Calendula, my best friend…
The winter of 2013-2014 was the absolutely worst for my hands. Aside from the eczema, the cracks were horrendous. I hate using that word, but it’s true if you couldn’t tell from the photo. Clearly this was also not an isolated incident that winter either. That is, until I was introduced to Calendula. I had no idea what it was, but what I used was called “Healing Balm” so I was game to try anything at this point and BOY! was I glad I did!
Obviously after this experience I was sold, and later when I became more interested in the “whys” and “hows” this was even possible when nothing I had tried before this had helped (including Neosporin) I was pretty impressed and in love with the information I was finding.
So here’s some of the information that I found when I started looking in to it, and for these reasons I will always have this stuff on hand. For me, my kids, my husband, baby’s diaper rash…. friends have used it for their dogs! Yup, pure awesomeness.
As a disclosure, I’m not a doctor, nor do I ever intend or want to be. I’m an information seeker, and I like to share that information with others. I’m a “take it or leave it” blogger here. If you take it, feel free to consult your doctor or trusted healthcare professional. More info on who Research Mama is can be found below.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center:
“The flower petals of the calendula plant (Calendula officinalis), or pot marigold, have been used for medicinal purposes since at least the 12th century. Calendula is native to Mediterranean countries but is now grown as an ornamental plant throughout the world. However, it is not the same as the annual marigold plant that is often grown in gardens.
Calendula has high amounts of flavonoids, plant-based antioxidants that protect cells from being damaged by unstable molecules called free radicals. Calendula appears to fight inflammation, viruses, and bacteria.
Traditionally, calendula has been used to treat stomach upset and ulcers, as well as relieve menstrual cramps, but there is no scientific evidence that calendula works for these problems. Today, calendula is often used topically, meaning it is applied to the skin.
Calendula has been shown to help wounds heal faster, possibly by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the affected area, which helps the body grow new tissue. It is also used to improve skin hydration and firmness. The dried petals of the calendula plant are used in tinctures, ointments, and washes to treat burns, bruises, and cuts, as well as the minor infections they cause. Calendula also has been shown to help prevent dermatitis or skin inflammation in people with breast cancer during radiation therapy.” – [Emphasis added.]
“The cosmetic industry adapts to the needs of consumers seeking to limit the use of preservatives and develop of preservative-free or self-preserving cosmetics, where preservatives are replaced by raw materials of plant origin. The aim of study was a comparison of the antimicrobial activity of extracts (Matricaria chamomilla, Aloe vera, Calendula officinalis) and essential oils (Lavandulla officinallis, Melaleuca alternifolia, Cinnamomum zeylanicum) with methylparaben. Extracts (2.5 %), essential oils (2.5 %) and methylparaben (0.4 %) were tested against Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 27853, Escherichia coli ATCC 25922, Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213, Candida albicans ATCC 14053. Essentials oils showed higher inhibitory activity against tested microorganism strain than extracts and methylparaben. Depending on tested microorganism strain, all tested extracts and essential oils show antimicrobial activity 0.8-1.7 and 1-3.5 times stronger than methylparaben, respectively. This shows that tested extracts and essential oils could replace use of methylparaben, at the same time giving a guarantee of microbiological purity of the cosmetic under its use and storage.” [Emphasis added.]
Before I continue, I have to stop for a moment because this particular issue is rather important to me- preservatives. Parabens have been used as preservatives for a long time until they started coming under fire for a whole host of heath concerns, at which time we started seeing a rise in things like phenoxyethanol- which if you read anything on My Journey page you’d understand that that is kind of important to me. Regardless of which lab created chemical preservative they are using, I simply cannot understand why they can’t just use something better like EOs or calendula, or any number of other safe, non-toxic ingredients. How many people like me might there be out there that wouldn’t have to deal with these issues then?
“A tincture of the flowers suppressed the replication of herpes simplex, influenza A2 and influenza APR-8 viruses in vitro (30). However, an aqueous extract of the flowers was not active (31). A chloroform extract of the flowers inhibited the replication of HIV-1 in acutely infected lymphocytic MOLT-4 cells in vitro (IC50 0.4 mg/ml) (32). A chloroform extract also inhibited HIV-1 reverse transcriptase activity in a dose-dependent manner (ED50 51.0µg/ml) (32). A 5% hot aqueous extract of the flowers (2 ml) inhibited the replication of encephalitis virus after intraperitoneal administration to mice (33).” [Emphasis added.]
