Calendula, scientifically know as calendula officinalis is a herbal plant of the Asteraceae family, same family as daisies, rag weed and chrysanthemums. It is believed to be of German origin but today it is grown in many areas because of its valued medicinal properties. The best conditions that calendula can thrive on is sunny, relatively dry and fertile soils, Blooming from early spring up until frost. Calendula is characterised by orange-yellow petals having a spicy, pungent smell and the leaves have a bitter after taste. Their stem grows to a height of about 30- 60 cm. The name calend is Latin meaning the first day of the month; this was believed to be the time that calendula plant blossomed. Calendula is generally recognised as a safe botanical that’s why it is listed in the USDA. Calendula was in 2008 declared as the flower of the year by international herb association.
Calendula has been used for centuries, longer than the 12th century. Gerard and Culpeper referred to calendula as a comforter of heart and spirit. During the times, it has been used by different people for different purposes. The uses and great benefits of calendula have been seen over time. In India it was first used for decoration, in ancient Greek it was used in cookery, Christians placed it on Mary statue to honour her, Romans using calendula as a mix with vinegar to season their salad and meat dishes, and in war time it was used to cure open wounds. The history of calendula uses is quite documented.
Calendula chemical composition, is what has made it the most beneficial and effective herb today. It contains triterpenoid, carotenoids like zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and lutein, auroxanthin and flavoxanthin. These have made it have adverse effects to the body.
Calendula benefits are not limited. It can be used for ear treatment and a study showed that, calendula offers as much pain relief for ear infection as some non-herbals do. Eardrops containing calendula have been found to be very effective in treating ear infection in children. Chronic conjunctivitis can be treated by washing with calendula. This can be attributed to its anti-flammatory and anti-bacterial effects. it kills unhealthy bacteria in the membranes around the eye.
Calendula has high carotenoid that makes it quick to repair skin damages as well as reverse the skin aging process. Burns, cuts, scalds, abrasions as well as infections can heal, because it improves the blood flow to the wound and its antiseptic properties will prevent infections. Athlete’s foot and ringworms can as well be treated; this can be attributed to the calendula anti-fungal agent. Taken internally calendula can be used to treat duodenal and gastric ulcers and even colitis. Cream with calendula content in it, can be used to treat diaper rash in babies as well as treat and help relieve sore nipples in nursing mothers. Calendula can as well provide relief to Gall-bladder problems. The calendula petals can be used to brighten and lighten the hair. Taken as tea it can help women in menopause or with painful menstruations as well as a remedy for gastritis.