Maria Treben is often referenced to in my posts, I will keep myself to this old tradition, because her experiences are well documented and I like her insights on the different herbs. She describes calendula as a noteworthy herb to use against several ailments.
Chemical Profile of Calendula
It contains up to 0.8% flavonoids (O-glycosides of quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin) as well as bisdesmosidic and monodesmosidic saponins, hydroxylated and esterified triterpenes (taraxasterol, faradiol, helianthriol), while the essential oil contains mainly sesquiterpenoids such as cardinol, a-ionone and b-ionone.
Medicinal Properties and Uses of Calendula
Calendula is a bittersweet, salty herb. It stimulates the liver, gall bladder, and uterus and also soothes the digestive system, clears infections, and is said to support the heart. It is most effective to help heal wounds and has shown to stimulate the development of granulation tissue. It has immune stimulant properties as well as an estrogenic effect. Calendula officinalis is widely used in skin care products because it is known for soothing inflammation, controlling bleeding and healing damaged tissue.
Therapeutic uses of Calendula
- It has an anti-inflammatory as well as spasmolytic effect and is used with great effect for inflammation and small ulcers in the mouth and throat.
- Calendula is also used to improve digestion and stimulate the production of bile, healing gastric ulcers and regulating menstrual disorders.
- It is used in folk medicine to treat ulcers, colitis, hepatitis, swollen glands, menstrual problems, and pelvic inflammatory disease, which seems to be supported by the scientific results of this colorful herb.
- Since Calendula is also beneficial for infectious hepatitis, it is an excellent remedy in disorders of the liver. Flowers, leaves and stems are brewed with boiling water. The tea should not be sweetened. For the above mentioned disorders drink 3 to 4 cups a day, about a tablespoonful every quarter of an hour.
- A tea made from 1 tablespoon of Calendula flowers to 1/4 quart of water will expel worms.
- Maria Treben mentions the effectiveness of Calendula in the treatment of various yeast infections, she states that the Calendula ointment is excellent for Athlete’s foot. A decoction of the fresh herb can also be used with success. Should fungus infestation start around the area of the genitals, bathe the affected area or use sitz baths.
- The freshly pressed juice of Calendula can be used successfully even in cancer of the skin. Strawberry marks, covered with the fresh juice several times a day for a prolonged period, can be made to disappear; the same goes for pigment spots and brown spots on elderly people, also rough, cancerlike skin patches.
- It is used to treat conjunctivitis, eczema, herpes, gingivitis, ringworm, varicose veins, and other minor injuries and skin problems.
- Calendula is beneficial in the treatment of nappy rash and cradle cap in babies, and sore cracked nipples in nursing mothers.
- In cases of slow-healing wounds, as well as burns, eczema, hemorrhoids and dry skin, it is most effective.
- It is ideal in for dry, dehydrated, irritated and delicate skin as the saponins and mucilage has humectant properties.
- Due to the presence of carotenoids in its chemical composition, it has great re-epithelizing properties – making it ideal for general healing, wound healing, eczemas as well as fighting the signs of aging.
- The presence of essential oil and salicylic acid gives it an antimicrobial and anti-oxidizing action, which results in an antiseptic action great for any infections, including acne.
Various applications of Calendula
Infusion: 1 heaped teaspoon of herbs to 1/4 litre of water.
Sitz bath: Two heaped double handfuls of fresh or 100 gm. of dried herbs for one sitz bath
Washings: 1 heaped tablespoon of herbs to 1/2 litre of water.
Tincture: 1 handful of flowers are macerated in 1 litre of alcohol. Keep in the sun or at about 20° C. (68° F.) for 14 days.
Ointment: 2 heaped double handfuls of Calendula (leaves, stems, flowers) are finely chopped. 500 gm. of lard are heated and the chopped Calendula is added, stirred, the pan removed from the stove, covered and left to stand for a day. The next day it is warmed, filtered through a piece of linen and poured into previously prepared clean jars.
Fresh juice: Leaves, stems and flowers are washed and, still wet, put into the juice extractor.
How to make a spectacular Calendula Salve at home
James Green in The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook provides detailed instructions on making an excellent salve.
- Weigh in grams dried powdered calendula (I didn’t powder mine, just ground it up a bit). Example: 120 grams.
- Measure an equal amount of 190 proof alcohol by ml. (Example: 120 ml)
- Mix the herb and alcohol until moist. Place in a tightly sealed container and let sit 24 hours.
- Measure out 6 parts by volume of oil (720 ml in this case).
- Pour oil and herb in a blender and blend at medium speed until the basket feels warm. (I think I only blended a little so I would not have a problem straining. I let mine sit for a couple of weeks instead).
- Strain through a muslin-lined colander and press.
- Pour the oil into a double boiler and heat at low temperature for a few hours until all the alcohol has evaporated. Be careful not to burn the oil. Check to see if any alcohol is still present by carefully placing a lighted match to the surface of the oil.
- Bottle the oil, or use in a salve.
Tags: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiscrofulous, astringent, athlete's foot, Calendula Salve, cancer, Cholagogue, cold sore, Depurative, diaphoretic, Emmenagogue, Febrifuge, herpes, infections, inflammation, skin cancer, strawberry mark, ulcers, UTI, yeast infection