Calendula is commonly known as Marigold. It belongs to the family Compositae. The flower of the plant is used to make medicine. It has been used traditionally for the treatment of muscle spasms, menstrual disorders, fever especially the one accompanied with eruptive diseases like measles, smallpox, ulcers of throat, mouth, stomach and duodenum, jaundice and even cancer. Topically calendula is applied to reduce inflammation of the rectum, conjunctivitis, peeling lips, diaper rash, gum diseases and varicose veins. It is used to treat poorly healing wounds and infection like vaginal yeast infection, ear infection and leg ulcers. It also controls nosebleeds. Oil of calendula flower is used as insect repellant.
It is an important medicine for injuries and belongs to the same category of remedies as Arnica, Rhus Tox, Hypericum, Staphysagria, Ledum and Symphytum. Just like every medicine has its unique sphere of action, calendula too has a significant role to play in certain types of injuries only. Calendula is known to have antiseptic properties. It acts as an impenetrable barrier to infections and germs. As a result of this it is able to prevent suppurations and promotes healing. Surgical wounds tend to get infected easily. Calendula being an antiseptic plays a vital role to clear suppuration and promotes healthy healing of such wounds.
For superficial burns and scalds, calendula works like magic.
It is also used to treat carbuncles where it acts with fast relief subduing pain and fever.
In obstetric practice, it has invaluable use. The application of a sponge saturated with a solution of calendula after delivery gives the greatest comfort to the patient. In dilatation and curettage of uterus as in medical termination of pregnancy calendula helps to heal the mucus lining of the uterus fast.
Calendula promotes healthy granulation tissue formation. Thus it is used to heal wounds with first intention and minimum scar tissue formation. Some doctors feel plastic surgery operations would be more successful if calendula is more generally used.
Calendula has excellent hemostatic properties. It is especially used for lacerated wounds where the skin is no longer intact after injury. In such cases administration of Calendula checks bleeding, lessens pain and prevents suppuration of the wound.
Calendula can be used as an antiseptic both externally and internally.
During treatment of cases like bleeding or infected piles and ano-rectal fistula calendula can be applied as ointment locally in form of cream. It can be used for sitz bath by adding calendula mother tincture to water.
Although calendula is not extensively proved drug but very definite fever symptoms have been elicited and cases of jaundice have been treated successfully. It is especially useful in fevers where drinking water aggravates and causes chilliness even during the heat. Also there is aggravation of fever in cloudy weather according to Dr Cooper which he correlated with the fact that calendula flower closes when a dark cloud passes over.
For most people calendula is likely safe whether taken orally or applied topically. Although prolong intake of any medicine without physician’s guidance should be always avoided.
It is advised not to use calendula internally and externally when one is pregnant as it may lead to miscarriage. Also there is not much information regarding how safe calendula is when one is breastfeeding so to be on safe side one must avoid its use during that period.
Calendula if used with medications used during and after surgery might cause too much drowsiness so its use should be avoided internally at least 2 weeks prior to scheduled surgery.
Calendula may induce allergic reaction in people sensitive to Compositae family with other members like ragweed, daisies and many others. In such cases physician should be consulted before its use.