What is it?
Calendula is a plant. The flower is used to make medicine.
Calendula flower is used to prevent muscle spasms, start menstrual periods, and reduce fever. It is also used for treating sore throat and mouth, menstrual cramps, cancer, and stomach and duodenal ulcers.
Calendula is applied to the skin to reduce pain and swelling (inflammation) and to treat poorly healing wounds and leg ulcers. It is also applied to the skin (used topically) for nosebleeds, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, inflammation of the rectum (proctitis), and inflammation of the lining of the eyelid (conjunctivitis).
Don’t confuse calendula with ornamental marigolds of the Tagets genus, which are commonly grown in vegetable gardens.
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for CALENDULA are as follows:
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...
- Anal tears (anal fissures). Early research suggests that that applying calendula to the affected area may reduce pain in people with anal tears who do not respond to treatment with sitz baths and the medication nifedipine.
- Diaper rash. Early research suggests that applying a 1.5% calendula ointment to the skin for 10 days improves diaper rash compared to aloe gel.
- Ear infections (otitis media). Early research shows that applying a specific product (Otikon Otic Solution by Healthy-On Ltd) that contains mullein, garlic, calendula, and St. John’s wort to the ear for 3 days reduces ear pain in children and teenagers with ear infections.
- Skin inflammation due to radiation therapy (radiation dermatitis). Early research suggests that applying calendula ointment on the skin might reduce radiation dermatitis in people receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer.
- Thinning of the wall of the vagina (vaginal atrophy). Early research suggests that applying a specific gel (Estromineral Gel, Rottapharm-Madaus) that contains calendula, Lactobacillus sporogenes, isoflavones, and lactic acid to the vagina for 4 weeks reduces symptoms of vaginal atrophy such as vaginal itching, burning, dryness, and pain during intercourse.
- Leg ulcers. Early research shows that applying a 7.5% calendula ointment to the skin speeds up the healing of leg ulcers caused by poor blood circulation.
- Muscle spasms.
- Varicose veins.
- Promoting menstruation.
- Treating mouth and throat soreness.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of calendula for these uses.
It is thought that the chemicals in calendula help new tissue grow in wounds and decrease swelling in the mouth and throat.
Preparations of calendula flower are LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.
Special precautions & warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Don’t take calendula by mouth if you are pregnant. It is LIKELY UNSAFE. There is a concern that it might cause a miscarriage. It’s best to avoid topical use as well until more is known.
There is not enough reliable information about the safety of using calendula if you are breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Calendula may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking calendula.
Surgery: Calendula might cause too much drowsiness if combined with medications used during and after surgery. Stop taking calendula at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Be cautious with this combination.
Sedative medications (CNS depressants)
Calendula might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking calendula along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.
Herbs and supplements that cause sleepiness and drowsiness
Calendula might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Taking it with other herbs and supplements that have this same effect might cause too much sleepiness. Some of these include 5-HTP, calamus, California poppy, catnip, hops, Jamaican dogwood, kava, St. John's wort, skullcap, valerian, yerba mansa, and others.
There are no known interactions with foods.
The appropriate dose of calendula depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for calendula. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Caléndula, Calendula officinalis, Calendule, English Garden Marigold, Fleur de Calendule, Fleur de Tous les Mois, Garden Marigold, Gold-Bloom, Holligold, Marigold, Marybud, Pot Marigold, Souci des Champs, Souci des Jardins, Souci des Vignes, Souci Officinal, Zergul.
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.methodology (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/methodology.html).
To see all references for the Calendula page, please go to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/235.html.
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- Tedeschi, C. and Benvenuti, C. Comparison of vaginal gel isoflavones versus no topical treatment in vaginal dystrophy: results of a preliminary prospective study. Gynecol.Endocrinol. 2012;28:652-654. View abstract.
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Last reviewed - 11/13/2014
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