calendula_officinalis,Calendula flower
Calendula officinalis-Calendula
Family: Compositae or Asteraceae
Other NamesMarigold, Marybud, Gold-bloom, Caltha officinalis,Calendula aurantiaca, Calendula eriocarpa, Calendula hydruntina, Caltha officinalis,
Habitat : A common garden plant.
hazardsmallLow potential for sensitization and contact dermatitis. Possible allergies if allergic to daisy family plants. Topical use may cause rash.


Calendula officinalis, Calendula is a ANNUAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to November, and the seeds ripen from Aug to November. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

calendula_officinalis,Calendula flowerCultivation:

An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any well-drained soil , though it prefers a good loam and requires a sunny or at least partially sunny position. Plants flower best when they are grown in a poor soil . Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 8.3. The pot marigold is a very ornamental plant that is commonly grown in the flower garden, and occasionally as a culinary herb, there are some named varieties . When well-sited it usually self-sows freely and will maintain itself if allowed . The flowers are sensitive to variations in temperature and dampness, closing when it is dark and when rain is expected. All parts of the plant are pungently scented . The growing plant attracts hoverflies to the garden, the young of which are fairly efficient eaters of aphids. The flowers are attractive to bees .

Companion plant:

Marigolds, Calendula are good companion plants, they grow well with tomatoes. Cucumber mosaic disease and powdery mildew can cause problems with this plant.


Seed – sow in situ from spring to early summer and again in September. The seed germinates best in darkness and usually within 1 – 2 weeks at 21°c. The plant often self-sows freely.

Collection :

Either the whole flower tops or just the petals are collected between June and September. They should be dried with great care to ensure there is no discoloration.

Culinary uses:

Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves.
Edible Uses: Colouring;  Tea.

Leaves – raw. When eaten they first of all impart a viscid sweetness, followed by a strong penetrating taste of a saline nature. They are very rich in vitamins and minerals and are similar to Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) in nutritional value.

Fresh petals are chopped and added to salads. The dried petals have a more concentrated flavour and are used as a seasoning in soups, cakes etc. High in vitamins A and C. An edible yellow dye is obtained from the petals. A saffron substitute, it is used to colour and flavour rice, soups etc. A tea is made from the petals and flowers, that made from the petals is less bitter. There is no record of the seed being edible, but it contains up to 37% protein and 46% oil.

Calendula_Officinalis_botanicalMedicinal uses of Calendula:

Actions: Anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, lymphatic, astringent, vulnerary, emmenagogue, anti-microbial.

Part Used: Petals, flowerheads.Indications:

Calendula is one of the best herbs for treating local skin problems. It may be used safely wherever there is an inflammation on the skin, whether due to infection or physical damage. It may be used for any external bleeding or wound, bruising or strains. It will also be of benefit in slow-healing wounds and skin ulcers. It is ideal for first aid treatment of minor burns and scalds. Local treatments may be with a lotion, a poultice or compress, whichever is most appropriate. Internally it acts as a valuable herb for digestive inflammation and thus it may be used in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers. As a cholagogue it will aid in the relief of gall-bladder problems and also through this process help in many of the vague digestive complaints that are called indigestion. Calendula has marked anti-fungal activity and may be used both internally and externally to combat such infections. As an emmenagogue it has a reputation of helping delayed menstruation and painful periods. It is in general a normalizer of the menstrual process.

It is a remedy long used throughout Europe for wound healing and ulcer treatments. Part of its healing power appears to be based on the presence of terpenes. A triterpene glycoside called calendulozide B exerts a marked anti-ulcerous and sedative action. In a broad spectrum check of physiological impact it did not have any negative effect on the cardiovascular system, the tone of intestinal smooth muscles, kidney function or on the biligenic function of the liver. The researchers say the drug is devoid of locally irritating properties and an insignificant toxicity. If this is the case with an extracted constituent, much more can be claimed for the whole plant!

Ellingwood recommends it for the following patholgies: varicoseveins, chronic ulcers, capillary engorgement, hepatic & splenic congestion, recent wounds and open sores, severe burns.


For digestive problems it may be used with Marshmallow Root and American Cranesbill. As an external soothing application it can be used with Slippery Elm and any other relevant remedy. A useful anti-septic lotion will be produced by combining it with Golden Seal and Myrrh.

Preparations & Dosage:

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonsful of the florets and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

External use as a lotion or ointment for cuts, bruises, diaper rash, sore nipples, burns and scalds.

Tincture: 1-4 ml three times a day.

Other uses:

Hair, Compost, Cosmetic,  Dye,  Essential,  Repellent,  Weather forecasting

The growing plant acts as an insect deterrent  it reduces the soil eelworm population. The flowers are used cosmetically. They can be used in skin lotions and when added to hair shampoos will lighten the hair colour . The flowers are an alternative ingredient of ‘Quick Return’ compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost. A yellow dye is obtained from the boiled flowers . An essential oil is obtained from the plant . It is used rather sparingly, in view of the difficulty in obtaining it, in perfumes that have a rather sharp tang. The flowers close when wet weather is likely to occur and they can therefore be used as a rough means of weather forecasting.

