Search in�� ��for��
Career Center
New Hospital Update
Learn More About MCI
Bill Payment
Upcoming Events
Find a Physician
Press Releases
Maps and Directions
Visiting Hours
Medical Services
Specialty Programs and Services
Volunteer Services
Birthing Center Tours
Family Care of Eastern Jackson County
Jackson County Medical Group
Family & Friends
Virtual Body
Virtual Cheercards
Web Babies
Decision Tools
Self-Assessment Tools
Natural and Alternative Treatments Main Index
Health Sources
Cancer InDepth
Heart Care Center
HealthDay News
Wellness Centers
Aging and Health
Alternative Health
Sports and Fitness
Food and Nutrition
Men's Health
Mental Health
Kids' and Teens' Health
Healthy Pregnancy
Travel and Health
Women's Health
Genus MD
Genus MD
Physician Websites
Legal Disclaimers
Privacy Notice

Send This Page To A Friend
Print This Page

Natural and Alternative Treatments Index Page | Herbs & Supplements:


What Is Calendula Used for Today? | Dosage | Safety Issues | Interactions You Should Know About | References

Principal Proposed Uses
  • Canker Sores; Eczema; Hemorrhoids; Minor Burns; Minor Wounds; Varicose Veins

Calendula, well known as one of the ornamental marigolds, blooms month after month from early spring to first frost. Because "calend" means month in Latin, the plant's lengthy flowering season is believed to have given calendula its name. The herb has been used to heal wounds and treat inflamed skin since ancient times.

An active ingredient that might be responsible for calendula's traditional medicinal properties has not been discovered. One theory suggests that volatile oils in the plant act synergistically with other constituents called xanthophylls.1 


What Is Calendula Used for Today?

Experiments on rats and other animals suggest that calendula cream exerts wound-healing and anti-inflammatory effects,2,3,4  but double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have not yet been reported. The best study on calendula so far was a controlled trial comparing calendula to the standard treatment trolamine for the prevention of skin irriation caused by radiation therapy.6  Interestingly, the researchers used trolamine for comparison not because it has been proven effective but more as a kind of acceptable placebo (trolamine is not thought to do very much, even though it's widely used). The study found calendula more effective than trolamine. However, because this was not a double-blind study, the results mean little; mere expectation of benefit is likely to cause patients and experimenters to perceive benefit.

Creams made with calendula flower are a nearly ubiquitous item in the German medicine chest, used for everything from children's scrapes to eczema, burns, and poorly healing wounds. These same German products are widely available in the United States as well.

Calendula cream is also used to soothe hemorrhoids and varicose veins, and the tea reportedly reduces the discomfort of canker sores. However, as yet there is no scientific evidence for any of these uses.



Calendula cream is generally applied 2 or 3 times daily to the affected area. For oral use as a mouthwash, pour boiling water over 1 to 2 teaspoons of calendula flowers and allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes.


Safety Issues

Calendula is generally regarded as safe. Neither calendula cream nor calendula taken internally has been associated with any adverse effects other than occasional allergic reactions, and animal studies have found no significant toxic effects.5  However, the same studies found that in high doses, calendula acts like a sedative and also reduces blood pressure. For this reason, it might not be safe to combine calendula with sedative or blood pressure medications.


Interactions You Should Know About

If you are taking

  • Sedative drugs: Calendula might increase the sedative effect.
  • Medications to reduce blood pressure: Internal use of calendula might amplify the blood pressure-lowering effect.

References [ + ]

1. Schulz V, Hansel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physicians' Guide to Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag; 1998:259.

2. Review of Natural Products. St. Louis, Mo: Facts and Comparisons; 1995: Calendula monograph.

3. Schulz V, Hansel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physicians' Guide to Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag; 1998:259.

4. Patrick KFM, Kumar S, Edwardson PAD, et al. Induction of vascularisation by an aqueous extract of the flowers of Calendula offcinalis L., the European marigold. Phytomedicine. 1996;3:11–18.

5. Bojadjiev C. On the sedative and hypotensive effect of preparations from the plant Calendula officinalis. Nauch Trud Visshi Med Inst Sof. 1964;43:15–20.

6. Pommier P, Gomez F, Sunyach MP, et al. Phase III randomized trial of Calendula officinalis compared with trolamine for the prevention of acute dermatitis during irradiation for breast cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2004;22:1447-53.

Last reviewed December 2015 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Last Updated: 12/15/2015

Back to Top

Health References
Health Conditions
Therapeutic Centers

Copyright � 1999-2007
ehc.com; All rights reserved.
Terms & Conditions of Use
Privacy Statement
Medical Center of Independence
17203 E. 23rd St.
Independence,� MO� 64057
Telephone: (816) 478-5000