You probably recognize marigolds as the cheery garden staple that can brighten up any yard. The benefits of this plant don’t stop in the garden, however. The species of marigold known scientifically as Calendula officinalis and more commonly referred to as calendula or pot marigold has been used for its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties for thousands of years. It is not only a popular ancient remedy either, according to a 2013 report, over 200 modern medical and commercial formulations contain calendula marigold extract. Here are just a few benefits of this amazing plant and ways to use it in the home.
Benefits of marigolds
Marigold (calendula) extract, when applied topically can help clear up fungal and bacterial infections. It has been shown to be particularly helpful when used to treat an ear infection, as it can lower inner ear swelling and inflammation and ease pain. It has also been used to relieve the symptoms of conjunctivitis when formulated as an eyewash.
Heals damaged skin
Calendula is perhaps most well known and widely accepted for its ability to soothe irritated skin, speed wound healing, and relieve itching from rashes. Because of its glycoproteins and nucleoproteins, it increases epithelial cell production which can simulate the growth of new tissue and increase healing on a cellular level.
Slows the appearance of aging
Because marigold naturally increases blood flow and increases the growth of healthy tissue, it also boosts collagen production. Collagen is essential for healthy, glowing skin and can decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by firming and hydrating skin.
Fights free radicals
Free radicals in the body can lead to rapid cell deterioration and even cause issues such as cancer. Calendula extracts have been shown to lower C-reactive protein and cytokine levels that can help protect skin from dangerous free radicals.
Helps detoxify the body
Marigolds can help detoxify the body of harmful substances and toxic materials that have accumulated in the body. It works in the digestive system and the lymphatic system to clean the body and help give you a fresh start.
Alleviates menstrual cramps
For some women, their monthly visitor means taking a day off of work and curling into the fetal position with a hot water bottle to help fight off cramps. Calendula may be a solution to help relieve pain associated with menstruation as can regulates hormones that lead to uncomfortable symptoms.
Ways to use marigolds
Tea: Marigold petals, dried and stored from your own garden can be used to make a yummy tea that will provide a wealth of benefits. Simply use 2 tsp dried petals and 1 cup boiling water. Let petals steep for five minutes then strain leaves. Add honey to taste.
What you’ll need:
- Dried calendula flowers
- Oil for infusing (olive oil, coconut, or sweet almond oil work well)
- Essential oils of choice
- Make infused calendula oil by placing herbs in a jar and covering with oil of your choice. Stir gently and cover. Store in a sunny windowsill to steep for at least two weeks. Strain herbs. Squeeze out as much of the oil as possible.
- Pour infused oil into a double boiler, heat gently and add beeswax. Stir until completely melted.
- Add essential oil and stir to combine.
- Pour liquid into tins or jars and let cool completely before using.
Drops: Store-bought calendula drops are best used for treating an ear infection.
Other uses for calendula
- Treat bug bites
- Reduce dandruff
- Treat ingrown hairs
- Reduce bruises
- Prevent infection and treat infected cuts
- Reduce eczema and dermatitis
- Reduce the appearance of varicose veins
- Treat diaper rash
- Soothe sunburns
- Treat fungal infection in genitals or feet
- Repel bugs
- Treat ear infection
Note: Do not use calendula if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as little is known about the effects of this plant on infants and young children. Do not apply calendula directly to open wounds before consulting your doctor as this could cause irritation. Be sure to test any salve on a small portion of your skin before using.
What are you waiting for? Go out and plant some marigolds in your garden today! They’re super easy to grow, and you will soon be enjoying tons of benefits from your colorful plants.