Additional information from the reference list on the WHO article:
“It was also found that the organic extract from Calendula officinalis flowers caused a significant dose- and time-dependent reduction of HIV-1 reverse transcription (RT) activity. An 85% RT inhibition was achieved after a 30 min treatment of partially purified enzyme in a cell-free system. These results suggested that organic extract of flowers from Calendula officinalis possesses anti-HIV properties of therapeutic interest.” [Emphasis added.]
“Chemical studies have underlined the presence of various classes of compounds, the main being triterpenoids, flavonoids, coumarines, quinones, volatile oil, carotenoids and amino acids. The extract of this plant as well as pure compounds isolated from it, have been demonstrated to possess multiple pharmacological activities such as anti-HIV, cytotoxic, anti- inflammatory, hepatoprotective, spasmolytic and spasmogenic, amongst others.” [Emphasis added.]
“The aim of the present study was to assess the antimicrobial activity of methanol and ethanol extracts of pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) petals against clinical pathogens. The antimicrobial potential of C. officinalis extracts was evaluated against a panel of microorganisms isolated from patients at the Belfast City Hospital (BCH), including bacteria and fungi, using disc diffusion assay. Methanol extract of C. officinalis exhibited better antibacterial activity against most of the bacteria tested, than ethanol extract. Both methanol and ethanol extracts showed excellent antifungal activity against tested strains of fungi, while comparing with Fluconazole.” [Emphasis added.]
“This study tested in vitro activity of the essential oil from flowers of Calendula officinalis using disk-diffusion techniques. The antifungal assay results showed for the first time that the essential oil has good potential antifungal activity: it was effective against all 23 clinical fungi strains tested.” [Emphasis added.]
“Calendula officinalis is an annual herb from Mediterranean origin which is popularly used in wound healing and as an anti-inflammatory agent. In this study, the ethanolic extract, the dichloromethane, and hexanic fractions of the flowers from plants growing in Brazil were produced. The angiogenic activity of the extract and fractions was evaluated through the chorioallantoic membrane and cutaneous wounds in rat models. The healing activity of the extract was evaluated by the same cutaneous wounds model through macroscopic, morphometric, histopathologic, and immunohistochemical analysis. The antibacterial activity of the extract and fractions was also evaluated. This experimental study revealed that C. officinalis presented anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities as well as angiogenic and fibroplastic properties acting in a positive way on the inflammatory and proliferative phases of the healing process.” [Emphasis added.]
“…The tabular flowers of Calendula officinalis, … showed a characteristic feature by containing helianol as the most predominant component (29-86%) in the triterpene alcohol fractions. The triterpene alcohols from Compositae flowers were evaluated with respect to their anti-inflammatory activity against 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced inflammation (1 microgram per ear) in mice. All of these showed marked inhibitory activity, and their 50% inhibitory dose was 0.1-0.8 mg per ear.” [Emphasis added.]
“…Calendula officinalis Linn. flower extract (COE) is known for its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Hence, this present study has been designed to evaluate the neuroprotective effect of COE on MSG-induced neurotoxicity in rats…MSG caused a significant alteration in animal behavior, oxidative defense (raised levels of LPO, nitrite concentration, depletion of antioxidant levels) and hippocampal neuronal histology. Treatment with COE significantly attenuated behavioral alterations, oxidative stress, and hippocampal damage in MSG-treated animals. Hence, this study demonstrates that COE protects against MSG-induced neurotoxicity in rats. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of COE may be responsible for its observed neuroprotective action.” [Emphasis added.]
