The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

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Calendula

Scientific Names

Calendula

  • Calendula officinalis L.
  • Compositae
  • Composite family

Common Names

  • Garden marigold
  • Holigold
  • Marigold
  • Marsh marigold
  • Mary bud
  • Mary Golde
  • Mary Gowles
  • Pot marigold
  • Solis sponsa
  • Solsequia

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Parts Usually Used

Leaves, flowers
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Calendula

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Calendula, or Marigold, is an annual garden plant; reaches a height of 20-28 inches, with an angular, branched, hairy stem 1-2 feet high. The leaves are alternate, sessile, spatulate or oblancleolate, dentate with widely spaced teeth, and hairy. From June to October the plant bears large, brilliant, yellow or orange, terminal flower heads that measure over 1.6 inches across.

Opens its petals at nine and closes them at four.

(This is not the common American garden marigold (Tagetes lucida), which is derived from Mexican marigold.) True marigold is an old European plant.)
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Where Found

Cultivated. Native to central, eastern and southern Europe.
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Medicinal Properties

Antispasmodic, aperient, cholagogue (increases flow of bile), diaphoretic, vulnerary (heals wounds), emmenagogue, diaphoretic, alterative, astringent
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Biochemical Information

Essential oil containing carotenoids (carotene, calenduline and lycopine), a saponin, resin and bitter principle
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Legends, Myths and Stories

In medieval England, a popular religious legend described the Virgin as being accustomed to wearing golden blossoms which the monks of the period decided should be named in her honor; from that association of the golden herb with the Virgin Mary, old poets began calling the herb, “Mary Gowles” and “Mary Golde”. Years later in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, the marigold flowers were referred to as the “winking Marybuds”.

Often used as a less-expensive substitute for saffron, fresh or dried petals give subtle flavor and golden color to seafood, soups, stews, puddings, rice and omelets. The dried petals, softened in hot milk, can be added to the batters of cakes, breads and cookies. The fresh, tender young leaves are good in salads.

There is another marigold (Tagetes lucida) of the sunflower family, known as sweet scented marigold or Mexican marigold, Mexican tarragon, pericon, and sweet mace. This plant has nothing to do with Calendula officinalis. Do not mistake identification. The garden marigold in American gardens is derived from this Mexican marigold (T. lucida). The marigold of old Europe is the true marigold. There is also a French marigold (Tagetes patula). The Tagetes and related species should not be confused with Calendula. The Tagetes species are used as insecticides and weedkillers.

Yellow dye has been made from the flowers of marigold and, as a saffron substitute, used for coloring butter and cheese.

It was the Romans who recorded that the marigold was usually in bloom on the first day (calends) of every month. The Latin generic name Calendula and the common Italian name “fiore d’ogni” were given to the herb from this observation.
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Uses

The flowers may be eaten raw, taken as a standard infusion or the latter applied as a lotion. As a lotion, a marigold infusion (petals only) provides the ideal balancer of an over-oily skin, and all complexions will benefit from a salve or ointment composed of marigold flowers, so they say.

Used to regulate menses, help measles, smallpox, earache, colds, reduces fevers. Externally, used as an ointment or oil for burns, bruises, and injuries. The flowers are used for gastro-intestinal problems such as ulcers, chickenpox, fever, stomach cramps, recurrent vomiting, colitis, and diarrhea. Externally for boils and abscesses, a good salve for wounds, bruises, sore nipples, yeast infections, shingles, bedsores (decubitus ulcers), sprains, varicose veins, acne, pulled muscles, sores, warts (rub fresh juice on surface). The tincture is used for gastritis and menstrual difficulties and cramps. It is said that if the fresh flowers are rubbed on wasp or bee stings there is instant relief.

Marigold is often used as a less-expensive substitute for saffron, fresh or dried petals give subtle flavor and golden color to seafood, soups, stews, puddings, rice, and omelets. The dried petals, softened in hot milk, can be added to the batters of cakes, breads, and cookies. The fresh, tender young leaves are good in salads.

Discourages Mexican bean beetles, nematodes, asparagus beetle, and other insects.
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Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: use 1 to 2 tsp. fresh or dried flowers with 1/2 cup water; steep for 5-10 minutes and strain. Take 1 tbsp. every hour.

Juice: take 1 tsp. at a time, always freshly pressed.

Tincture: to make, soak a handful of flowers in 1/2 qt. rectified alcohol (not rubbing alcohol) or whiskey for 5 to 6 weeks. A dose is 5-20 drops.

Salve: boil 1 oz. dried flowers or leaves, or 1 tsp. fresh juice, with 1 oz. of lard.

Tea: use 1 heaping tbsp. dried herb in 1 cup boiling water. One cup daily.

Extract: mix 10 to 30 drops in liquid daily.

Oil: apply oil or commercial preparation directly to affected area externally, once daily. Put on cotton swab and place in ear for earache.

Store dried leaves in moisture-proof container to preserve color and flavor ordinarily lost in humid conditions.
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Nutrient Content

Phosphorus
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How Sold

Buy dried flower heads
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Warning

Do not use during pregnancy.
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Resource Links

LiveStrong.com: Calendula for the Liver

University o f Maryland Medical Center: Calendula

Memorial sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Calendula

U.S. National Library of Medicine: Calendula

Drugs.com: Calendula

PubMed.gov: Hepato and reno protective action of Calendula officinalis L. flower extract.

PubMed.gov: Effect of Calendula officinalis Flower Extract on Acute Phase Proteins, Antioxidant Defense Mechanism and Granuloma Formation During Thermal Burns.

PubMed.gov: Toxicological studies on hydroalcohol extract of Calendula officinalis L.

PubMed.gov: A dual and opposite effect of Calendula officinalis flower extract: chemoprotector and promoter in a rat hepatocarcinogenesis model.

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Bibliography

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

Buy It! The Healing Plants, by Mannfried Pahlow, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. 250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788, 1992

Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 15th Edition, F. A. Davis Company, 1915 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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