The Calendula plant has a long history of use in healing wounds and thus has been blended into in an array of skin care recipes. The flowers were collected and used for centuries by indigenous peoples of North America to target nausea, ulcers, menstrual period problems, eye infections such as conjunctivitis.
Therapeutic Properties Described In The Aromatherapy Literature
Antibacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Astringent, Detoxifier, Emmenagogue, Stimulant (digestive and immune system).
- Reduces inflammation and redness (especially helpful with eczema)
- Soothes bee stings, dermatitis, psoriasis and insect bites
- Useful antiseptic lotion for minor cuts
- May target hair loss
- Works for chapped and dry skin
- Decreases varicose veins
- A study in the 2009 issue of the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology found that Calendula works by inhibiting the signaling molecules and enzymes that trigger the body's inflammatory response.
- Reduces internal swelling associated with gastric and duodenal ulcers
- Fights bacteria that cause gastrointestinal infections
In the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology, (Volume 20 2009), researchers at Amala Cancer Research Centre Amala Nagar, India, published a study examining the wound-healing effects of the extract of Calendula officinalis. Researchers saw a dramatic increase in the healing speed of skin wounds, with the conclusion being summed up by: "The data indicate potent wound healing activity of Calendula officinalis extract.” Calendula oil also shows very potent anti-oxidant effects along with protective effects to organ systems. Another study examining these actions concluded "Calendula Extract has been found to contain several carotenoids of which lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene predominates. Possible mechanism of action of the flower extract may be due to its antioxidant activity and reduction of oxygen radicals." With this activity, the essential oil is not only an excellent choice for wound healing (and dermatitis of all types) but in daily-care recipes as well. One of the 'foundations' of skin aging is that free-radicals speed visible aging of our skin and these highly-regarded antioxidants may have a significant effect at slowing this process. Also of interest is the support offered by Calendula oil for those undergoing cancer radiation-induced epithelitis, one expression of which is commonly called 'radiation burns'. A paper published in the July 2009 French journal of Cancer Radiotherapy, researchers noted that while aloe vera proved beneficial, "Calendula officinalis was shown to be superior".