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Calendula

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Calendula officinalis L. Family: Compositae

COMMON NAME(S):Calendula, garden marigold, gold bloom, holligold, marygold, pot marigold, marybud

Calendula, more commonly know as Marigold, is one of the most common herbs and can be found growing in people's homes throughout North America and Europe.

History

The plant has been grown in European gardens since the 12th century and its folkloric uses are almost as old. Tinctures and extracts of the florets had been used topically to promote wound healing and reduce inflammation. Systemically, they have been used to reduce fever, control dysmenorrhea and treat cancer. The dried petals have been used like saffron as a seasoning and to adulterate saffron.

The pungent odor of the marigold has been used as an effective pesticide. Merigolds are often interspersed among vegetable plants to repel insects.

Botany :- Believed to have originated in Egypt, this plant has almost worldwide distribution. There are numerous varieties of this species, each one varying primarily in flower shape and color. Calendula grows to about 60 cm in height, and the wild form has small, bright yellow-orange flowers that bloom from May to October. It is the ligulate florets, mistakenly called the flower petals, that have been used medicinally. This plant should not be confused with several other members of the family that also carry the "marigold" name.

Uses of Calendula

Calendula has been used topically in folk medicine to treat wounds and internally to reduce fever, treat cancer, and control dysmenorrhea. Extracts have proved antibacterial, antiviral, and immunostimulating in vitro. Petals are consumed as a seasoning. The plant has been used to repel insects.

Calendula tea has long been used as a remedy for gastritis, and is also recommended for women with painful menstruation or menopausal problems.
Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water on to 2-3 teaspoonful of the florets and leave to infuse for l0 minutes. Take three times a day.

The oil extracted from the calendula herb serves many purposes. Externally applied to the ear, it has been reported to alleviate pain and discomfort from an earache. Taken internally, it may aid in eliminating fever, soothing a festering ulcer, and relieving discomfort of menstrual cramps.

Side Effects of Calendula

Allergic reactions to the botanical family and one case of anaphylaxis have been reported.

Dosage

Recommended adult doses are as follows:

  • Infusion: 1 tsp dried florets in 8 oz water; steep 30 to 40 minutes; drink two to three cups per day
  • Fluid extract (1:1 in 40% alcohol): 0.5 to 1.0 mL three times per day
  • Tincture (1:5 in 90% alcohol): 2 to 4 mL three times per day
  • Ointment: 2 to 5 g crude drug in 100 g ointment
Toxicology

Despite its widespread use, there have been no reports in the Western literature describing serious reactions to the use of calendula preparations. A report of anaphylactic shock in a patient who gargled with a calendula infusion has been reported in Russia.

Allergies to members of the family Compositae (chamomile, feverfew, dandelion) have been attributed to the pollens of these plants. There is a potential for allergic reactions with calendula use. In animals, doses of <= 50 mg/kg of extract had essentially no pharmacologic effect and induced no histopathologic changes following either acute or chronic administration. Saponin extracts of calendula showed antimutagenic activity.

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