Calendula Officinalis Full Monograph

This is a calendula flower I managed to grow in my office (despite it being a western herb never found in Singapore)

How do you feel when you look at this flower?

To me it’s as if the sun’s rays have entered my soul 🌞

Calendula officinalis is classified under herbs that clear toxic heat and reduce infection.

Its main action is as a DETOXICANT and a DECONGESTANT.

As a DETOXICANT, it is excellent for all kinds of infections especially those presenting toxic and damp-heat such as boils, swollen gland & fevers

  • skin infections & inflammation (incl. eczema, acne, cold sores; Herpes, Staphylococcus)
  • bacterial/fungal/viral/amoebal infections (all cold & flu onsets)

As a DECONGESTANT, Calendula is effective for:

  • lymphatic congestion especially post-infection syndromes (e.g. long covid).
  • congestive conditions of the uterus (delayed, irregular or painful periods, difficult labour)
  • venous blood stagnation: varicosities, heavy or aching legs, leg cramps at night, fatigue, constipation

Recently I’ve used Calendula to successfully treat topical skin infections like herpes just by applying a blend of the alcohol extract on the infected area.

Other noteworthy functions/indications:

  • reduces tumors (ovarian cysts, tumors, cancers esp. of female reproductive organs, breasts, intestines)
  • promotes tissue repair, reduces inflammation, prevents decay and benefits the skin (all skin wounds, ulcers, burns)
  • promotes bile flow and digestion, reduces liver congestion and relieves epigastric fullness
  • tonifies heart qi (heart qi deficiency: palpitations, wheezing on exertion, esp. in old age, cardiac deficiency)
  • balances hormones in women in general (esp. estrogen/progesterone deficiency)

In our practice, we give Calendula for the cold-depressed tissue state to warm up the person from the internal level.


For the herbalist (Holmes, 2006; Sebastian)

Calendula / Marigold Flower

Common name Calendula, summer’s bride, marigold

Botanical name Calendula officinalis

Family             Asteraceae

Parts used        Flowers or ray Florets

NATURE

Therapeutic category    mild remedy with minimal chronic toxicity

Constituents

  • Triterpenes (anti-microbial) – alcohols and esters based on monol, diol and triol alcohols; tritepenoid saponins including calendulosides A-F.
  • Carotenoids (anti-ox) – mainly flavoxanthin and auroxanthine
  • Essential oil – including ionone glucosides and sesquiterpene oligoglycosides
  • Flavonoids (anti-inflammatory, anti-ox) – derivatives of isorhamnetin and quercetin. (Fisher, 2018)

Effective qualities: somewhat bitter, sweet, salty and pungent, neutral with cooling potential, dry.

Calming, decongesting, astringing, stimulating, softening, dissolving

Sebastian: Calendula is a slight warming stimulant herb that brings vitality deep into the organs particularly the liver, gallbladder, and lymphatics.

Tropism: liver, heart, uterus, skin, veins, lymphatic system, blood
            Liver, heart, Lung, chong, ren meridians
              Fluid, Warmth bodies

Ground: krases, biotypes and constitutions

FUNCTIONS AND INDICATIONS

1. CLEARS TOXIC AND DAMP-HEAT, AND REDUCES INFECTION, INFLAMMATION AND SWELLING; STIMULATES IMMUNITY, REDUCES LYMPH CONGESTION AND REDUCES LIPIDS

Microbial toxicosis with toxic heat: boils, carbuncles, swollen glands, low fever

Skin wind-damp-heat: skin rashes, red eruptions (dry or wet), itching

SKIN INFECTIONS and INFLAMMATIONS (incl. eczema, acne, cold sores); Herpes, Staphylococcus

BACTERIAL, FUNGAL and AMOEBAL INFECTIONS (incl. hepatitis, lymphangitis, candidiasis, thrush, ringworm, periodontitis, gingivitis, stomatitis, laryngitis, otitis,, conjunctivitis, mastitis, influenza); viral infectins

FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE INFECTIONS and inflammations (incl. yeast infections)

