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Calendula officinalis



Common name:  Marigold, Calendula

Family: Asteraceae

Parts Used:  Flower heads & Ray florets


  • Triterpenoid & Steroidal saponins (yields oleanolic acid)
  • Flavonoids (isorhamnetin & quercitin)
  • Mucilage & Polysaccharides
  • Bitter resin (calendulin & caledin)
  • Volatile oils
  • Xanthophyls & Carotenoids
  • Sterols (beta-sitosterol) & Fatty acids (myristic and palmitic esters)

Medicinal actions:


  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antispasmodic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Immunostimulant
  • Lymphatic
  • Vulnerary (Demulcent & Emollient)

Medicinal uses: 

  • Various preparations (e.g. infusions, tinctures, fluid extracts) have a long use in folk medicine, particularly in the topical application to wounds, ulcers, eczema, burns, etc. and is considered one of the best herbs for treating local skin problems in first aid treatment with a lotion, poultice or compress.
  • As a lymphatic, used to stimulate the drainage of enlarged, inflamed lymph nodes and is specific for the lymphatics in the breast and pelvic tissues.
  • As an emmenagogue it has a reputation of helping delayed menstruation and painful periods.



  • Saponins have mild phytoestrogenic activity, decrease tissue swelling, increase capillary perfusion of tissue and along with flavonoids decrease inflammation.
  • Immuno-stimulating properties are derived from the polysaccharides and volatile oil.
  • Anti-fungal properties are only found in a tincture. It is the resin, myristic & palmitic esters which are anti-fungal (resin requires 90% EtOH for extraction).
  • Vulnerary actions are due to the xanthophyls (which stimulate granulation tissue), mucilage and volatile oils.


  • Infusion: 1-4 g/cup TID
  • Tincture: (1:2, 60%), 1.5-4.5 ml QD, or 10-30 ml weekly.
  • Topicals: washes, creams, ointments, oils, poultices, suppositories, and fresh plant succus.


  • An extremely safe herb without documented side effects. There is a low but potential likelihood for allergic sensitivity.


  • Avoid internally in pregnancy due to potential emmenagogue effects and in known Asteraceae allergy.


  • None known.


  • Find a complete list of references for this monograph as well as images and a review of its evidence based applications in Dr. Marciano’s Herbal Textbook.

About Marisa Marciano

Naturopathic Herbalist


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