It is also used as a hair rinse, adding golden tints to brown or auburn hair.

Esoteric uses:

Protection, legal matters, and psychic/spiritual powers. Pick at noon for comfort and strength. Place garlands of calendula at doors to prevent evil from entering. Scatter under the bed for protection and to make dreams come true. Carry to help justice favor you in court. Touch the flowers with bare feet to better understand birds.

 The Chemistry:
  • Triterpenes, pentacyclic alcohols such as faradol, brein, arnidiol, erythrodiol, calenduladiol, heliantriol C and F, ursatriol, logispinogenine;
  • the calendulosides A-D;
  • [[alpha]] & [[beta]]-amyrin, taraxasterol, gamma-taraxasterol, and lupeol Flavonoids;
  • isorhamnetin glycosides including narcissin & quercitin glycosides including rutin;
  • volatile oil;
  • chlorogenic acid.


Citations from the Medline database for the genus Calendula

Calendula (Marigold)Bogdanova NS Nikolaeva IS Shcherbakova LI Tolstova TI Moskalenko NIuPershin GN [Study of antiviral properties of Calendula officinalis]

Farmakol Toksikol (1970 May-Jun) 33(3):349-55Boucaud-Maitre Y Algernon O Raynaud J Cytotoxic and antitumoral activity of Calendula officinalis extracts.

Pharmazie (1988 Mar) 43(3):220-1Chakurski I Matev M Koichev A Angelova I Stefanov G [Treatment of chronic colitis with an herbal combination of Taraxacum officinale, Hypericum perforatum, Melissa officinalis, Calendula officinalis and Foeniculum vulgare]

Vutr Boles (1981) 20(6):51-4

A total of 170 patients were treated–137 only with the herb combination (78with duodenal ulcer and 59 with gastroduodenitis), 33- -with the herb combination together with antacid (21 with duodenal ulcer and 12 with gastroduodenitis). As a result from the treatment, the spontaneous pains disappeared in 90 per cent of the patients–in the group with and in the group without antacid, the dyspeptic complaints faded in over 85 per cent but in the patients, treated with herbs and antacid the mentioned complaints disappeared several days earlier. The palpitation pains, in both groups, disappeared in more than 90 per cent of the patients within the same time. Gastric acidity, in both groups, showed a statistically insignificant tendency to decrease prior and post treatment. The gastroscopically control revealed that the ulcer niche, in both groups, was healed in almost the same percentage of the patients. Dumenil G Chemli R Balansard C Guiraud H Lallemand M [Evaluation of antibacterial properties of marigold flowers (Calendulaofficinalis L.) and mother homeopathic tinctures of C. officinalis L. and C.arvensis L. (author’s transl)]

Ann Pharm Fr (1980) 38(6):493-9Elias R De Meo M Vidal-Ollivier E Laget M Balansard G Dumenil G Antimutagenic activity of some saponins isolated from Calendula officinalisL., C. arvensis L. and Hedera helix L.

Mutagenesis (1990 Jul) 5(4):327-31Fleischner, A. M. Plant extracts: to accelerate healing and reduce inflammation

Cosmet. Toilet. 100:45-46, 48-51, 54-55, 58 (Oct) 1985

Potential anti-inflammatory constituents from the extracts of Calendula officinalis, Anthemis nobilis, Tilia sylvestris, Centaurea cyanus, Matricaria chamomilla and Hypericum perforatum are described, and an evaluation of wound healing activity in 5 healthy subjects with artificially induced skin abrasions is discussed. In all 5 volunteers theextracts accelerated healing time an average of 16% (3.4 days) vs the control.Gasiorowska I Jachimowicz M Patalas B Mlynarczyk A [The use of Calendula officinalis in the treatment of period onto pathies]

Czas Stomatol (1983 Apr) 36(4):307-11 Kartikeyan S Chaturvedi RM Narkar SV Effect of calendula on trophic ulcers [letter; comment]

Lepr Rev (1990 Dec) 61(4):399 Klouchek-Popova E Popov A Pavlova N Krusteva S Influence of the physiological regeneration and epithelialization using fractions isolated from Calendula officinalis.

Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg (1982) 8(4):63-7Marinchev VN Bychkova LN Balvanovich NV Giraev AN Use of calendula for therapy of chronic inflammatory diseases of eyelids and conjunctiva]

Oftalmol Zh (1971) 26(3):196-8 Mozherenkov VP Shubina LF Treatment of chronic conjunctivitis with Calendula]

Med Sestra (1976 Apr) 35(4):33-4 Samochowiec E Urbanska L Manka W Stolarska E [Evaluation of the effect of Calendula officinalis and Echinacea angustifolia extracts of Trichomonas vaginalis in vitro]

Wiad Parazytol (1979) 25(1):77-81 Published in Polish