HYPERLIPIDEMIA

LYMPHADENITIS

2. VITALIZES THE BLOOD, REDUCES CONGESTION AND MODERATES MENSTRUATION; ASTRINGERS, REDUCES TUMORS AND STOPS DISCHARGE AND BLEEDING

Uterus blood congestion: early or copious periods with pelvic weight and dull pains

CONGESTIVE DYSMENORRHOEA

Venous blood stagnation: varicosities, heavy or aching legs, leg cramps at night, fatigue, constipation

VARICOSE VEINS, hemorrhoids, phlebitis

MENORRHAGIA, hemorrhage (esp. uterine, fibroidal, hemorrhoidal)

GASTRIC ULCERS, gastritis, colitis

LEUCORRHEA (white and purulent, with damp-cold or damp-heat)

OVARIAN CYSTS, TUMORS, CANCER (esp. of female reproductive organs, breasts, intestines)

3. PROMOTES AND REGULATES MENSTRUATION, AND BALANCES HORMONES; PROMOTES LABOUR AND ENHANCES DELIVERY

Uterus Qi stagnation: delayed, difficult or irregular periods, cramps, clots in flow

SPASMODIC DYSMENORRHEA

HORMONAL IMBALANCE in women in general (esp. estrogen/progesterone deficiency)

MENOPAUSAL SYNDROME

DIFFICULT LABOUR

RETAINED PLACENTA

UTERINE SUBINVOLUTION

4. PROMOTES BILE FLOW AND DIGESTION, REDUCES LIVER CONGESTION AND RELIEVES EPIGASTRIC FULLNESS

Liver Qi stagnation: painful digestion, epigastric or swelling, headache, constipation, poor appetite

LIVER CONGESTION with DYSPEPSIA, jaundice, spleen congestion

5. PROMOTES SWEATING, DISPELS WIND-HEAT, REDUCES FEVER AND PROMOTES ERUPTIONS

External wind-heat: aches and pains, sore throat, swollen glands, feverishness, anxiety

COLD and FLU with FEVER

ERUPTIVE FEVERS (incl. measles, scarlet fever, smallpox)

REMITTENT and TIDAL FEVERS (shao yang and shao yin stage)

6. TONIFIES HEART QI

Heart qi deficiency: palpitations, wheezing on exertion, esp. in old age

CARDIAC DEFICIENCY

7. PROMOTES TISSUE REPAIR, REDUCES INFLAMMATION, PREVENTS DECAY AND BENEFITS THE SKIN

WOUNDS (esp. with squashed or torn skin; slow healing), bruises, cuts, abarasions, chafing, sprains, insect bites, frostbite, perineal tears

SKIN ULCERS, mouth ulcers (esp. chronic); gangrene

BURNS, scalds, inflammation

INFLAMMATIONS from INFECTIONS (incl. thrush, gingivitis, laryngitis, conjunctivitis, vaginitis, etc.)

SKIN DEFORMITIES and blemishes, warts

PREPARATION

Use: infusion is gentler and more adequate for children and mild cases. Tincture is best for various preparations like swabs, compresses, mouthwashes, gargles, douches, sitzbaths, creams, ointments, pessaries (every preparation known). In these, Marigold combines well with other remedies for topical use like Arnica flower, St John’s Wort herb, Witch hazel leaf and Plaintain leaf.

In feverish, wind-heat onset of infections with swollen glands, the infusion should be sipped hot with other detoxicant diaphoretics such as Yarrow flower, Elderflower and Chamomile flower.

Dosage:

Infusion 8-14g

Tincture 2-4 ml at 1:3 strength in 25% ethanol: this low alcohol extraction favours the flavonoids and is best for all indications except for bacterial/fungal/amoebal infections

Tincture 2-4 ml at 1:3 strength in 90% ethanol: this high alcohol extraction favours the antimicrobial resins and is specifically antibacterial and antifungal for treating infections

Caution: use marigold flower carefully when applying to dirty or septic wounds as it promotes rapid tissue healing. Avoid internal use during pregnancy as it is a uterine spasmolytic


References:

Holmes, P. (2006). The energetics of western herbs (Vol. 2, 4th Rev. ed.). Boulder, CO: Snow Lotus Press.

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