Calendula (Calendula officinalis)


Calendula Summary

Calendula is a staple when it comes to Western herbal medicine. It's broad action on skin and gut epithelial tissue health make it useful for many different conditions.

Topically, its antibacterial and anti-fungal actions make it useful for infections including impetigo, athletes foot, and tinnea. Calendulas soothing action makes it useful for treating skin irritations like cuts, burns, and rashes.


+ Indications

  • Celiac Disease
  • Diverticulitis
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Endometriosis
  • Gastric Ulcers
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease IBD
  • Peripheral Venous Disorder
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth SIBO

+ Contraindications

None noted.

Herbal Actions:

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

What Is Calendula Used For?

Calendula is mainly used for topical applications involving the skin, including rashes, burns, cuts, scrapes, fungal infections, conunctivitis, sun burns, skin ulcers, eczema, acne, psoriasis, and trichomosis. it is also used internally for inflammatory conditions in the gastrointestinal tract.


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].


Weekly Dose

Part Used


Family Name




Follow Us On Social Media

Constituents of Interest

  • Coumarins
  • Calendulosides

Common Names

  • Calendula
  • Marigold
  • Pot Marigold


  • Unknown


  • Unknown


  • No adverse events expected.


  • Unknown

Duration of Use

  • Long term use acceptable.

Botanical Information

Calendula is a member of the asteraceae family of plants, which is the largest family of flowering plants in the world. it is a member of the calenduleae tribe within th asteraceae family. This tribe includes 8 genera and over 110 different species. Other members of this tribe includes Osteospermum and Chrysanthemoides.


Pharmacology & 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].


Clinical Applications Of Calendula:

Calendulas well known antinflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial actions make it very useful for a large variety of skin conditions and infections as well as some internal inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.



+ Summary

[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


Toxicology studies on Calendula officinalis has found the LD50 of calendula at a dose of 375 mg/kg and a LD100 of 580 mg/kg (in mice).

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].



Justin Cooke, BHSc

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)


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].