, and saponins (3), (20).

These molecules inhibit the cell division in cancer cells to prevent metastasis (spreading). Calendula also induces programmed cell death (apoptosis) in these cells to ensure 100% growth inhibition (20).

8. Exhibits Anti-HIV Effects

This flower extract has antiviral properties. Researchers have recognized/identified anti-HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) activity, in particular. In a study, about 90% of the target cells were protected from HIV infection in the presence of 10-30 mcg/mL of calendula flower extract (21)

The flavonols in the flowers block the initial-stage interactions between viruses and cells. The extract inactivates several HIV proteins, even when present in small concentrations (21).

Calendula prevents the activity of a crucial viral protein called reverse transcriptase (RT). The RT enzyme allows HIV to survive in human host cells, thereby causing AIDS (21).

Further research would help isolate the principal molecules behind this property (21).

protip_icon Quick Tip
As an alternative use of calendula, you can make natural dyes from the flowers in shades of oranges, bright yellows, honey, and light browns.

Lab experiments and chemical analyses have revealed a unique biochemical profile of this plant. We will explore that in the following section.

Phytochemical Composition Of Calendula

Calendula officinalis contains high amounts of triterpenes, flavonoids, carotenoids, phenolic acids, fatty acids, sterols, tannins, quinones, and carbohydrates (1), (22).

Triterpenes glycosides/Monoterpenes/conjugated terpenesCalendulaglycoside A, B, CD, F, G. Esters like taraxasterol, faradiol, heliantriol, arnidiol, lupeol, calenduladiol, ursadiol, brein, amyrin, maniladiol, erythrodiol; limonene, cineol
FlavonoidsQuercetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, rutin, astragalin, isoquercitrin
CarotenoidsLutein, zeaxanthin, flavoxanthin, auroxanthin, ß-carotene, luteoxnathin, violaxanthin, ß-cryptoxanthin, mutaxanthin
Phenolic acids/Fatty acidsChlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, coumaric acid, vanillic acid, linoleic acid, calendic acid
Quinones𝛼-tocopherol, phylloquinone
Volatile oils𝛼-copaene, 𝛼-ionone, 𝛼-humulene, geranylacetone, β-ionone, ledene, 𝛼-murolene, 𝛼-cadinene, 𝛼-calacorene, viridiflorol, ledol, limonene, 𝛼-cadinol and cadalene

These phytochemicals enhance the therapeutic value of calendula flower heads. Using them in the right way and amount will put the molecules to action.

protip_icon Trivia
The petals of calendula flowers are edible and have a mild peppery taste. In fact they are often called “poor man’s saffron” as it can be used as an inexpensive substitute for saffron in recipes that call for it.

Is there a recommended way of using calendula? Scroll down to know.

How To Use Calendula?

  • Steep dried flowers in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes to make calendula tea.
  • You can make calendula-infused oil by adding dried calendula flowers to a carrier oil such as jojoba oil. Let it sit in the sun for 2-3 weeks, and strain the oil before using it for massage or in face packs.
  • You can use calendula petals as a colorful garnish in salads, soups and stews.
  • You can infuse calendula petals into honey, vinegar, or vegetable oils to create unique flavors in your cooking.
  • You can add dried calendula petals to your bath with your favorite essential oils to create a soothing environment.

There are numerous other ways to use calendula. It is widely used in various skin care products. But are you wondering if it’s safe for you? Let us find out.

How Much Of Calendula Is Safe?

A recommended dose for calendula has not been framed yet.

However, a 2%-5% calendula ointment can be applied topically to heal wounds. If using a tincture (1:9 in 20% alcohol), 2-4 ml per ¼-½ cup of water can be taken three times a day (22).

Another option could be using 1-2 g of Calendula powder per cup of water (22).

Depending on the condition/ailment, this herbal medicine can be taken in different/multiple ways. The most suitable dose and mode of administration have to be decided by your healthcare provider.

Avoid self-medication.

Calendula may induce acute adverse effects in certain individuals. Find more on this in the next section.

Does Calendula Have Any Side Effects Or Risks?

Calendula may trigger hypersensitivity
Image: Shutterstock

If you are allergic to plants from the Asteraceae family, calendula may trigger a cross-reaction/hypersensitivity in your body. Keep your doctor informed of such symptoms (22).

There is a >1% chance of developing contact dermatitis if you have frequent skin contact with this herbal preparation (22).

Also, you may be advised against using calendula products if you are on tranquilizers (23).

No herb-drug interactions have been reported with this plant yet (24).

The safety of calendula products in pregnant and lactating women is not clear yet. There is insufficient data to establish dosage in these cases (24).

Infographic: 7 Therapeutic Benefits of Calendula

Calendula is extensively used in traditional herbal medicine due to its antioxidants, phytochemicals, carotenoids, flavonoids, glycosides, and sterols. As mentioned above, pre-clinical research has proven its efficacy in treating several conditions, relieving pain, and aiding healing. Check out the infographic below to learn the most important benefits of calendula in health care.

7 therapeutic benefits of calendula (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

The benefits of calendula go beyond its aesthetic appeal. It is packed with many beneficial phytonutrients such as flavonoids, carotenoids, fatty acids, and volatile oils. This rich nutritional profile may account for its use in some traditional remedies. It may be beneficial for treating burns, wounds, and rashes, easing menstrual cramps pain, and may help in cancer prevention. It is antispasmodic and helps reduce inflammation too. Additionally, it may improve eye health as it can soothe eye inflammations (25). Calendula has antitumor, antiviral, and antibacterial properties as well. However, excessive use may trigger allergic reactions. If you experience any adverse effects, stop its use and consult your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of skin is calendula good for?

