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Calendula: Uses, Side effects and Warning

Calendula is commonly known as Marigold. It belongs to the family Compositae. The flower of the plant is used to make medicine. It has been used traditionally for the treatment of muscle spasms, menstrual disorders, and fever especially the ones accompanied by eruptive diseases like measles, smallpox, ulcers of the throat, mouth, stomach and duodenum, jaundice and even cancer. Topically calendula is applied to reduce inflammation of the rectum, conjunctivitis, peeling lips, diaper rash, gum diseases and varicose veins. It is used to treat poorly healing wounds and infections like vaginal yeast infections, ear infections and leg ulcers. It also controls nosebleeds. The oil of the calendula flower is used as an insect repellant.

It is an important medicine for injuries and belongs to the same category of remedies as Arnica, Rhus Tox, Hypericum, Staphysagria, Ledum and Symphytum. Just like every medicine has its unique sphere of action, calendula to has a significant role to play in certain types of injuries only. Calendula is known to have antiseptic properties. It acts as an impenetrable barrier to infections and germs.

As a result of this, it is able to prevent suppurations and promotes healing. Surgical wounds tend to get infected easily. Calendula being an antiseptic plays a vital role to clear suppuration and promotes healthy healing of such wounds.

For superficial burns and scalds, calendula works like magic.

It is also used to treat carbuncles where it acts with fast relief subduing pain and fever.

In obstetric practice, it has invaluable use. The application of a sponge saturated with a solution of calendula after delivery gives the greatest comfort to the patient. In dilatation and curettage of the uterus as in medical termination of pregnancy calendula helps to heal the mucus lining of the uterus fast.

Calendula promotes healthy granulation tissue formation. Thus it is used to heal wounds with first intention and minimum scar tissue formation. Some doctors feel plastic surgery operations would be more successful if calendula is more generally used.

Calendula has excellent hemostatic properties. It is especially used for lacerated wounds where the skin is no longer intact after injury. In such cases, administration of Calendula checks to bleed, lessens pain and prevents suppuration of the wound.

Calendula can be used as an antiseptic both externally and internally.

During treatment of cases like bleeding or infected piles and anorectal fistula calendula can be applied as ointment locally in form of cream. It can be used for a sitz bath by adding calendula mother tincture to water.

Although calendula is not an extensively proven drug but very definite fever symptoms have been elicited and cases of jaundice have been treated successfully. It is especially useful for fevers where drinking water aggravates and causes chilliness even during the heat. Also, there is an aggravation of fever in cloudy weather according to Dr Cooper which he correlated with the fact that the calendula flower closes when a dark cloud passes over.

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For most people, calendula is likely safe whether taken orally or applied topically. Although prolonged intake of any medicine without a physician’s guidance should be always avoided.


It is advised not to use calendula internally and externally when one is pregnant as it may lead to miscarriage. Also, there is not much information regarding how safe calendula is when one is breastfeeding so to be on the safe side one must avoid its use during that period.

Calendula if used with medications used during and after surgery might cause too much drowsiness so its use should be avoided internally at least 2 weeks prior to scheduled surgery.

Calendula may induce allergic reactions in people sensitive to the Compositae family with other members like ragweed, daisies and many others. In such cases, the physician should be consulted before its use.

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