“The in vitro safety and antioxidant potential of Calendula officinalis flower head extracts was investigated. The effect of different concentrations (0.125, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0 and 5.0% (v/v)) of Calendula extracts on human skin cells HaCaT in vitro was explored. Doses of 1.0% (v/v) (0.88 mg dry weight/mL) or less showed no toxicity. Cells were also exposed to the Calendula extracts for either 4, 24 or 48 h before being exposed to an oxidative insult (hydrogen peroxide H2 O2 ) for 1 h. Using the MTT cytotoxicity assay, it was observed that two independent extracts of C. officinalis gave time-dependent and concentration-dependent H2 O2 protection against induced oxidative stress in vitro using human skin cells. Pre-incubation with the Calendula extracts for 24 and 48 h increased survival relative to the population without extract by 20% and 40% respectively following oxidative challenge. The antioxidant potential of the Calendula extracts was confirmed using a complimentary chemical technique, the DPPH(●) assay. Calendula extracts exhibited free radical scavenging abilities. This study demonstrates that Calendula flower extracts contain bioactive and free radical scavenging compounds that significantly protect against oxidative stress in a human skin cell culture model.” [Emphasis added.]
“Calendula officinalis of family Asteraceae, also known as marigold, has been widely used from time immemorial in Indian and Arabic cultures as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat minor skin wound and infections, burns, bee stings, sunburn and cancer. At a relatively high dose, calendula can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Since inflammatory responses are behind many cardiac diseases, we sought to evaluate if calendula could be cardioprotective against ischemic heart disease… Calendula achieved cardioprotection by stimulating left ventricular developed pressure and aortic flow as well as by reducing myocardial infarct size and cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Cardioprotection appears to be achieved by changing ischemia reperfusion-mediated death signal into a survival signal by modulating antioxidant and anti-inflammatory pathways as evidenced by the activation of Akt and Bcl2 and depression of TNFα. The results further strengthen the concept of using natural products in degeneration diseases like ischemic heart disease.” [Emphasis added.]
“In recent years, the scientific community has undertaken research on plant extracts, searching for compounds with pharmacological activities that can be used in diverse fields of medicine. Calendula officinalis L. is known to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and wound healing properties when used to treat skin burns. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of C. officinalis on the initial phase of Achilles tendon healing. Wistar rats were separated in three groups: Calendula (Cal)-rats with a transected tendon were treated with topical applications of C. officinalis cream and then euthanized 7 days after injury; Control (C)-rats were treated with only vehicle after transection; and Normal (N)-rats without tenotomy. Higher concentrations of hydroxyproline (an indicator of total collagen) and non-collagenous proteins were observed in the Cal group in relation to the C group. Zymography showed no difference in the amount of the isoforms of metalloproteinase-2 and of metalloproteinase-9, between C and Cal groups. Polarization microscopy images analysis showed that the Cal group presented a slightly higher birefringence compared with the C group. In sections of tendons stained with toluidine blue, the transected groups presented higher metachromasy as compared with the N group. Immunocytochemistry analysis for chondroitin-6-sulfate showed no difference between the C and Cal groups. In conclusion, the topical application of C. officinalis after tendon transection increases the concentrations of collagen and non-collagenous proteins, as well as the collagen organization in the initial phase of healing.” [Emphasis added.]
Hope this information is a little help to all the ladies out there thinking about anti-aging treatment! When I first heard about this, although I didn’t look in to it specifically at the time, I started using the same Healing Calendula Balm that I used on my hands in the photo above on my face, especially around my eyes at night!
“The effects of oral and topical application of Calendula officinalis flower extract on excision wounds made in rats were checked. The parameters assessed were the days needed for re-epithelization and percentage of wound closure. The hydroxy proline and hexosamine content in the granuloma tissue of the wound was also measured. The percentage of wound closure was 90.0% in the extract-treated group, whereas the control group showed only 51.1% on the eighth day of wounding (p < .01). The days needed for re-epithelization were 17.7 for the control animals; extract treatment at a dose of 20 or 100 mg/kg b.wt reduced the period to 14 and 13 days, respectively. A significant increase was observed in the hydroxy proline and hexosamine content in the extract-treated group compared with the untreated animals. The data indicate potent wound healing activity of C. officinalis extract.” [Emphasis added.]
