Calendula is a member of the broad marigold classification of flowering plants. The particular marigold called Calendula is usually found in Western Europe, the Mediterranean area, and some areas of southern Asia. For calendula specifically, it is typically the stems and leaves that provide incredible medicinal benefits, but the flowers can be used as well.
Health Benefits of Calendula
Calendula can be incorporated into your day as a tea, supplement, topical application, an oil, or a tincture. The fresh flowers can also be eaten by themselves. Below are some of the unbelievable benefits that this little flower can provide.
1. Aids in Healing
Calendula is effective in encouraging healing of cuts, scrapes, bruises, and even insect bites. Simply apply some of the oil of the flower to the affected area. Because calendula contains anti-inflammatory properties, the flowers help reduce inflammation and prevent infection.
2. Oral Health
Calendula also contains antibacterial properties that help kill bacteria in the mouth. By killing this bacteria (which is not eliminated simply through brushing!), you can improve your breath, prevent gum disease, prevent cavities, and more. Try to find a toothpaste and/or mouthwash that contains calendula. Because calendula also has astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, it will also help heal mouth sores.
3. Healthy Skin
Calendula also improves blood flow in the skin and provides antioxidant benefits. These benefits are particularly important when fighting the appearance of aging and improving the overall health and appearance of your skin. Try looking for moisturizers, face washes, and other skin care treatments that contain calendula. The oil of this flower is also very effective in treating dry and chapped skin. A Calendula cream is also an effective treatment for diaper rash as well as other rashes.
4. Vision Health
There are antioxidants in calendula, such as beta-carotene, that support and improve the health of your eyes. Beta-carotene helps prevent macular degeneration and the development of cataracts.
5. Cancer Prevention
Research suggests that calendula oil contains certain properties that inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors. While more research certainly needs to be done, the future looks bright for the use of calendula in cancer prevention.
6. Muscle Cramps
Calendula possesses antispasmodic properties which make it a great natural remedy when suffering from menstrual or muscle cramps. Try applying the oil to the affected area or opt for a supplement to address your cramps.
Calendula’s anti-inflammatory properties also make it effective in addressing congestion, joint pain, and stomach pains.
How to Use Calendula
These are the most widely-known ways to utilize Calendula.
Calendula tea is simple to make. Place a couple teaspoons of calendula petals inside of a diffuser and then pour a cup of boiling water over it. This should steep for at least 10 minutes. Add sweetener if desired, and drink to relieve minor digestive irritation or use the tea to wash and treat wounds. When treating a wound, a compress can be created by soaking a clean cloth in the tea and then placing it over the skin.
Making Calendula Oil
Place the flowers of the Calendula plant in a dry glass jar. When using fresh Calendula, let it wilt for 12 hours outside of the jar. This removes most of the moisture which would cause the oil to go rancid. Pour olive oil in the jar, and make sure to cover the flowers by at least 1 inch, leaving plenty of space for them to expand. Stir and tightly cap the jar.
Put the jar in a warm, sunny area and make sure to shake it at least one time per day. After 4 to 6 weeks, using a cheesecloth, strain the herbs. Pour the oil into amber glass bottles and store in a cool dark place.
Calendula has been known to lower blood pressure and patients on medications for high blood pressure could experience increased effects if used in conjunction with each other. Calendula can also cause drowsiness if combined with a sedative. It is also suggested that calendula not be consumed by women who are pregnant and nursing, but no evidence of harm exist as of now.
While Calendula does provide many medicinal benefits, some people are allergic to the herb, so use with caution the first time you try it. Seek out the advice of a trained herbalist and then start incorporating calendula into your routine to experience all of these positive benefits to your health.