calendula officinalis

Calendula Summary:

Calendula is useful for nearly any condition involving the skin. It's used as a first aid treatment for skin damage including cuts and burns. It's even useful for muscle damage under the skin like sprains and strains. 

Its anti-fungal actions are significant as well and are extremely useful for both external fungal infections like athletes foot, as well as internal ones like candida. 

Its emmenagogue actions make it a useful treatment for a variety of female reproductive disorders and is generally considered a menstrual normaliser. 

Calendula is mainly used topically in the form of a salve, or cream, but can also be taken internally as a liquid extract, or herbal tea. The majority of the medicinal components are lipid soluble though, which means that the most effective extraction will be either a lipid or an alcoholic extraction rather than water. 


Botanical Name

Calendula officinalis



Part Used

*sometimes just the petals are used

Specific Actions:

  • Still compiling research.

Herbal Actions:

[4, 14]

  • Vulnerary
  • Antinflammatory
  • Lymphatic
  • Styptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antifungal (Topically)
  • Antiviral (Topically)
  • Choleretic
  • Cholagogue
  • Emmenagogue
  • Astringent
  • Antiseptic

Common Names:



Pot Marigold




120-250 ml/day

Liquid Extract (1:2)

1.5-5 ml/day


Best applies topically in the form of an infused oil, ointment, or salve.

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+ Indications


  • Gastrointestinal disorders:
  • Ulcers (both gastric and duodenal)
  • Inflammations
  • Infection
  • UTI
  • Acne
  • Sebaceus cysts
  • Cholecystitis and other biliary disorders
  • Fungal infections
  • Female disorders:
  • congestive dysmennorheae
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibroids
  • Delayed menstruation
  • Painful periods


  • Inflammation
  • Burns
  • Wound healing
  • Eczema
  • Acne
  • Diaper rash
  • Rashes and skin irritations
  • Sun burns
  • Conjunctivitis (as an eyebath)
  • Fungal infections
  • Trichomosis infections
  • Varicose veins
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Venous circulatoryproblems
  • Skin ulcers
  • Strains and sprains
  • Fungal infections

+ Contraindications

  • Caution if known allergies to the Asteraceae family of plants

Traditional Uses:

Calendula has a long history of use throughout Europe for its ability to heal wounds for both skin, and gastrointestinal damage or inflammation [4]. For this reason it was commonly used in World War 1 and the American civil war in anti-inflammatory and antiseptic salves and creams [1]. 


    Botanical Description:

    Calendula has pale green leaves, and orange or yellow flowers. 


    Habitat Ecology, and Distribution:

    Calendula is native to the Mediterranean region [1, 9]. 


    Harvesting Collection, and Preparation:

    The whole flower blossom is used medicinally [9]. 



    [1, 4-7, 9, 14]

    • Flavonoids
      • Narcissin
      • Rutin
    • Triterpenes
      • Calendulosides A-D
    • Resins
    • Triterpenol alcohols
    • Volatile oils
      • Chlorogenic acid
    • Polysaccharides
    • Carotenoids
    • Polyacetylenes
    • Bitter substances
    • Saponins
    • Coumarins
    • Hydrocarbons
    • Fatty acids


    Chemical class Chemical Name % Dried Weight Solubility
    Bitter Principles ... Unknown N/A
    Benzopyrones Coumarins Unknown N/A
    Flavonoids Narcissin, Rutin Unknown N/A
    Fatty Acids ... Lipid and ethanol soluble N/A
    Saponins ... Unknown N/A
    Polysaccharides ... Unknown N/A
    Resins ... Unknown N/A
    Triterpenoids Calendulosides A-D, Unknown N/A

    Pharmacology and Medical Research:

    + Antinflammatory

    The topical anti-inflammatory actions of calendula have been shown through the standard inflammation test using carrageenan and mouse paw edema in multiple studies [1, 10-12].

    + Vulnerary

    It has been found that a combination of both the hydrophilic and lipophilic extracts promoted skin healing and provided anti-inflammatory actions topically [3, 9]. The skin healing (proliferative) actions were found to be due to a stimulating fibroplasia, and angiogenesis in the wound healing process [1].