“Calendula officinalis, a member of the Asteraceae family, is a flowering plant and has been used for its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiinflammatory, anticancer and wound healing activity. The mode of action of C. officinalis tincture on wound healing is poorly understood. Here, we investigated the role of C. officinalis tincture (CDOT) on cell viability and wound closure. C. officinalis tincture stimulated both proliferation and migration of fibroblasts in a statistically significant manner in a PI3K-dependent pathway. The increase in phosphorylation of FAK (Tyr 397) and Akt (Ser 473) was detected after treatment of CDOT. Inhibition of the PI3K pathway by wortmannin and LY294002 decreased both cell proliferation and cell migration. HPLC-ESI MS revealed the presence of flavonol glycosides as the major compounds of CDOT. Altogether, our results showed that CDOT potentiated wound healing by stimulating proliferation and migration of fibroblast in a PI3K-dependent pathway, and the identified compounds are likely to be responsible for wound healing activity.” [Emphasis added.]
Are you starting to think this is something you should keep on-hand yet? I have a balm that I LOVE, I’m ready to get extract, oil, tincture… whatever there is I can get!
“Effect of Calendula officinalis flower extract was investigated against experimentally induced thermal burns in rats. Burn injury was made on the shaven back of the rats under anesthesia and the animals were treated orally with different doses of the flower extract (20 mg, 100 mg and 200 mg/kg body weight). The animals treated with the extract showed significant improvement in healing when compared with the control untreated animals. The indicators of the wound healing such as collagen-hydroxyproline and hexosamine contents were significantly increased in the treated group indicating accelerated wound healing in the treated animals. The acute phase proteins-haptoglobin and orosomucoid which were increased due to burn injury were found to be decreased significantly in 200 mg/kg body weight extract treated animals. The antioxidant defense mechanism, which was decreased in the liver during burn injury, was found to be enhanced in treated animals. The lipid peroxidation was significantly lowered in the treated group when compared to control animals. Tissue damage marker enzymes- alkaline phosphatase, alanine and aspartate transaminases were significantly lowered in the treated groups in a dose dependant manner. The histopathological analyses of skin tissue also give the evidence of the increased healing potential of the extract after burn injury.” [Emphasis added.]
“A formulation of homeopathic lotion was elaborated. It uses as mother-solutions: the Calendula tincture and the Fumaria tincture prepared according to the homeopathic rules, and a vegetal soft extract conventionally named by us Pt2a, and the 42 C alcohol was used as a vehicle. All dilutions were made at 3CH. The pH, the refraction index and the electrical conductivity of the three solutions prove a good stability of the preparation. The 2 CH a dilution was well tolerated at the administration with juvenile acne and the simple dry phthiriasis, an improving being noted after 3-4 days of treatment.” [Emphasis added.]
At this point I’ve gone through the list on my infographic above. Honestly, I wasn’t able to find anything specific to eczema regarding calendula. However, it is largely suggested as a topical treatment due to its anti-inflammatory properties. I have definitely experienced first hand the blessing that it bring when applied topically for eczema (also diaper rashes!) for both myself and my daughter. Definitely not something I will ever go without in my home!
I have used Radiantly You products at large, especially the Healing Calendula Balm (found in the family section). Especially for nasty cuts and for dry/cracked/rashy skin during the winter months. Information for Radiantly You HCB can be found here: [http://www.radiantlyyou.com/elise] under the Family section. We also have an amazing Calendula Booty Balm that has EO of Lavender, this stuff is amazing for diaper rash!! And it’s totally cloth diaper safe!
I’ve also recently been introduced to Anna’s Apothecary out in Manitou Springs, CO. They have several salves available that include calendula- I’m sure if you reach out to them on their Facebook page regarding any questions they will be able to offer a wonderful suggestion as well!
As for extracts– I haven’t yet tried any! But you can bet that it’ll be on my shopping list. I’ve heard good things about the company Herb Pharm, and Amazon also has the extract available here: [Herb Pharm Calendula Tincture].
Who is “Research Mama?” I’m a mom who discovered a passion for the blessings of nature. After experiencing the benefit of natural remedies over prescriptions, I became very curious about the claims of the natural community and the verification behind it.
This is my blog to help share the information that I have found that solidifies the claims that you see time and time again. I hope you will receive the information with an open mind and note that I’m sharing it for the sole purpose of validating that it is there. Anyone reading it can make their personal choice to utilize it or not. That’s it!
Feel free to let me know if you have any topics for consideration!