“...the marigold, that goes to bed wi' the sun and with him rises weeping: these are flowers of middle summer.” William Shakespeare, A Winter’s Tale, Act 4, Scene IV
Calendula, a bright orange perennial with petals like rays of golden sunshine from the daisy family, has many historical uses and holds some interesting modern benefits. Calendula derives its name from the ancient Roman word, Calends, meaning first of the month, likely due to the Calendula blooming all-year in the area around Rome. More than a great plant for the flower garden that opens when the sun rises and closes when the sun sets, it was traditionally used by Greeks, Hindus, and Egyptians to treat wounds, reduce inflammation, and diminish fever. Additionally, Europeans historically grew it in their gardens because of its medicinal purposes and association with the summer. As William Shakepeare wrote about the flower in A Winter’s Tale, “...the marigold, that goes to bed wi' the sun and with him rises weeping: these are flowers of middle summer.”
In current times, Calendula is a homeopathic remedy known for its antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can be applied topically or internally. Clinical studies show that Calendula can be beneficial to treat, “conjunctivitis, pharyngitis, aphthous stomatitis and gingivostomatitis, diaper rashes and other inflammatory issues.” Due to Calendula’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it is a great holistic add-on to your skin care regimen as it helps protect the skin's elasticity of collagen by promoting blood flow and oxygen to hydrate the skin (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center).
It must be noted that, while allergic reactions are extremely rare, you should not take calendula if you are allergic to plants in the daisy family and be careful consuming if you are pregnant or nursing as its effects on pregnant or nursing women have not been studied (Kemper). Ilumina 108 offers a Calendula-free bath soak blend for those looking to avoid Calendula. As always, if you think you should, consult with your doctor before using or consuming.
As we begin the New Year, January often brings some of the coldest days of the year, keeping us inside and limiting our sunlight. In many people, this manifests as seasonal mood issues or seasonal affective disorder. Calendula, which has historically been thought to encompass solar energy due to its brilliant orange flowers and movements with the sun, can be a great remedy for the winter blues as an effective mood booster that enhances clarity. However, you don’t have to wait for the winter to get the most out of this versatile flower. Add these bright petals to your next soup or cup of tea for a quick pick me up or add them to your bath to brighten the experience and your mood while rejuvenating your skin. Whenever you need a dose of summer or to feel fresh, Calendula can provide it.
Kemper, MD, MPH, Kathi J. The Longwood Herbal Task Force; Calendula Clinical Information Summary, Revised 1999. https://moam.info/calendula-officinalis-longwood-herbal-task-force_59dca9da1723dddceb8c8cf3.html
Mishra A, Mishra A, Chattopadhyay P. Assessment of In vitro Sun Protection Factor of Calendula officinalis L. (Asteraceae) Essential Oil Formulation. J Young Pharm. 2012 Jan;4(1):17-21.
Mishra AK, Mishra A, Verma A, Chattopadhyay P. Effects of Calendula Essential Oil-Based Cream on Biochemical Parameters of Skin of Albino Rats against Ultraviolet B Radiation. Sci Pharm. 2012 Sep;80(3):669-83.
Panahi Y, Sharif MR, Sharif A, et al. A randomized comparative trial on the therapeutic efficacy of topical aloe vera and Calendula officinalis on diaper dermatitis in children. Scientific World Journal. 2012;2012:810234.
University of Wisconsin Horticulture Extension. https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/calendula-calendula-officinalis/
Verma PK, Raina R, Sultana M, Singh M, Kumar P. Total antioxidant and oxidant status of plasma and renal tissue of cisplatin-induced nephrotoxic rats: protection by floral extracts of Calendula officinalis Linn. Ren Fail. 2016;38(1):142-50.
Willard ClH, PhD, Terry ;Caldecott CIH, Todd; Calendula officinalis, https://wildrosecollege.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/WMMII-Lesson6.pdf