Calendula officinalis, also called pot marigold, has a long history of health benefits. Calendula served as a common part of folk medicine throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. During the 1600s, British herbalist Nicholas Culpeper recommended marigold for heat-associated conditions such as fever, while Italian healers used the flower in eye washes, compresses and gargles. In modern times, calendula appears in homeopathic creams for burn treatment and in various other healing preparations.
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The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants indicates that marigolds improve blood circulation and speed the body's ability to heal itself. Additionally, marigold oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. When consumed fresh--for example, adding them to a spring salad--the petals offer a source of vitamin C and flavonoids.
According to the University of Maryland, marigolds in lotion or tincture form make an effective burn treatment. To create a tincture, simply steep a teaspoon of organic marigold petals in a cup of warm water until they turn translucent. Gently dab on the burnt area for pain relief.
Adding comfrey root to marigold ointments improves the soothing quality on burns and makes a blend suitable for treating minor wounds, too.
Suhaila Mohamed, a professor of food science and technology, lists marigold in his lecture on understanding the health benefits and safety of food as an anti-inflammatory herb. In this usage, marigold oil works best, preceded by a spot test to ensure against allergic reaction. Marigold oil helps bruising and eczema as well.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that essential marigold oil reduces pain when applied topically to a sensitive area. The oil proves particularly helpful for plantar lesions in feet, provided it is a true essential oil and not synthetic or perfumed.
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends marigold tinctures for treating acne and oily complexions. Apply fresh flowers soaked in warm water directly to the skin once a day; leave for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
Menstrual Cycle Relief
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences says that a cup of marigold tea consumed seven days before a woman's menstrual cycle may alleviate pain.
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