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Using Calendula As an Ingredient in Skin Care Products

Posted May 29 2009 5:49pm

What is Calendula

Calendula is an annual plant that thrives in almost any soil but can typically be found in Europe, Western Asia, and the United States. It belongs to the same family as daisies, chrysanthemums, and ragweed. Its branching stems grow to a height of 30 - 60 cm, and it blooms from early spring until frost. The orange-yellow petals of the flowerheads are used medicinally.

Calendula is known by its botanical name as: Calendula officinalis. It belongs to the Asteraceae (Daisies) family and is known by common names such as: Garden marigold, Poet's marigold, Pot marigold and others.

Calendula is probably one of the most useful of all medicinal herbs. It has valuable medicinal properties and can be used as a culinary herb and for skin care and cosmetic purposes.

Applications in traditional medicine include:

  • Eczema
  • Gastritis
  • Minor burns (including sunburn)
  • Wound healing

Other indications include:

  • Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, healing, and soothing.
  • Infusion of the petals used as lotion for skin cleansing and softening.
  • Taken internally for poor circulation, varicose veins, ulcers, colitis, stomach cramps; also, headaches, toothache, ague, and skin problems.
  • Said to strengthen and comfort the heart and aid in digestion.
  • For external use, an oil is made from the flowers for skin problems and sunburn; used in ointment form to heal acne and fade old scars and for external sores, cuts, bruises, burns and rashes.
  • Usually combined with chamomile and comfrey for a soothing ointment in cases of skin problems, burns, cuts, insect bites, stings and bruises.
  • An infusion from the leaves is used for tired swollen feet.
  • Flowers used in infusion form as a wash for red eye.


Where does Calendula come from

Calendula is native to Southern Europe around the Mediterranean Sea. It has been used by ancient Greeks, and was known to Indian and Arabic cultures before the Greeks. The botanical name comes from the Latin clandulae or calends meaning 'throughout the months', which was intended to emphasize the very long flowering period of the Marigold.

What are the properties in Calendula

Calendula is a well-known antiseptic and wound healer. It reduces swellings and bruises, relieves and heals effects of stings and bites and infected sites.

The use of Calendula in natural skin care products is similar to that of Arnica, but it has a much gentler action and the additional benefit of wound healing. It can be used on all skin types and in all conditions.

Its traditional uses include: Anti-inflammatory, anti-septic and wound healing applications.

Known active constituents

The petals and pollen contain triterpenoid esters (an anti-inflammatory) and the carotenoids flavoxanthin and auroxanthin (antioxidants, and the source of the yellow-orange coloration). The leaves and stems contain other carotenoids, mostly lutein (80%) and zeaxanthin (5%), and beta-carotene. Plant extracts are also widely used by cosmetics, presumably due to presence of compounds such as saponins, resins and essential oils.

Calendula officinalis is used for the treatment of skin disorders and pain, and as a bactericide, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.

Use of Calendula in natural skin care products

Calendula contains high amounts of flavonoids, plant-based antioxidants that protect the body against cell-damaging free radicals. As a result of it is a preferred ingredient in natural anti-aging skin care products and moisturisers formulated for dry, sensitive and damaged skin.

Researchers are not sure what active ingredients in calendula are responsible for its healing properties, but it appears to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial effects in addition to the beneficial effects from the antioxidants.

Calendula is often used in natural skincare products that address sensitive, dry, irritable skin as seen in conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and similar skin problems.


Danny Siegenthaler is a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and together with his wife Susan, a medical herbalist and Aromatherapist, they have created Natural Skin Care Products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products to share their 40 years of combined expertise with you.

Subscribe to their Natural Skin Care Newsletter and receive a free eBook providing hints & tips on how to look after your skin

© Wildcrafted Herbal Products 2009

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