    In injuries such as burns, the resulting damage causes inflammation, oxidative stress, and greatly increases the possibility of infection. Healing the wound quickly, as well as reducing the possibility of infection is the mainstay of this treatment. Calendula possesses many of the desired actions for a wound such as this, via its well known antibacterial [2, 14], anti-inflammatory [1, 10-12, 14], vulnerary [1, 3, 9], and antioxidant actions [8]. It has been reported to also possess angiogenic, and vasoprotective actions [14] as well which need further investigation but would likely add to the vulnerary activities of this plant and its extracts.

    In a specific study on calendula's vulnerary actions on burns, it was found to possess a significant actions on speeding the rate of healing, through increasing the levels of glutathione, superoxide dismutase, and catalase. Thus calendula can improve burn wound healing through improving the antioxidant defence mechanisms of the tissue [13].



    • Allergies to the Asteraceae family
    • Shown to be non toxic during chronic administrations in mice [4]. 
    • High doses of calendula flower extract (0.15g/kg) in hamsters and rats have also been reported to show no toxicity [4]. 
    • No adverse effects expected with use during pregnancy [14].  


    Sensitivities to calendula have been reported with both internal and external applications [14]. 



    Still compiling research. 


    Justin Cooke

    The Sunlight Experiment

    Updated June 2017

    Recent Blog Posts:


    1. Parente, L. M., Lino Júnior, R. D., Tresvenzol, L. M., Vinaud, M. C., De Paula, J. R., & Paulo, N. M. (2012). Wound Healing and Anti-Inflammatory Effect in Animal Models ofCalendula officinalisL. Growing in Brazil. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012, 1-7. doi:10.1155/2012/375671
    2. Dumenil, G., Chemli, R., and Balausard, G. (1980). Evaluation of antibacterial properties of Calendula officinalis flowers and mother homeopathic tinctures of Calendula officinalis. Ann. Pharma. Fran., 38, 493–499
    3. Varro T. (1993). The honest herbal. 3rd ed. Pharmaceutical Products Press, USA.
    4. Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. (Pg. 534-535)
    5. M. Hamburger, S. Adler, D. Baumann, A. Forg, and B. Weinreich, (2003). “Preparative purification of the major anti-inflammatory triterpenoid esters from Marigold (Calendula officinalis),” Fitoterapia, vol. 74, no. 4, pp. 328–338
    6. M. Yoshikawa, T. Mrakami, A. Kishi, T. Kageura, and H. Matsuda, (2001). “Medicinal flowers.III. Marigold (1): hipoglycemic, gastric emptying inibitory, and gastroprotective principles and new oleanane-type triterpene oligoglycosides, calendasaponins A, B, C, and D, from Egyptian Calendula officinalis,” Chemical Pharmaceutical Bulletin, vol. 49, no. 7, pp. 863–870
    7. H. Neukirch, M. D’Ambrosio, J. Dalla Via, and A. Guerriero, (2004). “Simultaneous quantitative determination of eight triterpenoid monoesters from flowers of 10 varieties of Calendulla officinalis L. and characterisation of a new triterpenoid monoester,” Phytochemical Analysis, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 30–35
    8. Preethi, K.C., Kuttan, G., and Kuttan, (2008). R.: Antioxidant potential of Calendula officinalis flowers in vitro and in vivo. Pharmaceutical. Biol., 44(9), 691–697, 2006.
    9. Battaglia, S. (2003). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy (2nd ed.). Brisbane, Australia: The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy. (Pg 313)
    10. R. Della Loggia, H. Becker, O. Isaac, and A. Tubaro, (1990). Topical Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Calendula officinalis Extracts, Planta M ́edica, vol. 56, p. 658
    11. R. Della Loggia, A. Tubaro, S. Sosa, H. Becker, S. Saar, and O. Isaac, (1994). The role of triterpenoids in the topical anti-inflammatory activity of Calendula officinalis flowers, Planta Medica, vol. 60, no. 6, pp. 516–520
    12. K. Zitterl-Eglseer, S. Sosa, J. Jurenitsch (1997). Anti-oedematous activities of the main triterpendiol esters of marigold (Calendula officinalis L.), Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 139–144
    13. K. Chandran, P., & Kuttan, R. (2008). Effect of Calendula officinalis Flower Extract on Acute Phase Proteins, Antioxidant Defense Mechanism and Granuloma Formation During Thermal Burns. J. Clin. Biochem. Nutr, 43(2), 58-64. doi:10.3164/jcbn.2008043
    14. Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs: Herbal formulations for the individual patient. Edinburgh [u.a.: Churchill Livingstone. (Pg. 120-123].