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What are the Therapeutic Properties of Marigold (Calendula Officinalis)?

Marigold

Introduction

The word Calendula is derived from the Latin word 'Calendae' which means 'little calendar' or 'little clock' because of its promptness in flowering on the new moon or beginning of the new calendar month, hence it is named as calendula.

It is an annual or perennial herb that grows up to 1 to 2 feet in height. It is native to southern Europe. Nowadays, it is cultivated throughout the globe and is easily found in gardens. It usually grows in well- drained soil rich in organic materials. It is also grown indoor as a decorative plant in pots. There are various varieties of calendula but most of them are with yellow and orange flowers.

Traditionally, it is used in various dishes, as salads, and to make dye. Even the flowers are sacred and used for worship in India since ages. Calendula is a wonder herb that possesses numerous medicinal properties, thus, it is used in various medicinal products and even in cosmetics. Historically it was used in American civil war by soldiers to heal wounds.

  • Latin Name - Calendula officinalis
  • Family - Compositae, Asteraceae
  • English Name - Pot Marigold, Marigold, Calendula, Scotch marigold
  • Unani - Zergul
  • Siddha / Tamil - Thulvkka Saamanthi

Classification

  • Kingdom - Plantae
  • Family - Asteraceae
  • Genus - Calendula
  • Species - officinalis

Calendula is widely used in Ayurveda and other alternative medicinal practices since decades as a natural herb that potentially resolves various health issues.

Parts Used

All the parts of the plant are useful but for medicinal purpose we do use flowers and leaves while ,only the petals are edible.

Action of Calendula on Our Body

Each part of the plant possesses specific properties and has specific pharmacological actions. For example -

  • Pushpa (Flowers) - Anti- inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, antihaemorrhagic, antiviral properties, etc.
  • Patra (Leaves) - Leaves have anti- microbial and anti-protozoal actions on our body.

Chemical Composition of Marigold

Calendula contains - triterpenes, sterols, flavonoids, carotenes, bitter glycosides, resins, zeaxanthin, lutein, volatile oil, polysaccharides, mucilage, etc.

Therapeutic Properties of Calendula Officinalis

  • Rasa (Taste) - Kashaya (Astringent) and Tikta (Bitter)
  • Guna (Qualities) - Laghu (Lightness) and Ruksha (Dryness)
  • Virya - Sheet (Cold) in potency
  • Vipaka - An end product of digestion is Katu (Pungent)
  • Karma (Action) - Pacifies Kapha and Pitta dosha.

Mode of Use

Calendula can be used internally as well as externally. It can be used in the form of a paste (by pounding the petals alone or with the combination of some other herbs), decoction (by boiling it in water or in some other liquid media), oil (oil extracted from the petals) and in the form of a tea.

Even the leaves can be used in the form of a poultice.

Therapeutic Uses of Marigold

  • Promotes Healing of Ulcers - The wound healing property and the anti inflammatory property are attributed by carotene. Thus the use of petals in ulcers, aids early healing. Even because of anti- hemorrhagic property, it is used in bleeding ulcers. The use of marigold petals in duodenal ulcers and gastric ulcers are also beneficial.
  • Effective in Skin Lesions - Calendula because of its anti- bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help to treat skin problems like-dermatitis, acne, eczema, cracked heels, corns, etc. Mostly tincture and ointments prepared from Calendula are used in skin problems. Even marigold is helpful in burns and scalds.
  • Resolve Menstrual Irregularities - Calendula is also helpful in managing menstrual irregularities like dysmenorrhea (painful menses). The reason behind this is that the extract of flower-heads exhibits estrogenic activity, thus marigold is capable enough to regulate the irregular menstrual cycle and it's flowers are anti-spasmodic in nature so they help to manage pains. Calendula flowers are also beneficial in curing other gynecological problems.
  • Treat Cancers and Tumors - The polysaccharides from flowers exhibit immune stimulating and anti-tumor activities. Thus it helps to fight against cancer and tumors.
  • It also tackles Bruises - Bruises are very common in the caseof leukemia (Blood cancer). So, Calendula is the herb of choice to treat them.
  • Effective in Hepatitis - The extract contains the total polyphenols which are proven beneficial in hepatitis.
  • Maintains Oral Health - Because of its anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, it is helpful in gingivitis, cavities, etc.

How we can Utilize Marigold at Home?

There are some home remedies that are beneficial to use. Some of them are :-

  • Externally the paste of flowers is used to manage cuts and wounds.
  • The paste can be applied over burns and scalds.
  • The application of the paste of marigold is helpful in inflammation of the oral and pharyngeal mucosa. It can be applied internally as well as externally. Even the decoction prepared from the petals of marigold is helpful to use for gargles.
  • Because of vrana ropaka property, the external application of the paste of petals is really useful in healing non-healing wounds. The decoction or even tea of calendula can be used for washing wounds.
  • The external use of essential oil over bruises is helpful.
  • The tincture prepared from the petals is used topically on skin lesions.
  • Aromatherapy - Essential oils are popularly used for aromatherapy. Essential oils contain concentrated volatile compounds from the plants. Among essential oils, calendula is also one, which is used widely in treating various ailments.
  • Calendula Tea - Calendula is the only variety of marigold which can be used internally. Furthermore, only the petals are used to make tea. This herbal tea is full of anti-oxidants and nutrients that prove to be superb for your body and mind. Moreover, it also has various medicinal properties.

Because of its numerous benefits, nowadays calendula is broadly used in preparation of body lotions, soaps, cosmetics, oils, dye (for fabrics, and foods), etc.

NOTE: Calendula may develop some allergic reactions in some individuals, so should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation.

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