2
9Sep
2013

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Before I had Selah, my first baby girl, I made her homemade diaper salve and baby lotion. The herbal show-off in both of these products? Calendula! In case you don’t know, a salve is an ointment made out of beeswax and herbal infused olive oil.

Calendula is otherwise known as marigold, it’s common name. The flowers are the medicinal part of the plant, and they are packed with many herbal capabilities. Its number one application is for healing the skin externally and mucous membranes internally. Calendula can circulate lymphatic fluid, kill viruses, bacteria, and fungus, and also support the immune system.

Herbal First Aid Remedy

We keep a calendula based salve stocked in our house at all times. I just quized the Wendy’s Eating Husband by asking him what we use it for. His answer? Burns! He’s really catching on to our naturopathic infused household. Calendula is an excellent choice for your herbal first aid kit. It is a classic wound healing herb. Calendula can heal lacerations, burns, and skin abrasions. It should only be used on wounds once they have been cleaned.

Safe & Amazing for Sensitive Baby Skin

Gentle and safe for babies, calendula is one of the best herbs to consider for herbal baby products. That’s probably why Weleda makes Calendula Baby Cream and other calendula based baby products. I used a calendula based diaper salve for both my baby girls, and there’s nothing that works like it. It can heal diaper rash overnight. Powdered calendula or calendula infused olive oil can also be used. A study compared the effects of calendula to aloe vera in the treatment of diaper diaper rash. Although both were effective, calendula resulted in fewer rash sites.1

Internally Good for Stomach Ulcers & Urinary Tract Conditions

Calendula is a demulcent that can heal internal inflammation and irritation. Licorice root and marshmallow root are also demulcent herbs. Calendula can heal stomach ulcers, and even mitigate some of the inflammation in interstitial cystitis. It’s has an anti-inflammatory effect on all of the membranes it touches, from the mouth to the anus.  When it comes to urinary tract infections, it not only soothes and heals irritated tissue, but it also helps to kill the bugs.

Excellent Postpartum Herb

Calendula salve made with beeswax works wonders for the cracked, sore nipples that occur from a newborn learning to nurse. It’s safe if the baby gets it in his mouth. Calendula flowers are used in herbal sitz bath formulas to heal torn tissue after a vaginal delivery. I used herbal sitz baths containing calendula after both of my vaginal deliveries.

Ear Infections, Gingivitis, & Conjunctivitis

Calendula works really well for ear infections when it is in mullein and garlic oil formulas.  Calendula works synergistically with the mullein and garlic to quell ear pain and fight the infection. When used as a mouth rinse, calendula can fight gingivitis bacteria and decrease gingival inflammation. It can also be used as a compress or eye rinse in allergic or infectious conjunctivitis

Can Heal External Hemorrhoids & Anal Fissures

Hemorrhoids are much more common than you would think. If you start asking around, I bet you’d find a few people in your circle that have regular rectal bleeding due to hemorrhoids. People get a little skeevy about this, so they avoid the doctor. This is dangerous! Rectal bleeding can be a sign of colon cancer. Calendula salve can heal those external hemorrhoid puppies right up! Imagine, a life with no rectal bleeding!

Any Skin Condition Can Benefit from Calendula

Calendula can be used for almost any skin condition. It can be used topically on eczema, psoriasis, molluscum contagiosum, and chicken pox.

Herbal Beauty

With calendula’s affinity for the skin, its strong anti-inflammatory capacities, and because it’s an antiseptic, it can prevent blemishes. I actually use calendula salve as a make-up remover, in hopes that the calendula will work its magical anti-inflammatory powers to prevent dark bags under my eyes. I’ve been wanting to try the oil cleansing method to wash my face, but I’ve been waiting on it because a step up from using plain olive oil would be using calendula infused olive oil. I just need to find the time to make it! Rosemary Gladstar, in her book, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, has a recipe for herbal shampoo, and I’m dying to make my own calendula infused version of it.

If you would like to start using Calendula officinalis medicinally, please consult your naturopathic doctor. A licensed healthcare practitioner can tailor the dose according to your needs.

References
1. Panahi Y, Sharif MR, Sharif A, et al. A randomized comparative trial on the therapeutic efficacy of topic aloe vera and Calendula officinalis on diaper dermatitis in children. Scientific World Journal. Epub 2012 Apr 19.
2. Yarnell, Eric. Compendium of Pharmacological Actions of Medicinal Plants and Their Constituents. 2009.

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2 Responses

  1. Jen

    Could you go into more detail on using calendula salve for healing anal fissures? For a superficial fissure with no spasm, which calendula salve would be best? How long would it take to heal it up approximately? How often should I use the salve each day? Thank you!

    Reply

    Dr. Archer Atkins

    Hi Jen,
    For superficial anal fissures, I prefer to use Bottom’s Up Balm by Wise Woman. Healing time varies according to individual so it’s hard to guess that. In terms of how often to use the salve, that would depend on what it looks like — so you could check with your doctor on that one. Increased frequency of use would depend on the severity. Calendula is very safe to use and can be used multiple times a day.

    Reply

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