Calendula is well tolerated by all skin types.

How do you use calendula for healing?

Calendula can be applied externally to heal wounds or ingested to heal problems associated with the digestive issues or the mouth. It has a detoxifying effect that may flush out the toxins.

Can calendula brighten skin?

Calendula is used in skin care to brighten the skin and restore its elasticity, thus exhibiting its anti-aging effects.

Key Takeaways

  • Ayurveda, Unani, and homeopathy mention the medicinal benefits of Calendula.
  • It is rich in alkaloids and antioxidants, thus possessing potential wound-healing properties.
  • It can provide relief from menstrual discomfort and control bleeding.
  • Calendula is safe for oral consumption; hence, you can use it to manage dental issues. Calendula mouthwash can treat sores and ulcers.
  • Studies point to its efficiency in fighting HIV and cancer under laboratory conditions. Further research is ongoing to establish these qualities.

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. A review on phytochemistry and ethnopharmacological aspects of genus Calendula, Pharmacognosy Review, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3841996/
  2. Growing & using calendula, UC Master Gardeners of San Mater & San Francisco, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, Reagents of the University of California.
    http://smsf-mastergardeners.ucanr.edu/Elkus/Growing_and_using_calendula/Cale
  3. ndula officinalis: Potential Roles in Cancer Treatment and Palliative Care, Integrative Cancer Therapies, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6247547/
  4. Effect of Calendula officinalis Flower Extract on Acute Phase Proteins, Antioxidant Defense Mechanism and Granuloma Formation During Thermal Burns, Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, CiteSeerX, The Pennsylvania State University.
    https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.275.4533&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  5. Wound healing activity of flower extract of Calendula officinalis. Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19601397
  6. The impact of calendula ointment on cesarean wound healing: A randomized controlled clinical trial, Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6259546/
  7. Effect of Medicinal Herbs on Primary Dysmenorrhoea- a Systematic Review, Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177637/A
  8. Randomized Comparative Trial on the Therapeutic Efficacy of Topical Aloe vera and Calendula officinalis on Diaper Dermatitis in Children, The Scientific World Journal, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3346674/
  9. Medicinal Plants for the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris: A Review of Recent Evidences, Jundishapur Journal of Microbiology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4740760/
  10. Medicinal Plants used as Anti-Acne Agents by Tribal and Non-Tribal People of Tripura, India, American Journal of Phytomedicine and Clinical Therapeutics, CiteSeerX, The Pennsylvania State University.
    https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.677.6077&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  11. Medicinal plants used in treatment of inflammatory skin diseases, Advances in Dermatology and Allergology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3834722/
  12. A Review of the Use of Topical Calendula in the Prevention and Treatment of Radiotherapy-Induced Skin Reactions, Antioxidants, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4665477/
  13. WHOLE HEALTH: CHANGE THE CONVERSATION, Skin Health Educational Overview, VHA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, Whole Health Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
    http://projects.hsl.wisc.edu/SERVICE/modules/24/M24_EO_Skin_Health.pdf
  14. Herbal Remedies for the Treatment of Periodontal Disease – A Patent Review, Recent Patents on Drug Delivery & Formulation, Bentham Science Publishers Ltd., Academia.
    https://www.academia.edu/11906993/Herbal_remedies_for_the_treatment_of_periodontal_disease–a_patent_review
  15. Evaluation of Calendula officinalis as an anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis agent, Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917203/
  16. Anti-inflammatory activity of flower extract of Calendula officinalis Linn. and its possible mechanism of action. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19374166
  17. The Impact of Aloe vera and Calendula on Perineal Healing after Episiotomy in Primiparous Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial, Journal of Caring Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Academia.
    https://www.academia.edu/32925434/The_Impact_of_Aloe_vera_and_Calendula_on_Perineal_Healing_after_Episiotomy_in_Primiparous_Women_A_Randomized_Clinical_Trial
  18. Botanical Treatments for Hemorrhoids, Alternative & Complementary Therapies, Academia.
    https://www.academia.edu/2936982/Botanical_Treatments_for_Hemorrhoids
  19. Radiation Therapy: Caring For Your Skin Non-Prescription, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Michigan Health System.
    http://www.cancer.med.umich.edu/files/radiation-therapy-caring-for-your-skin-non-prescription.pdf
  20. A new extract of the plant calendula officinalis produces a dual in vitro effect: cytotoxic anti-tumor activity and lymphocyte activation, BMC Cancer, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1513589/
  21. Anti-HIV activity of extracts from Calendula officinalis flowers, Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, Elsevier, Academia.
    https://www.academia.edu/8123660/Anti-HIV_activity_of_extracts_from_Calendula_officinalis_flowers
  22. THE CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS AND PHARMACOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF CALENDULA OFFICINALIS- A REVIEW, Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Science & Research, Academia.
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  23. Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) medicinal usage and cultivation, Scientific Research and Essays, CiteSeerX, The Pennsylvania State University.
    https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.1011.8118&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  24. Marigold (Calendula officinalis L.):An Evidence-Based Systematic Review by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration, Natural Standard Review, Journal Of Herbal Pharmacotherapy, Academia.
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